Get to know the clutch, a handbag that plays a myriad of characters in your wardrobe – your petite date to a dinner, your trusty bridesmaid to a wedding, your personal assistant to a meeting. Designed to be clutched, this compact purse suits all occasions.
With its many shapes, sizes, and names, the clutch’s one defining feature is that it is meant to be carried in hand or under the arm. However, most modern iterations come with either a detachable shoulder strap or a drop-in chain, whose hinges are set inside the bag so that it can be concealed when it’s not being used.
The story of the small handbag begins in the 1920s. During the flapper era, women’s fashion was dictated by shapeless, fluid silhouettes – straight lines that could be easily disrupted by a cumbersome shoulder strap. Hence, the petite design could be carried in hand to maintain a streamlined ensemble.
With the advent of Hollywood starlets gracing red carpets in fluid gowns, the minaudière – originally created by Van Cleef & Arpels – in its modern incarnation was born. The best friend to A-listers, the structured clutch comes in everything from embellished versions by Alexander McQueen to understated versions by Bottega Veneta.
Interestingly, World War II did not encourage a decline in this genre of bags – initially, an accessory of the upper echelons. Instead, it witnessed a rise in its ubiquity, since resources for larger bags were scarce. Thus, although it had initially been relegated to evening attire, it made its way into the day as women began carrying them to and from work. As its name implies, the Everyday pouch from Balenciaga is a contemporary take on the trend.
Acrylic, satin, or leather; beaded, sequined, or embellished; soft-sided, hard case, or framed? There are as many clutch bags as there are occasions to wear them to. Here, we boil them down to the three must-have silhouettes for the well-curated wardrobe.
If your schedule finds you darting between appointments and checking errands off to-do lists, the pouch – sometimes called a wristlet – is the perfect personal assistant. Frequently shaped into a rectangular silhouette with zip-top closure, the streamlined style comes with a looped handle or a detachable strap. Conveniently, many of them are large enough to store a tablet or an iPad, along with other essentials. We’re smitten with the Saint Laurent YSL Monogram pouch in quilted black leather.
For those long days when you don’t have time to change, a convertible design is the perfect transitional desk-to-dinner date. Also known as a wallet on chain, this style comes with card slots for the plastics you need with you at all times. Wear it with the strap by day and carry it in hand by night for a seamless transition. This black clutch from Fendi is one such timeless example.
Memorable moments call for an unforgettable ensemble, complete with a glamorous evening bag – whether decadent or demure. To make it the focal point of your look, choose an opulent minaudière, a satin pochette, or a metallic wallet on chain. To let it accentuate a statement dress, opt for a gold piece to illuminate your look.
The small handbag is an excellent practice in restraint: you should only carry your most essential items. Leave the receipts, the coins, and the clutter at home. Instead, think of the things you’ll need for that particular occasion: a compact mirror, cards, and maybe a lipstick for a post-dinner refresh. Keep in mind that you may want a style that’s large enough to carry your smartphone – most evening gowns don’t come with pockets!
Browse through Mytheresa for the finest selection of designer clutches and reach out to our Customer Service team if you need assistance with your purchase.