The Clutch Conundrum

Practically every time I have to get dressed up I find myself trotting out an evening bag I bought 14 years ago. It has dangly beads and sequins, and at the last wedding I attended, my friend’s husband called it a sea creature.

With a pull here and a tuck there, I’ve managed to convert it into a wristlet that’s big enough to hold everything I usually need, like makeup, a hairbrush, my iPhone, a camera, my business cards, my ID, some cash… You get the picture.

This bag actually looks good for its age; 14 in handbag years, as in dog years, is pretty old.

I know I need a new bag. And it’s not like I haven’t looked, and even auditioned replacements over the years. It’s just that nothing ever seems to look as good, AND hold as much, as Sea Creature Bag.

My Sea Creature Bag. It's hard to give it up. My Sea Creature Bag. It's hard to give it up.

However, it’s time to retire this old beaded standby. Frankly, if I have to carry it to one more wedding, I may cry.

But here’s the problem. What’s in style now are clutches. They’re everywhere. Adorable little envelope-shaped bags you hold in the palm of your hand. Great. Except, I don’t know about you, but at parties, I need one hand free for a glass of pinot noir, and the other hand free for, well, a glass of pinot noir. Or for handing out business cards (“You haven’t heard of Crisis in Denim?!  Here’s my card.”).

Mom says : “Didn’t you watch the Oscars? All the stars carried clutches.” To which I replied: “Yes, and they all had personal assistants and maids and nannies and waitresses to hold their clutches while they drank their wine.”

Kors ClutchSigh. I can’t afford a personal assistant. But I’m probably going to have to get a clutch anyway.

Now, I know there are bags with wrist-straps out there, but the ones I’ve seen are no bigger than wallets.

Kooba bag 1

The bags with shoulder straps usually have long gold chains and scream ‘granny bag.’

Of course, I’ve started doing a little online pre-shopping and here is what I’ve come up with:

There’s this Michael Kors clutch. I love how the buckles make it casual, but the shininess makes it dressy.

… Hmmm. I see there are some cuties out there. Maybe entering the world of clutches isn’t so bad….

Etsy bag

Of course, I lovey-love the Kooba one at  Bluefly. It’s basic and simple and will go with almost any outfit. For now a bit out of my price range, but hey, a girl can dream.

…Okay, okay my spirits are lifting already….

Oh, and look. Here’s a funky black and white creation I discovered on I can think of three outfits already that it would look great with.

…I think I may be a clutch convert….

I can’t promise anything, but if we end up at a party together, I’ll show you my new clutch. In fact, would you mind holding it while I take just a teensy sip of my wine?

3 thoughts on “The Clutch Conundrum

  1. Great post, alas, I feel your pain. Although I mastered the “stick the clutch under the arm to have both hands free” move, I still fear the put the “put the clutch down and lose it” move which is totally something I would do. I have instead resorted to switching my SIM card into a smaller phone, one lip gloss, cash and ID in a wristlet.

  2. I’m a clutch convert. Several months ago I, like you, felt like I needed to be able to put the bag on my shoulder to have my hands free. Juggling wine and a little plate of finger-food is impossible enough without adding a bag to the equation. I have a couple of fancy clutches that I bring to weddings and events, and they all have a delicate little (fabric, usually braided, not a chain) straps that can be tucked inside or used as a shoulder-strap. I always used the strap.But I have gone over to the dark side (the clutch side?). Maybe that means I’m a victim of fashion trends, but really, I’m okay with that. If the clutch is shaped properly (i.e. sort of flat, not a box or a cylinder…those you pretty much have to hold or have an assistant) it fits quite comfortably under the arm. And that works for me…usually. On the other hand, what I haven’t been converted to is those GIANT clutches. The big envelope ones that sure, look really cool, and if I was carrying, say, a piece of paper, that might work, but if the bag is big enough to fit my stuff, then it’s too heavy to function as a clutch.

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