Try to think about the last time you decided to invest in an evening bag. You are probably struggling to come up with even one time it has happened. It usually goes like this: you think about the dress, then you think about the shoes, and then you start texting your friends: “hoops or studs? choker or monogrammed chain necklace?” And when all that’s said and done, and you think your work here is finished, you’re left with one lingering afterthought, “Crap, I still need a bag.”
This all-too familiar scenario has us scrounging around for a bag small enough to be considered a clutch – usually just our most basic going out crossbody – and hoping we get away with it. So we’ve drummed a handy guide to picking out the right bag for your evening out. From box clutches to those nouveau wristlets, this breakdown of dress and bag pairings will take out the guesswork of what kind of bag you should buy or borrow. Walk this way to say ta-ta to falling back on that worn out weekend purse ever again.
If you’re wearing Extra-Long Sleeves, choose…a Drawstring Pouch.
Whether your dress is touting billowy sleeves, a boho oversized sleeve look, or is just a good ‘ol take on the extra-long sleeve trend, it falls into this category. To compliment your sleeve length, pick out a top handle or drawstring pouch. The handles will tuck under your sleeve for a little peek-a-boo action. Its statement making finished look will make it worth the slightly annoying need to carry it around all night.
If you’re wearing a Wrap Dress, choose…a Wristlet.
Accessorizing a wrap dress for a semi-formal to formal event can be a bit tricky. The dress is more casual by nature so it’s all up to the accessories to push this piece into dressier territory. A shoulder chain bag and pumps can make this kind of frock look like a little too ’80s power woman (unless you are going for that, in which case ignore us), so instead we’re looking towards a single strap wristlet, just in time for the wristlet trend take over.
If you’re wearing a Slip Dress, choose…a Shoulder Strap.
A slip dress is simple and sweet. It’s the most minimalist option out there so it falls in line to up keep up that same vibe with the rest of your outfit. Since a slip dress often comes with slinky straps, we recommend a shoulder strap to fill out some of the negative space. The more fun the strap or chain here, the better.
If you’re wearing an Empire Waist, choose…an Envelope Clutch.
A silhouette as timeless as the empire waist deserves a handbag equally as classic. Most everyone has one of these buried in the depths of their closet – the envelope clutch. It’s usually rectangular, distinguishable by a little fold over flap, and looks great hanging out at your side right under a high waist. You can play as much as you want with colors and fabrics but this classic bag packs enough punch in its layered design.
If you’re wearing an Asymmetric Dress, choose…a Minaudière.
The asymmetry to a dress can come in any form mismatched form: a high-low hemline, a one shouldered number, patchwork prints. To keep the chaos somewhat contained, balance out the look with a hard-case, structured bag. While a box bag is a good go-to, that doesn’t mean it has to be plain and rectangular. Here we’ve found one with plenty of character to keep the look fresh.
If you’re wearing a Cocktail Dress, choose…a Mini Top Handle Bag.
Cocktail dresses tend to toe the line between semi-formal and formal. That gray space also leaves your bag option a little iffy — should you use a regular purse or go with something more dressed up? Mini bags straddle that line perfectly. They’re still functional, have a more casual attitude, but will let your dress shine.
If you’re wearing Black Tie Attire, choose…a Classic Snap Top Clutch.
You’re already as formal as it gets. It’s best to stay in line with the most classic option of them all — a classic snap top bag. The real fun here is to play with textures. Instead of a ho-hum black clutch from the department store discount shelves, pick up a blue velvet clutch or something bold and embroidered.