7 Clutches to Complement Any Formal Look
Styling Tips

7 Clutches to Complement Any Formal Look

For decades, sophisticated women have been carrying clutches to complement their elegant evening attire. After all, whether you choose something in basic black, the classic box clutch, or a larger envelope style, a clutch is always the perfect evening accessory. The history of the clutch purse traces all the way back to the Victorian era when ladies carried a reticule, a decorative bag for storing smelling salts and a handkerchief. While they temporarily went out of style, they were back in the World War II days when there became a huge demand for smaller things. After the war, the clutch quickly became the evening bag of choice, and still today it’s the most popular option for celebrities walking the red carpet or attending other formal events. With so many options to choose from today, how do you pair a clutch with your formal outfit? We’ve put together a look at seven of the trendiest clutches and tips for styling them to complete your evening look.

1 – The Basic Black Clutch

Every woman needs a basic black clutch in her wardrobe, and celebrities like Judy Greer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus turn to this classic repeatedly on the red carpet. A black clutch can complete nearly any formal look, no matter what color you’re wearing. While they always look great with black evening gowns, they look great with other colors, too. If you’re wearing a white dress, a black clutch is a perfect contrast. And if plain black isn’t your style, choose something in black that has fun details like fringe or studs.

Vivienne Westwood envelope clutch - Black

Vivienne Westwood envelope clutch - Black

$197.00

2 – The Minaudiere

The minaudiere is considered the most formal clutch bag, and it’s been a popular choice since Hollywood starlets and socialites made it popular back in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s still one of the most common evening handbags chosen by celebrities because it’s so small it won’t take away from the silhouette of your clothing. A minaudiere is perfect for asymmetric dresses and floor-length styles, and it’s the best choice if you’re attending a black tie or white tie event.

3 – The Envelope Clutch

An envelope clutch is a classic choice to wear with your formal attire – they’re rectangular and are distinguished by the little fold-over flap. Envelope clutches look great with timeless dress styles, such as the empire waist dress. They’re available in many great colors and fabrics, such as leather, satin, and suede, so choose a color that complements your outfit. Selecting a velvet envelope clutch, as Anna Kendrick did, is a perfect way to add the velvet trend to your evening look, as well.

Judith Leiber Couture Beaded Envelope Clutch - Metallic

Judith Leiber Couture Beaded Envelope Clutch - Metallic

$995.00
Alexander McQueen skull envelope clutch - Grey

Alexander McQueen skull envelope clutch - Grey

$650.00
Michael Michael Kors Mott envelope clutch - Black

Michael Michael Kors Mott envelope clutch - Black

$226.00
Brahmin Melbourne Croc Embossed Leather Envelope Clutch -

Brahmin Melbourne Croc Embossed Leather Envelope Clutch -

$75.00
Senreve Envelope clutch bag - Yellow

Senreve Envelope clutch bag - Yellow

$250.00
Sara Battaglia envelope clutch bag - Blue

Sara Battaglia envelope clutch bag - Blue

$559.00
Saint Laurent envelope clutch - Neutrals

Saint Laurent envelope clutch - Neutrals

$545.00
Dries Van Noten Floral Jacquard Envelope Clutch - Black

Dries Van Noten Floral Jacquard Envelope Clutch - Black

$565.00
Senreve Envelope clutch bag - Grey

Senreve Envelope clutch bag - Grey

$250.00
Botkier Valentina Straw & Leather Envelope Clutch - Blue

Botkier Valentina Straw & Leather Envelope Clutch - Blue

$98.00
Lancaster envelope clutch bag - Metallic

Lancaster envelope clutch bag - Metallic

$83.00
Rebecca Minkoff envelope clutch - Red

Rebecca Minkoff envelope clutch - Red

$100.00
Nordstrom Raffia Envelope Clutch - Brown

Nordstrom Raffia Envelope Clutch - Brown

$59.00
Balenciaga shopping envelope clutch - White

Balenciaga shopping envelope clutch - White

$750.00
A.F.Vandevorst stamped envelope clutch - Black

A.F.Vandevorst stamped envelope clutch - Black

$290.00
Nordstrom Cherry Embellished Straw Envelope Clutch - Brown

Nordstrom Cherry Embellished Straw Envelope Clutch - Brown

$99.00
Bottega Veneta envelope clutch - Red

Bottega Veneta envelope clutch - Red

$930.00
Furla Metropolis envelope clutch - Black

Furla Metropolis envelope clutch - Black

$157.00

4 – A Gold or Silver Metallic Clutch

Metallics have been so on trend over the past couple of years, and they’re a hot option in clutches, too. A gold clutch takes a white outfit to the next level, and it also goes well with colors like cream, beige, and of course, gold. Both gold and silver metallic clutches add a bit of glitz to a formal black dress or jumpsuit (like Victoria Beckham). And a simple silver evening bag can take an outfit of any color to the next level.

5 – The Classic Box Clutch

Another clutch must-have for your closet is the classic box clutch. It’s a popular option for red carpet events among celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, and Viola Davis. Shaped like a small, simple box, these clutches work with any type of formalwear you decide to wear for your big event. The classic box shape looks great with the lines of a jumpsuit or a full-skirted ball gown. Want to have a little fun with your box clutch? Pick one that’s embossed or one featuring a cool lock closure for a modern twist.

Alexander McQueen Knuckle Box Clutch - Black

Alexander McQueen Knuckle Box Clutch - Black

$2,650.00
Simon Miller Black Lunchbox 20 leather clutch bag

Simon Miller Black Lunchbox 20 leather clutch bag

$345.00
Anya Hindmarch Postbox Clutch -30%

Anya Hindmarch Postbox Clutch

$650 $455.00
Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Box clutch - Purple

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Box clutch - Purple

$2,155.00
Dsquared2 box clutch bag - Metallic

Dsquared2 box clutch bag - Metallic

$1,120.00
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Metallic

Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Metallic

$2,295.00
Dolce & Gabbana Box rhinestone embellished clutch - Blue

Dolce & Gabbana Box rhinestone embellished clutch - Blue

$3,595.00
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch bag - Silver

Jimmy Choo J Box clutch bag - Silver

$1,150.00
Cult Gaia Eos Acrylic Box Clutch - Black

Cult Gaia Eos Acrylic Box Clutch - Black

$298.00
Dolce & Gabbana crystal embellished Box clutch - Pink

Dolce & Gabbana crystal embellished Box clutch - Pink

$3,595.00
Oscar de la Renta Rogan box clutch bag - Gold

Oscar de la Renta Rogan box clutch bag - Gold

$2,290.00
Anya Hindmarch Postbox chain wallet - Black

Anya Hindmarch Postbox chain wallet - Black

$795.00
Sophia Webster Clara Crystal Box Bag

Sophia Webster Clara Crystal Box Bag

$475.00
Calvin Klein 205W39nyc red mini leather box clutch -35%

Calvin Klein 205W39nyc red mini leather box clutch

$1868 $1,214.00
Anya Hindmarch postbox clutch bag - Black

Anya Hindmarch postbox clutch bag - Black

$540.00
Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Box clutch - Black

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Box clutch - Black

$2,995.00
Edie Parker Jean Crinkled Metallic Leather Box Clutch - Metallic

Edie Parker Jean Crinkled Metallic Leather Box Clutch - Metallic

$1,195.00
Jimmy Choo J BOX Platinum Ice Dusty Glitter Clutch Bag

Jimmy Choo J BOX Platinum Ice Dusty Glitter Clutch Bag

$1,150.00

6 – The Shoulder Chain Clutch

Planning to wear something that shows off your shoulders for a formal event? According to Refinery29, a shoulder chain clutch is a perfect option to draw attention to those beautiful shoulders. Whether it’s a strapless dress, an off-the-shoulder design, or a cold shoulder, formal jumpsuit, the sparkly chains on these clutches will draw attention to the skin you’re showing.

7 – The Embellished Clutch

Take a page from red-carpet A-listers like Kathryn Hahn and Janelle Monaé and consider upping our eveningwear game with an embellished clutch. From tough stud embellishments to glittering crystals, an embellished option gives you a chance to really personalize your look with something a bit unexpected. They look especially great with monochromatic formal outfits. Just make sure to keep the rest of your jewelry scaled back so you don’t look overdone.

Share this magazine post with your friends!