Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: All-Purpose Clutch

Dear Belle,

If you could only own one clutch, what style would you pick?  I ask because I need one for some upcoming parties, but I can’t really afford to buy (nor do I need) more than one.  

Thanks for taking reader questions.  CS

First off, let’s cover the “don’ts” of clutch buying.  Because when you need something all-purpose, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Don’t buy something with a lot of embellishments.  This heavily spangled clutch is gorgeous, but  utility piece.  It’s the second clutch — the I have my basics covered, so now I can go wild, clutch.

Don’t go small.  Sure, minaudieres are tiny and fun, but they ain’t practical.  At some point, you’re going to want to carry more than your phone, a credit card, and a lipstick.  Oh, and if you have the iPhone 6 Plus, forget about putting it in that Lilliputian bag.

Avoid all black.  Some women will tell you a black clutch is a basic, a staple, a cornerstone piece.  These women have never worn a pastel dress to a summer wedding in the South.  Black is not your most versatile selection.

Spend within reason.  Just because you’re only buying one does not mean you need to go all-in on something pricey.  Just inspect the quality of any affordable clutch; a cheap-looking clutch can bring down a nice outfit.  More than a few excellent clutches can be found in the $50-$100 range.

Now, let’s pull some options.


Sole Diva Clutch ($25)

Metallics are always a good option for a one-and-done clutch.  I like gold, so I’m all about this pale gold clutch.  This envelope clutch is also worth a look.  I also like this clutch/wallet hybrid from Hobo.

Prefer silver? This flat clutch from Lodis is really pretty.  I also like this silver foil envelope clutch.



Gum Leopard Clutch ($46)

Leopard can be worn in cold weather and warm weather.  This slim clutch is a good option; I also like this large pouch-style from Mark & Graham.  For something with a bit more width to it, try this ASOS clutch.


Clare V. Snake Clutch ($235)

Snakeskin is a great alternative to black.  This clutch is mostly black but still has some lightness to it.  This Steve Madden clutch is mostly white.  But this Topshop foldover clutch in grey is the one that takes the cake.



  1. Katie says:

    This is my go-to evening bag. It might be a little on the large side for a clutch, but I have a lot of stuff. Love that I can wear using the chain from my shoulder or put the chain inside and carry it. Have had it for a couple of years now and it has held up really well. (Obviously only buy if you have a coupon code).

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  2. A says:

    I have a burgundy patent envelope clutch that is surprisingly versatile.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  3. Annabelle says:

    Another idea to change things up — buy a satin clutch in a neutral color, and use a brooch pinned on the bag to change the look. You could do one big brooch in the center, or several small ones in a corner. I have had great success finding inexpensive brooches at vintage stores, and in the sale area of Macys.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  4. SSC says:

    I found this at West Elm yesterday, after looking for something similar for a long time. It’s a little on the small side, but I was pleased to find something in real leather for that price.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  5. Diana says:

    If it’s your thing, antique stores frequently have a fabulous selection of evening bags, and they rarely go for more than $15. (The antique malls with lots of individual booths will be your best bet – that way you can find the one or two sellers who specialize in vintage accessories.) The bag in my selection I reach for most often and I consider my most versatile is a gold fabric one.

    October 29, 2015/Reply
  6. Kristen says:

    Stella & Dot has a GREAT envelope clutch for $59. It’s vegan suede with metallic silver thread embroidery with simulated crackled quartz with silver finish closure. It fits an ipad mini, but small enough to be sleek.


    October 30, 2015/Reply