Style Hunt: Evening Bags


Tory Burch Fleming Cosmic Floral bag, blue velvet. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Festive-Not-Formal Evening Bags

Our holiday celebrations tend to be more relaxed these days, but I still like to wear something that feels festive and a little special. I’ve begun assembling some holiday party outfits, and have realized that my evening bag situation needs some attention.

I still love how my leopard print clutch looks in an outfit, but would really prefer something with a shoulder strap. I want a bag that serves up a little glam, but isn’t so flashy that it fights with my jewelry. Size-wise, I need something bigger than a minaudière, but not larger than my Gucci camera bag.

Above: an eye-catching gold and velvet number.

Circular gold bag from Rebecca Minkoff. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Evening bags don’t have to be formal. This little gold circular bag is fun, and sticks a landing in the Festive-Not-Fussy zone.


Silver shoulder flap bag from Michael Kors. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you prefer silver-toned or subtler metallics, this quilted flap shoulder bag with a muted pewter finish is worth a look. I’ve seen this bag up close, and the finish is much prettier than it looks in the photo. (Also available in gold.)


Red leather bow bag from Cuyana. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love how a red bag makes an outfit pop. Here’s another one for Team Festive-Not-Fussy. It’s small enough to work for evening events, but deep enough to hold more than just a phone and a lipstick. Also available in black.

mauve velvet foldover clutch bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.



The velvet trend hasn’t skipped over the bag department. Here’s a budget-friendly, pretty mauve foldover clutch with a removable strap . Also available in Berry and Slate Blue..Quilted blue velvet shoulder bag from Ted Baker. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Another velvet option, this one in a quilted cobalt blue. The chain strap is long enough to wear crossbody. Also in black, pink and purple.

Clare V. Flore frame bag in leopard print. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Circling back around to leopard print, I’m really tempted by this one. I like the slightly retro vibe of that hard-framed style, and I know that print will work well with my wardrobe. Decisions, decisions…

Do you have a favorite style of evening bag?

(Click arrow at right to see more selections.)

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  1. November 13, 2017 / 3:16 am

    It depends on the event. Theater/concert: something that can go in my lap. A cocktail party: something with a strap so my hands are free, because I don’t like shaking hands, holding a drink and also squeezing a clutch under one arm. Dancing: something extremely small that can get out of the way–I had a tiny velvet bag on a pretty chain that just held my key and a little cash back in my Argentine tango days because my dancing dresses never had pockets.

  2. November 13, 2017 / 3:17 am

    I lean towards clutches if we’re not venturing far, but a walk requires a cross body strap or chain. Love your bag selections and think the circular gold would look terrific against your FK medallions. And perfect with that blue velvet jacket you showcased a little while ago. The gold quilted MK is whispering my name though (is it too early to buy myself a Hannukah gift?)

  3. Kathleen
    November 13, 2017 / 5:03 am

    I’ve found so many beautiful vintage evening bags in thrift stores and I can never pass them up! I don’t even have many occasions to use them, but there’s just something so charming about a delicate beaded or velvet clutch with a history!

    • Joanna
      November 13, 2017 / 5:18 am

      Kathleen, I know what you mean. I have a collection of clutches and like to think they hold memories of a gentler time, of grand parties, theatre, dancing….I was thinking I should display them in a bookcase in my office to enjoy instead of wrapped in tissue.

  4. Meg
    November 13, 2017 / 6:34 am

    I like a bag that slips over the arm, usually I remove any shoulder strap. For me , a shoulder strap is a time bomb, waiting to slip off my shoulder, and down onto my arm, causing me to spill whatever beverage I am carrying. Klutz much?? Why yes!!
    So the ideal bag is big enough for two Iphones, hubby’s wallet, car keys, house keys and my tiny little card case which I use to conserve space instead of my wallet. Add a lipstick or two, and a throat lozenge. Done and done! I would love to find a luscious patent leather bag, sculptured enough to stand up by itself if needed on the floor by my chair. Sleek and simple.

  5. Deborah
    November 13, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Do you know anything about Cuyana? Have you ordered from them previously? Love that red bag; my current red clutch is showing its age due to its inexpensive nature. Thinking it is time for a better piece to replace it.

    • Susan B
      November 13, 2017 / 9:00 am

      Hi Deborah, I purchased a Cuyana bag at the beginning of the year (see post HERE) and was very happy with the quality.

  6. Susan Svoboda Simmons
    November 13, 2017 / 9:54 am

    The leopard print!! I don’t even care for animal prints but, this is too cute!

  7. November 13, 2017 / 10:50 am

    I love antique or vintage wicker bags. Only problem is that they’re usually too small. But I like something unusual.

  8. Kay
    November 13, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    I love that Tory Burch blue bag, but it’s a skosh (or two or three) over my budget. I have a black satin wrist bag I bought years ago in Chinatown in San Francisco that I use as an evening bag. I think it was intended to be for jewelry, but it works as a bag just as well.

  9. November 13, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    I bought a great bag for “occasion dressing” at a museum gift shop a few years ago. It is a sort of tapestry fabric and has a shoulder strap but can also be used as clutch. Lots of colors in the fabric so goes with most things that aren’t a wild print. Big enough to hold my reading glasses along with a few essentials. I have a quilted black leather bag bought in Italy that is very nice but has a chain strap that can get heavy/uncomfortable after a couple of hours of standing, so use depends on the occasion.

  10. November 13, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    That Clair V leopard has my name all over it!! It’s fabulous! I like shoulder straps for evening events which leave my hands free for cocktails etc.

  11. November 15, 2017 / 12:48 pm

    So many nice ones…. great selection, but you always have been able to pick the right bags.

  12. Pam
    June 11, 2018 / 8:51 am

    Your hair looks amazing in these photos!

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