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Your Stylist: Getting a handle on the perfect party clutch

November 15, 2010 |  8:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column

In this installment of “Your Stylist” I address the essential and often way too expensive evening bag. With holiday parties looming, most people are starting to think of a few festive looks that are dressy enough that your go-to leather tote bag or work satchel look totally out of place.

Having a couple of versatile evening bags in your wardrobe is important but easily overlooked since Asoscheck6206 they slip into rotation only a couple of times a year. And considering that they generally only hold a tube of lip gloss, a valet ticket, one tissue and if you’re lucky, a slim cellphone (good luck stuffing a Blackberry in there), it’s hard to fathom paying the usual $200 and up it costs to get a good-looking, not cheapy-feeling bag.

A good evening clutch can be fun but should not compete with your outfit. Neutral shades are best –- black, metallic, champagne or dark gray. If you’re wearing a black dress, take the opportunity to add a pop of shine to the look with a metallic clutch.

Frenchconnection6896 My favorite clutches have that angular, Art Deco appeal to them. These two (top and above) from (both $62.06) are small (but hey, they pretty much all are and the point of an evening bag is that it’s elegant, demure and out of the way) and make a great vintage statement. They are both under $100 (as are all the options shown here), because for a bag that you use for special occasions only, it’s nice to have something that looks great and stylish, but without having to spend the same amount you do on your everyday bag, a new pair of gorgeous shoes or your rent.Aldoindest45

For a versatile option, this rectangular bow bag from French Connection ($68.96) does the trick. It’s got a bit of texture with the large bow and that festive holiday feel from the subtle sparkle.

An evening clutch doesn’t have to be over the top or expensive. It should be that final flourish that ties together the overall look and doesn’t eclipse your clothing. Unless you’re into evening bags as a conversation piece (Judith Leiber anyone?) then, try a few less expensive options that are super chic and fit for the swirl of upcoming social gatherings, but won’t break the bank or eat up your holiday gift-buying budget.

Send your style queries to

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Top: Asos gun-metal bag with tassel $62.06/, second down from top: Asos check hard-case clutch $62.06/, second from bottom: French Connection bow clutch $68.96/French Connection, Bottom: Aldo "Indest" lace print clutch $45.00/Aldo