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What Is a Clutch Bag?

by Samara Morris

I know I’m not alone when I say I love a good accessory that is very versatile.

I mean, to the gym or to brunch, it works out all the same. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the clutch! It’s not unusual for the clutch to be mistaken for a small purse—think of the Telfar Small Shopping Bag—with the main difference between the two being its size and functionality. A clutch is a tiny flat bag that you can clutch with your hands and keep under your arms—there are usually no straps or handles.

What makes these bags so likable then? When you’re heading out to run some errands and need to grab a bag that can fit your phone, wallet, and lip gloss, you’re not really thinking to go out with your Birkin; it’s more likely that you’ll want to grab something that feels almost akin to the size of your phone. When you’re getting in and out of the car, struggling to hold your shopping bags or even your coffee from Dunkin', you’re going to want something easy to hold that doesn’t make your life harder than it already is.


During the early 20th century, women used to wear massive amounts of clothing with layers of fabric, also known as gowns. If you need to picture it, think of some of the gowns worn in Netflix’s Bridgerton. The gowns were so large that they had pockets that made it easy to hide things without anyone noticing.

As time went on, women began wearing outfits with less and less fabric; they needed a place to carry their small necessities, and so, the clutch was born. Secretaries would flaunt their clutch bags as it was a form of luxury to the working class, symbolizing both wealth and high standards. Women who wore clutches were regarded as dainty, feminine, and men came to expect that these women would have nothing inside except a pen and some lipstick.

Fast forward to today, we’ve seen the growth of larger bags—even luggage and totes now used for everyday wear. But, why do we suppose that is and what can wearing a clutch bag today do for your status?

Well, for starters, women began accumulating more things as they entered into parenthood; therefore, the clutch was no longer a necessity to attract a wealthy man. To be fair, this makes sense considering you can only put the most necessary items you need inside of a clutch. With children, almost everything is a necessity when you decide to leave the house.

When it comes to fashion and what to wear or what not to wear, it all depends on your goals and plans for the future. If you’re single and you want to appear ladylike, it would behoove you to stock up on your clutches. Men like women who are modern and minimal—no muss, no fuss. You don’t have to go on a date with a handbag large enough to fit a three-course meal, alcohol, and a section from Sephora. A gal like me is always on the lookout for new pieces that can elevate my wardrobe, and since my short-term goal is to attract a wealthy man, I’ve decided to put my large bags down and stock up on some clutches.

A good place to start is Indus Threads. Their Mosaic White Clutch comes highly recommended (MSRP: $72.00). I strongly suggest pairing this with some black jeans, a blazer, heels, a slicked-back pony, minimal makeup, and this Silk Shirt from Reiss (the black or navy works well), and to top it off, a pair of black Ray-Ban Aviators.

Image Credit: Indus Threads | Mosaic White Clutch

Here’s what this look does for you: it screams elegant but simple—meaning you have good taste and you’re calm. Men like calm, heck, even I like calm. Your vibe in this look is telling of a young woman who does not have to try too hard, and your standards are that of a lady who can do a nice brunch or a dinner at Eleven Madison Park.

Clutches are the staple to any look—whether you’re running errands or on a treadmill. I remember taking myself out to dinner the other night, and I had my Mosaic White Clutch with me, sporting a similar look like I’ve outlined above, and a young lady approached me to ask where my bag was from, and of course, I shared. But on top of that, she complimented me by saying, “This is the look of a woman who has her life together, teach me!” We both chuckled, and I invited her to sit with me as we enjoyed some cosmopolitans and good conversation.

Little do we know, but our bags tell a story about who we are. If we see a woman sporting a large duffle bag and she plops it down next to her, it’s safe to assume she’s either a tired mom, an overworked woman, or just not interested in her appearance. Whereas, a small clutch says that a woman is trendy, conscious of her look, and enjoys her life to flow with ease. I recommend looking into a bag; I mean, what can it hurt? For all you know, you’ll be sipping cosmos at a five-star restaurant and make a new friend.


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