The “It” Bag For Evening – The Clutch

Large handbags in a range of colors are de rigeur for today’s work or play. But when the sun goes down, dress-up and evening bags also have a distinctive look that defines them as au courant.

“The evening bag of the moment is a clutch,” declares Che, a Los Angeles designer and stylist for celebrities, who also works on large commercial campaigns. “Exotic skins like crocodile, washed lizard and python are popular right now.”

“Patent leather is very popular this spring and summer,” adds Daria Hines, personal stylist to Fergie, solo star and member of the multi-platinum-selling group Black Eyed Peas. “People want shiny–and colorful.” She also agrees that skins, like snakeskin are in great demand.

The reason clutches are in style, fashion experts contend, is that they look adorable, they’re lightweight and easy to carry, and they don’t detract from an outfit. Yet the reason they are so beloved–their small size–is also their biggest drawback. “A clutch doesn’t hold very much,” admits Che, referring to some of the smallest clutches that are fashionable this season. “Just keys, money, I.D. and lipstick.”

The good news, of course, is that if you’re out for just a few hours attending a party or an evening affair, odds are, you don’t need to carry very much. Whichever clutch you choose, however, you can always remind yourself that what your purse lacks in size, it makes up for in style.

Here’s a look at some of the dress-up evening bags of the moment:

For those who can spend a large amount of cash on a small purse, the top-of-the-line designers offer a myriad of choices. Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Fendi all offer amazing–and expensive–clutches in alligator and python, lambskin, calfskin, and patent leather.

A Fendi favorite is the crossword patent clutch, above ($920). Black patent panels have oversized coated leather Fendi letters (mirror-like in appearance) woven over the zip-top bag, which has a satin lining.

The priciest bags are certainly pretty, but most women don’t want to forfeit a fortune when buying a new party purse. Enter Hobo International, a company that offers stylish clutches at affordable prices. According to their Web site, http://www.hobobags.com, the line is designed by women for women. The Hobo Arden ($110) is a petite leather clutch which comes in black, cameo pink, celadon, linen, and sepia. The front of the clutch is adorned with a pretty big bow which dominates the face. The Madeleine ($115), also leather, comes in the same colors as the Arden, but features a silver circle belt buckle instead of bow. The Tina ($115) mirrors the Madeleine but is made of crinkle patent leather, and is offered in vivid colors, including citron, cobalt, and red.

Add a little spice to your evening with clutches by Lodis (www.lodis.com). The Slim Clamshell Clutch ($170) is patent leather with a glossy wave overlay and shiny nickel hardware. It has as a twist closure that opens or magnetic “wings” that open on both sides for convenient access to credit card slots, an ID window and bill compartments. A strap is also included. The Slim Clamshell comes in chartreuse, tangerine or baby blue.

Lodis also offers a more traditional Clamshell clutch ($138) in drum dyed red or black leather accented with taupe stitching with double sided magnetic closure, 14 credit card slots and a removable shoulder strap.

New York designer Betsey Johnson (www.betseyjohnson.com), “known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, and the over the top,” according to the description on her Web site, presents the rather tame and classy Peddle Pusher Clutch ($195) in black and silver. Simple and elegant, the clutch is accented by a decorative belt buckle.

Another trendy choice for evening bags is a wristlet. Essentially the same size and shape as a clutch, it includes a small wrist strap, which comes in handy for dancing and most important, as a way to prevent you from leaving your bag behind.

When designing their bags, the go-to manufacturer of leather, Coach (www.coach.com) ensures each product embodies the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. The Zoe leather clutch ($258) is a sleek little bag combining a modern profile with timeless detailing. In Nappa leather with leather trim, it has an inside zip pocket, cellphone/multi-function pocket and turnlock closure. You can choose between chartreuse and brass. Also new from Coach are straw wristlets ($168) that feature metallic trim and chain straps; they’re available in bark, gold, grass and vermilion.

Prada’s Miu Miu line (www.miumiu.com) offers a funky metallic wristlet clutch ($170) This bag adds just the right zip to a basic black party dress.

© 2007 Celebrate with Style, LLC. All rights reserved.

Finding Handmade Handbags and Purses Online

Handbags may have served both women and men as a functional fashion accessories since as early as the Stone Age, when prehistoric hunter-gatherers — some 20,000 years BC — likely carried tools and wild edibles from place to place in crude leaf satchels or simple leather slings.

Egyptian hieroglyphs, several thousand years BC, depict the use of purse-like waist pouches. Later, in Europe between the 12th and 16th Century AD, men also wore small purses strapped about the waist, while women typically carried valuables in pocket-pouches sewed beneath their skirts. It was not until the 1800s that a wider variety of purse styles came into vogue in Europe (particularly as dresses became more shapely, leaving less room for bulky hidden pockets). Elsewhere in the world, culturally-themed handbags, clutches, and shoulder bags have served as essential fashion accessories for many many thousands of years; each culture featuring its own history of use and style.

In the West, the past 100 years of fashion has featured a seemingly endless parade of increasingly diverse handbag styles, ranging from the utterly vainglorious to the elegantly sublime. Today, handbag fashions remain as capricious as they are numerous. Currently, just about anything goes, from trendy Kate Spade and Prada-style purses to culturally-themed handbags and clutches handmade by little-known designers around the world.

Fortunately for fashionistas today, the Internet helps support the fashion world’s broad diversity of current styles, bringing a spectacular variety of handbag options to online buyers’ fingertips. With just a few simple key strokes, buyers can find, compare, and purchase just about all of the most famous and most obscure designs today. An incredibly broad selection of handbags, purses, manbags, messenger bags, totes, clutches, pocketbooks, evening bags, unisex satchels, shoulder bags, backpacks, and computer carriers are readily available.

Handmade world-style handbags experienced a major fashion renaissance in the new Millennium, and have continued each successive year to increase in popularity and availability. Many famous designers offer variations on traditional region-based cultural themes, while the original ethnic designs — upon which those designer models are based — are just about as readily available online, often shipping direct from appreciative artisan-designers in remote locals.

When searching for handmade handbags online, be sure to shop with reputable retailers. Styles vary so widely, that the best stylistic recommendation — and the luckiest aspect of the breadth of fashion today — is simply to choose a look that resonates with you. You may find that you are drawn to fashion accessories — including handbags — that reflect your own a cultural heritage or regional fascination. Whatever the reason, be sure to select a handbag that truly appeals to you. We recommend this approach as much more fun and intriguing than purchasing duplicates of handbags that are already widely worn and talked about!

Regional styles vary considerably. Currently, Latin American designers and artisans offer a broad range of stunning and elegant leather handbags. Many artisan-designers in Asia include sustainable reeds and fibers in summery, earth-friendly traditional handbags. Hilltribe artists in Thailand and neighboring nations each produce their own characteristic tribal-themed handbags, many of which are available to purchasers around the world today. Also in Thailand, elaborate handmade sterling silver purses make some of the most exquisite evening bags available on the planet today, often featuring delicate floral details (consider such exceptional works of art for truly special occasions, including black tie dinners and weddings). Master artisans and designers in India likewise create some lovely evening bags, traditionally heavily-beaded and made of cloth.

In Brazil, so many exciting and wild styles define current trends that it is hard to suggest just one or two handbag themes to consider. In Rio, Neide Ambrosio has launched a star-studded handbag phenomenon these past several years with her fabulous collection of unique handmade soda-pop top handbags and matching accessories, all made from recycled soda-pop flip-tops — collected by otherwise unemployed locals who are now helping “clean up” soda flip tops from the breathtaking beaches of Rio.

Novica’s handbags department is a great place to go for an overview of dozens of cultural themes and hundreds of styles, available direct from artisan-designers around the globe. Many other wonderful online retailers likewise provide great options for discovering and purchasing handmade handbags from around the world. We are so fortunate to have so many choices in the world today — in so many aspects of our lives, including fashion. Enjoy the search, and the many exiting options available!

Miu-Miu Designer Handbags

Miu Miu is a high fashion brand that specializes in women’s clothes and accessories, including handbags. It was established in 1993 and Miuccia Prada, the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, the founder of the Prada Company, leads it. Miu Miu handbags come in a several categories, including mini-bags, totes, top handle bags, shoulder bags, satchels, and clutches. All Miu Miu bags are done to the highest standard using only the best materials. They come in a variety of styles and colors, from the very elegant patent leather styles to the more sporty ones. Below are detailed descriptions of a selected number of Miu Miu handbags.

Dark Teal Women’s Shoulder/Handbag

This is a truly luxurious bag with clean, simple lines accentuating the richness of the teal calfskin leather. The design is elegant yet roomy. This bag features a top handle, making carrying it in hand very easy. If, however, you wish to carry it over the shoulder, a detachable shoulder strap is included. The gold tone hardware completes the design.

The inside of the bag is fully lined and has a zip and a slide pocket. This feature will help you organize your belongings while still allowing enough space for larger items. At 15.5 inches long, 13.5 inches high and 11 inches wide, this is a large handbag that can handle just about anything you may wish to carry.

The teal color leather handbag is very elegant and will complement most casual and business outfits. The teal leather will look beautiful with both neutral and bright colors. This designer bag is made in Italy.

Pink and Green Women’s Designer Tote Handbag

This is a perfectly designed and very striking handbag. The lines are fairly simple, but the pink and green colors really make it stand out. The tote is made of embossed velvet. The leather trim and designer logos at the front and interior of the bag complete the look.

This tote has double leather shoulder straps for easy and comfortable carrying. The inside is fully lined and has two pockets.

For protection, metal feet have been added to the bottom, so you will not have to worry about excessive wear and tear. This designer tote is 14 inches high, 14.5 inches long and 5.5 inches wide.

Gold Tone Leather Clutch Handbag

This clutch is a perfect example of feminine elegance, be it during a cocktail party or a coffee meeting with friends. It is made of luxurious leather in gold. It comes with a handy wrist strap or handle and a flap closure top for added security. The designer’s logo is on the flap exterior. The inside is fully lined and features six credit card pockets and a zip pocket. This beautiful clutch is 8 inches long, 5 inches high and 1.5 inches wide. This exquisite bag is made in Italy.

History of Christian Dior, Miu Miu, and Burberry Handbags

The House of Dior was established in 1947, backed by Marcel Boussac. The house was immediately successful. It’s very first show on February 12, 1947 shocked the fashion world with its luxuriousness. It showed a style that was extremely feminine and opulent, a stark contrast to the poverty of the years after the war. This is the style that would become the hallmark of the Dior House: elegant, opulent, and feminine. In 1950, the house established a number of licenses for a variety of luxury goods, including handbags. The style established by the Dior haute couture was echoed in the leather goods. The pinnacle of the Dior handbag style can be seen in the sleek, timeless and elegant Lady Dior line, made famous by Princess Diana herself. Its simple lines and beauty made it the signature Dior line. All Dior handbag lines, such as Miss Dior, Dior Addict, Dior Granville, Dior Soft and the evening bags and clutches, are exceptionally well made, combining gorgeous design with versatility.

Miu Miu was established as a secondary line of Prada in 1993 by Miuccia Prada, the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, the founder of the Prada Company. The name of the house comes from Miuccia’s nickname. The idea behind establishing the Miu Miu house was to create a younger, more affordable line that will echo the high fashion and high quality of the Prada house. In 2000, the Miu Miu Bowling bag became a hit. Its shape was the perfect combination of young femininity and elegance, making it an instant it bag among the young and fashionable. The bowling bag is still being reinvented, with new colors and variations being unveiled year after year.

The House of Burberry has a very long history. Thomas Burberry established it in 1856. Originally, the company made hard-wearing, excellent quality outdoor clothing. Thomas created and patented gabardine, a tightly woven waterproof cotton. This textile became very popular for making practical and stylish outdoor clothes that one could wear while hunting and in town. The Burberry house is also the home of the trench coat lined with the Burberry check design, one of the most recognizable and most copied coat styles. The first Burberry handbag was launched in 1960 and it bore the signature check. Today, the Burberry handbags come in different styles, some still featuring the iconic check but most now are made without it. The Burberry bag has become synonymous with excellent quality that combines elegance with a sporty look. The bags come in all the usual shapes, the tote, clutch, shoulder bag, and so on; what unites them is the exceptional craftsmanship.