True confession: we've always found evening bags, well, a wee dorky. So often they're either prom-style (plain dutchess satin) or old lady (bejeweled and shaped like small animals). Ugh. So for several years we were on strike. We'd swing our tough-looking day bags over our shoulders and swish out the door. Well, now we're finally ready to grow up and thankfully there are heaps of posh evening bags to choose from this season. The important thing to wrap your head around is that an evening bag is not just for the opera, weddings, or black-tie affairs. You can--and should--take them on dates, to cocktails with the ladies, and yes, to holiday festivities. Another paramount point is the size of your bag. You should be able to hold it in one hand (they call it a "clutch" for a reason) and never, ever use any sort of shoulder strap--cut that sucker off immediately! When shopping for this item, we like to bring our essentials with us (credit card, debit card, ID, gloss, blotting papers, cell phone, business cards) to make sure everything can squeeze in the bag.
Many of our favorite evening bags shown here are quite pricey, but you really don't need to go this route. Target currently has some cute Behnaz Sarafpour options under $20 or you can always troll the flea markets. When we are in New York, we'll often find cheap pieces in Chinatown or at Pearl River Market--which is always clutch.