Party Bags

Much like the Upper East Side's fashion frontrunner├é--the one and only Blair Waldorf├é--we adore supersized day bags for toting our copious wares, but when it comes to party purses, we prefer to opt for more petite styles. This is especially true during the holidays, as seasonal soirees only call for a lipstick and a credit card (and perhaps an apr├â┬Ęs-vino mint). Plus, we'd hardly want to distract from our fabulous frocks with our all-encompassing everyday gear, especially when we can enhance our glamorous after-hours garb with miniature and eye-catching clutches! Not only does the one-handed bag feel so festively apt in its precious gift-like appearance, it also adds a splash of color or a hint of pizzazz to a little black dress, or can provide the perfect dose of polish to a more casual pants-and-blazer inspired cocktail ensemble.

In case you're still not convinced such a dime-sized dose of sparkle is for you, take a note from our muse of the day, the lovely Leighton Meester, who appeared red-carpet ready at the American Eagle store opening in New York last month. Her Herve Leger Stingray-Embossed Gem Minaudiere ($598) adds a spot of sophisticated glamour to her punky all-black Paule Ka Leather Bra and Dress ($1000) and Nicholas Kirkwood Python Web Sandals ($1627), making for a well-balanced, youthfully elegant ensemble. Overall, Meester's pulled together nighttime look proves that this handheld accessory is the perfect finishing accent for proper soiree style, and in light of all the events on this December-January horizon, is clearly an item you must Go Buy Now!

Susan Farber Collections Piccola Sofia Clutch ($298) in Bronze
One of our most festive picks of the day, this present-able bag's bow-bedecked shape makes it the perfect party favorÂ--and it's reminiscent of Meester's style both on and off the small screen (we all know Blair has a bias for bows!). The clutch's gold sheen lends itself well to holiday attire, while its oversized embellishment echoes one of our favorite designer options, Chloe's Crystal Bow Bag ($1592), but at a much more manageable price. We'd recommend taking a page from the Queen B's book and pairing it with your favorite LBD for a dose of high shine and hot holiday polish.

Yves Saint Laurent Belle de Jour Large Flap Wallet ($545) in Silver
Yves Saint Laurent is one of our favorite purveyors of pretty things and the French fashion house continues to make us swoon with an investment clutch that is one part classic, one part glam. Not only will it complement nearly any cocktail frock, but the subtly embossed logo will also look fashionable year-round when paired with a bandage skirt or skinny jeans. We'd opt for this sophisticated bag for any after-work cocktail affair, as the envelope shape is sleek and professional while still being large enough to keep your business cards in tow. However, if gift-giving has you in need of a quicker, more wallet-friendly fix, we'd recommend Forever 21's Metallic Shine Wallet ($7.50), which has the same season-appropriate shimmer and rectangle shape!

Harmony Lane Heart Purse ($45)
Call it a holiday surprise, but somehow this red rhinestone clutch has sneakily won our usually un-kitschy hearts. Echoing the iconic designs of noted evening bag designer Judith Leiber (whose novelty pieces hover around $5000), this bright-red buy is quite a steal. Due to its inherent cute factor, we'd recommend carrying it with a high-contrast outfit, à la stylesetter Agyness Deyn. The raven-haired model was spotted this summer pairing an equally cheeky purse, the Lulu Guinness Red Perspex Lips Clutch, with a Rocky Horror Picture Show T-Shirt, French Connection's Leather High Waisted Pencil Skirt ($322), and Mechante of London Elektra Rose Python Heels ($780, 212.431.3890). We love how she used her splashy accessory to add a bit of irony, and we also would recommend trying out a punkier ensemble with your clutch-o'-love.

Rachel Zoe Double Faced Sequin Clutch with Removable Strap ($120)
As dedicated fans of Rachel Zoe's celebrity-dressing savvy, amazingly addictive Bravo show, and brilliant daily newsletter, The Zoe Report, we were hugely ecstatic to hear of the stylist's cool collaboration with QVC. While her Faux Fur Toggle Coat made a splash in October, today we're smitten with her party-perfect clutch. It's no surprise that the woman who goes bananas for sequins would design an embellished bag, and we're happy to report that she executed it perfectly. Not only does it have her signature stamp of shine, but it also has a lovely touch of Balmain-esque tough girl glam, making it a fashionable choice. Additionally, the lady who never leaves the house without double-stick tape has given us something practical: the 8" x 14" envelope shape allows you to carry those few extra vitals like a Canon and compact, while its removable chain strap is an excellent addition if you need two free hands to dance the night away!

Christian Dior Metal Cannage Bag ($2300)
With this sleek metal clutch, the cannage pattern of the classic Dior bag has been given an instantÂ--and stylishÂ--update. The geometric print is eye-catching and will instantly toughen up a flirtier party dress for a more directional holiday ensemble. While this silver brass minaudiere is totally current, its tried-and-true pattern has a vintage vibe and we could easily see someone like Ashley Olsen pairing it with a neutral floor-length dress and faux fur coat. However, since the price tag is not quite as petite as the purse, you could also opt for Urban Outfitters Round Croco Hinge Wallet ($14), which not only takes your look for a walk on the wild side, but also boasts a change pocket and credit card holder!Â--Liza Kaplan

Photo of Leighton Meester, Splash.
EXPLORE: Go Buy Now, Agyness Deyn, Leighton Meester, Christian Dior, YSL


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