This Once-Dated Handbag Style Is En Route to a Comeback


(Image credit: @greceghanem

There’s nothing we love more in fashion than an unexpected comeback, which is why the recent influx of clutch-purse sightings has us so excited. Ever since Bottega Veneta’s creative director, Daniel Lee, released his now-ubiquitous Pouch bag in the S/S 19 collection, brands have slowly begun testing out the handbag style that went out of vogue years ago. (Remember wristlets?) Now, similarly pillow-like clutches are everywhere, as are other clutch styles like mini drawstring sacks, lunch-bag look-alikes, and even standard-issue black envelope shapes. However odd it is to think that the purses we so often brought with us to middle school dances are cool again, it’s true: The clutch bag is back. 

We can’t give all the credit to Lee. Other beloved handbag designers such as Mansur Gavriel, Loewe, and Staud have also played a role in the return of the clutch purse, as have Cult Gaia, Simon Miller, and Little Liffner. Essentially, every brand that’s regularly spotted on Instagram has tossed its clutches into the ring, making it next to impossible for us to avoid getting a style of our own any longer. If you’re ready to welcome clutches back into your regular rotation, keep scrolling. 

Ahead, we rounded up the best designer clutch bags on the market right now, all of which feel surprisingly at home in 2021.

The Pouch Purse


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

The pouch-purse corner of the clutch category comes courtesy of Bottega Veneta, the Italian fashion brand behind the Pouch, which has been given stamps of approval by supermodel Kendall Jenner and designer Victoria Beckham. 

The Drawstring Duffle


(Image credit: @alyssainthecity)

Think of today's drawstring clutches as modernized takes on the vintage pouches that you used to "borrow" from your grandma's closet and tote around during family reunions. This time around, rather than intricate beading and silk, designers are crafting their mini clutches out of ultra-soft leather. 

The Classic Envelope


(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

You may have donated almost every clutch purse from the '00s years ago, but we'd be willing to bet that you held on to one that looks like this. A rectangular, likely black clutch bag could never go out of style. It's perfect for too many occasions, from black-tie galas and weddings to—as shown here—French fashion parties.

The Statement Maker


(Image credit: @greceghanem)

Whether it's because of size, color, or shape, a bag that makes a statement is always a plus. Clutches are no exception, which is probably why we're so smitten with the eye-catching styles below. 

The Wristlet


(Image credit: @babba)

Though technically part of the clutch-bag family, the wristlet is special because really, it's not a clutch at all. In fact, it's the antithesis of the style in that, thanks to the trusty wrist strap, wristlets are entirely hands-free. 

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.