Snob Essentials

To Fill a Giant Clutch


Dear Bag Snob,

I’m a little embarrassed to ask, but I think most of us out here have the same question: What the heck goes in a clutch these days?! I’m not talking about the clutch you carry with your LBD. That’s easy: cash, a credit card and lipstick! I’m talking about the oversized clutches for day that are everywhere now! Many of them are still envelope slim, though flexible. But what gives? Are there special wallets or card holders we need for these? I have a basic black leather oversize clutch with circle die cut-outs, and a red shiny alligator oversized envelope clutch. Love them both, but still am at a loss of how to use them on a normal workday. Does this look require an additional tote?

Thanks for your help!


Dear Melissa,

This is a completely valid question. The giant clutch trend as with the giant bag trend is not about filling a sudden demand for roominess, it is about the look. I am sure it does benefit the needs of some but in reality most of these giant bags have the same stuff any other bags do. The giant clutch trend is really liberating, there is more freedom and less discrimination when packing. You don’t have to decide between this gloss and that gloss, you bring your whole cosmetic pouch! Although, I have to say, once you have a giant bag, you do find things to put in there that you normally would not think of carrying. Even without my kids in tow, I find that I cannot live without wet wipes – spilled coffee, going to the gas station, etc. all require a good wipe. So that goes in my bag if I am carrying a big one. Back in the day, most bags were clutches, and they were quite big. That was the bag women used on a daily basis so they needed to be a good size. And I love that we are going back to that! But be careful with the envelope thin clutches, do not overstuff or it will look quite pregnant. People complained that the Fendi clutch looked like a pillow but the puffiness allows for reckless stuffing! And whatever you do, do not use a tote with it!! =)



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  1. I don’t have problems with deciding what I should put in a clutch but rather with the practical side of carrying one-the thought of having to put it constantly under my arm when browsing through racks of clothes or paying for something is an highly unappealing one!


  2. I have a few larger-than-life bags, including clutches, and I’m always amazed when I switch to them how little I have: wallet, cell phone, keys, iPod. Then, by magic, within say three days, that sucker is filled to the brim! It’s amazing how many things can end up in a bag. Whenever I switch bags after a long period of time, it’s like my bag is a time capsule, revealing receipts of meals I ate, phone numbers with people’s names I don’t recognize, and usually about four different kinds of lip balm. Don’t even get me started on the loose change! When it comes to the big clutch, I love it, because it’s such a defined statement. You can only carry it a few ways, therefore people have to see it. It’s a defined accessory, which can be a bit obnoxious, but really it’s just more fabulous.

  3. I just treat mine like a normal bag, definitely will not use a tote with it. Has anyone seen the Marc Jacob flat handheld bag that can be fold over to become a clutch. I love that.

  4. I don’t care for these large clutches. They look ridiculous. They look like you are carrying a large shopping bag.

  5. maybe you should save the oversized clutches for the weekend because they are definitely not practical for work (at least not for most people) and carrying them with a tote would be too much.

  6. Sounds like James is telling me what I was hoping not to hear…just cant be done with my life. Oh well. I’ll keep them for a dinner out with the boyfriend (without the kids, bc I can’t very well stick a dozen action figures in a clutch!!) I just hate that my lifestyle dictates my fashion. (Though I suppose when the opposite occurs, I should REALLY be worried!)

  7. where can i find the fendi clutch in the picture above? i absolutely adore cluthes but haven’t found one big enough to hold more than credit card and money.

  8. Raine,

    They used to have it at net a porter. But it has sold out from there I think. Call Fendi on 5th Ave in NYC. They may still have one.

  9. You can get the oversized Fendi clutch at Barneys Beverly Hills or any other Barneys New York location (you can always do a charge send) which is where I got mine – they come in white and black and are absolutely fabulous.

  10. Had a fabulous oversized vintage deco simply snatched out from under my arm. Chased the scoundrel through city streets for blocks – no luck. Just a warning for you clutch loving ladies – an unfettered bag is easier to grab.