Clutch Play with Jewels

There seems to be a common and unified perspective among fashion editors this season that handbags of all sorts need to be cradled, held as if they are clutch-style purses. Handles are strictly a style afterthought as just about any bag can be adapted to this quirky style, as impractical as it may be to have one’s hands occupied unnecessarily. Designers of handbags must be smiling, however, as holding a handbag as a clutch shows the bag to advantage, essentially presenting it for view and  keeping it from being relegated to a spot at or below the hip or, even less elegantly, tucked under an armpit.

This style of handbag clutching also shows to advantage the hand and wrist occupied in the act of cradling the bag, and that’s where not only a beautiful manicure but also some well-chosen and eye-catching jewelry come into play. The color of the metal hardware of the bag should be taken into consideration in choosing bracelets, watches and rings, as should its scale. A bag with chunky hardware merits jewelry of similarly substantial design.

From the August 2011 issue of Elle, here is a photo of four very different styles of clutch-style purses, showing a range of hardware styles and levels of refinement. The bags shown are from Chanel, Burberry, Proenza Schouler and Dolce & Gabbana.

Ads and editorials focused on bags don’t always take advantage of the opportunity to showcase jewelry. Here’s one of the current DKNY ads, picturing a large bag carried clutch-style, the model’s ensemble devoid of jewelry.

Longchamp sells jewelry, and this current ad features a bracelet and leather strap around the model’s wrist as she hand-carries her bag.

Armenta is a line of jewelry inspired by Spanish culture that also produces a line of handbags. Both the jewelry and the clutch are the focus of this current ad.

Actress Imogen Poots is pictured in the August 2011 issue of InStyle magazine, carrying a small Vionnet leather clutch with its short strap looped around her wrist like an oversized bracelet. Her ensemble is from Miu Miu.  

Three models carrying various styles of bags as if they are all clutches appear in a feature on the designs of Salvatore Ferragamo in the September 2011 issue of Marie Claire.

The June 2011 issue of Vogue makes note of the trend:  “A hands-on approach takes hold this season, rendering bag straps superfluous.” Notice the thumb ring and pearl-studded rings worn with the blue color-blocked bag, second from left.

The July 2011 issue of Vogue features model Lily Aldridge carrying a calfskin clutch from Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere. She wears a sterling silver, diamond and emerald Snake ring and Tribal Spike ring from Pamela Love on one manicured hand. She also wears a jacket from Rag & Bone, sweatshirt from Acne, collared shirt from Ann Taylor, and embroidered silk pants from Balmain.

The September 2011 issue of Elle features a tailored look from Tommy Hilfiger accessorized with a python bag from Gucci carried as a clutch and leather pumps from Celine. The model wears a gold and diamond watch from Omega on her wrist and also a mostly obscured vintage pendant necklace from Beladora.

Fall into the clutches of this chic style.

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