Gone are the days of serious evening bags that blend into your outfits and become an afterthought. These days, you don’t have to settle for an understated satin clutch in basic black, gold, or silver. In fact, style experts say go for Barbie pink or highlighter yellow! And, add some feathers while you’re at it!
“This season we are seeing that the bag itself is a statement, and opting for a bag in an unexpected color or shape is the ultimate conversation starter,” shares Divya Mathur, Chief Merchant at Intermix.
The key to choosing the right handbag for a wedding, fashion experts say, is to first take into account the venue, time of year, and “vibe” of the event. A beach or garden wedding, for example, would allow for a more casual bag with natural textiles perhaps like bamboo or crocheted fabric, whereas a black-tie wedding calls for something with a little bling.
“If you’re attending a seaside wedding, you can style a solid dress with the right accessories to make it feel perfectly tropical or beachy. A turquoise, beaded clutch or a shell-accented bag are a great choice for a destination wedding,” suggests Nina Miner, Chief Creative Director of Nina. “A classic silk midi dress can become black-tie appropriate with the addition of a jeweled or feather-accented minaudiere, a beautiful evening sandal, and statement earrings. The right handbag can transform your look for an occasion and either dress it up or down.”
Miner also shares that “the au-courant trend is to match your handbag to your shoes for a chic and sophisticated pairing.” But, we’re not talking about matching black with black; pair a bright purple shoe with a matching bag for some wow factor. Plus, wardrobe stylist Ashley Miller adds that matching your bag and your shoes actually elongates the leg as the eye goes from top to bottom.
Miller also says the vibe of the wedding—from a more reserved event to a full-on dance party—should also guide your decision in terms of practicality. Do you need a strap so your hands are free? Will you need a big enough bag to hold sunglasses? Maybe even consider space for extra shoes. “I like to bring disposable slippers because I know I’m about to get down on the floor,” she shares.
Another first step in picking out your bag is to look in your closet. As a stylist, Miller always advises her clients to first see what they already have before going out and shopping for something new. And, when you do go with a new purchase, pick something you like enough that you will wear it again. She has a three-time rule, meaning you should only buy things you think you’ll want to wear at least three times. And, with today’s more fun and whimsical evening bag trends, you could easily find something to wear to a wedding and also out to a nice cocktail bar at another time. “They are meant to be worn, seen, and enjoyed,” she says.
With all this in mind, here are some trends we are seeing for evening bags right now.
It’s all about color, from soft blush to neon pink and everything in between. “I really think that colors are more mood enhancers,” says Miller. She is big on pops of color—pairing an unexpected bright blue or green with a simple black dress. And vice versa, if your outfit is super flashy and colorful, she suggests opting for a more muted color on your bag. Choose whether the statement will be your outfit or your bag and “don’t overpower your outfit so someone won't know where to look first,” she offers.
That being said, there is an art to maximalism if you want to go bold. “As with any outfit, it’s all about balance. If you are going for a maximalist moment, then pick a bold contrasting color to your outfit. Think a hot pink bag with a teal blue cocktail dress,” says Mathur.
Top Handle Mini Bag
A look that is very much in for day-to-day purses has also made its way into the evening bag circuit. “They’re so cute,” shares Miller, who likes the fun play on a classic look. It’s also an unexpected switch-up from the typical clutch or long-strapped shoulder bag we are used to seeing at weddings.
Fringe and Feathers
Another big trend right now in fashion has found its way into evening bags. Fringe and feathers add a pop of fun and whimsy to a formal outfit. You can dip your toe into the bold look with a neutral tone bag, or really jump in and go for a bright color.
“People are embracing so many more shapes and sizes versus the traditional square clutch with the hidden chain,” says Miller. “I even saw a hexagon the other day.” Fashion experts agree that interesting silhouettes have really made their way into evening bag styles. From twisted shapes to round balls like this stylish Cult Gaia bag, anything goes!
For the past few years, bamboo, wicker, and crochet handbags have been a huge trend for summer. Miller is seeing that seeping into evening bags as well. “I love a bohemian natural look. It’s just perfect because you don't always have to be so dressed up and formal with weddings in summer. If you’re on the beach, it brings you closer to the energy of what’s going on,” she says. Plus, natural textiles can easily transition to more casual wear so you can get a lot of use out of your bag all season long.
Sparkle and Shine
Last but not least, a little bling will never go out of style. A classic bag like a sparkling minaudière is a “timeless piece” that Miner recommends investing in. Similarly, Mathur recommends always having a rhinestone mini at your disposal. “If you want something more refined, I like keeping the outfit neutral, and then layering on high shine accessories like a rhinestone bag with sparkly jewelry,” she shares. We are excited to say today’s designs add bling in some unexpected ways like crystal fringe, colorful stones, and iridescent materials.