For holiday parties, you may need to rethink your bag options. Your go-to leather tote or work satchel will look completely out of place with festive attire.
Having a couple of versatile evening bags in your wardrobe will solve the problem, though it's hard to fathom spending the usual $200 and up it costs to get a high-quality, good-looking bag. After all, they slip into rotation just a couple of times a year and generally hold only a tube of lip gloss, a valet ticket, one tissue and, if you're lucky, a slim cellphone (good luck stuffing a BlackBerry in there).
But we've found some that are functional, pretty and, at under $100, not heart-stoppingly expensive.
First, remember that a good evening clutch can be fun but should not compete with your outfit. Neutral shades are best –- black, metallic, champagne or dark gray all work. If you're wearing a black dress, take the opportunity to add a pop of shine to the look with a metallic clutch.
My favorite clutches have that angular, Art Deco appeal to them. Asos.com has two priced at $62.06 each that are small (but, hey, they pretty much all are and the point of an evening bag is that it's elegant, demure and out of the way) and make a great vintage statement.
For a versatile option, a rectangular bow bag from French Connection ($68.96) does the trick. It's got a bit of texture thanks to its large bow and a festive holiday feel from its subtle sparkle.
These bags prove that an evening clutch doesn't have to be over the top or expensive. It should be that final flourish that ties together the overall look without eclipsing your clothing. Unless you're into the evening bag as conversation piece (Judith Leiber anyone?), try a less expensive option that's chic enough for the swirl of upcoming social gatherings but won't break the bank or eat up your holiday gift-buying budget.