A Secret Trick To Dressing Up Fancy On A Budget


A big night looms. You’ve got shoes, tights, and a dress.  Jewelry, lipstick, and a coat. Not to mention one glorious scarf.

Now, if I can suggest, remember your evening bag. I’ve often forgotten, and regretted my forgetting. Such a little thing, but such an outfit finisher.

We all have our different approaches. Those who live a glossy nightlife might justify the big spend. Grandes Dames, for example, love their Judith Lieber. Oh yes they do.

Artsy Cousins sign in blood for Alexander McQueen. Skulls and unicorns unite.

But we Sturdy Gals go for a nice snappy low-cost minaudiere. In bright colors,

or, as I did for last Saturday’s event, in gold and black lace print from a store like Bebe.

Faux python would do nicely too. A very acceptable Christmas present.

Sturdies, gather near. I’m going to whisper something. Closer. You should not just carry your usual tote bag to a fancy party. Nope. You think it’s too much trouble to round up something specializing in shine, click and glamor. It’s not.

There. The Closed Door Sturdy meeting releases you into a promise-filled evening.

25 Comments

  • 12/13/12
    7:09 am

    Reply

    Jan's Sushi Bar said...

    I hereby profoundly and profusely apologize for laughing at the Artsy Cousin bag. But the handle resembles, well, decorative brass knuckles.

  • 12/13/12
    7:42 am

    Reply

    my honest answer said...

    You’re right on about not taking your usual tote. It’s filled with too much weight (literally and figuratively) for the night ahead!

    12/15/12
    7:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    What a lovely thought, to shed weight for an evening.

  • 12/13/12
    7:42 am

    Reply

    mette said...

    As I go to bed so early each night, I don´t need an evening bag, lol..
    Seriously, if I did stay up, I´d surely have one, only those miniature clutches are so ridiculously tiny, ouch.
    But respecting the occasion, I´d choose a superb one, only then I´d stay cool with my jewelry, which is easy, as I have so little. One more lol : ).

  • 12/13/12
    7:48 am

    Reply

    kathy said...

    Sometimes, the only change I make from day to night, is to ditch my overloaded large bag, and grab a small clutch for dinner. Lightening up, also lightens my mood, and leaves the day behind. I often carry a more casual leather clutch, but I love all your choices.

  • 12/13/12
    7:58 am

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    You’re so right about changing the bag for a small clutch. As Kathy says, I find that switching over, popping just a credit card, $20 bill, lipstick, wee tube of hand lotion, hair pick, and (sometimes), my smartphone into my clutch reminds me that the evening is just about fun. . . As are all your choices here.

    12/13/12
    3:47 pm
    Linda said...

    I agree with all except I add the driver’s license and leave the hand lotion in the car. My daughter now uses the vintage 1930′s black velvet beaded bag that I bought when I was 18. I now use a vintage French beaded bag from my MIL. She may have acquired it in the late 40′s early 50′s, maybe 63 years ago. The parties these gorgeous little bags have attended; if only they could talk — about the ones before my time!

  • 12/13/12
    8:08 am

    Reply

    lauren said...

    i was all set to debut my margiela x h&m clutch for my first holiday party this past saturday…and i totally chickened out and brought my everyday shoulder bag. i am weak! but i did wear my velvet tuxedo jacket and thorn bracelets? and i hid my bag behind a sofa right when we arrived, so no one was the wiser?

    12/15/12
    7:42 pm
    Lisa said...

    Get out of jail free:).

  • 12/13/12
    8:27 am

    Reply

    Marla said...

    Those clutches are so beautiful, but I usually go “bagless” to parties. Especially if I know the food is going to be served buffet style. I only have two hands and I can’t juggle the clutch with the food.

  • 12/13/12
    9:15 am

    Reply

    Practical Paralegalism said...

    I have several heirloom evening bags, and I always carry one when I dress up. They are great conversation starters, and I cherish them because they came from beloved aunts and great-aunts.

  • 12/13/12
    9:48 am

    Reply

    Tabitha said...

    Right I have located you here.
    Iam in a deep swither over the bespoke Anya Hindmarch clutch, it’s very simple and there is no doubt that the monogram and secret message bump up the price. Mum wants to buy me one and it would be lovely but I am just not sure about the intrinsic value.
    IQ? Have never passed an exam, always been bottom of the class and as a child couldn’t do the IQ test, so I just coloured in my page.

  • 12/13/12
    9:52 am

    Reply

    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

    Could not agree more. Handbags can make or break your look. I have a couple of heirloom bags and it’s fun to get them out for special occasions. I also have a funky one I picked up in the islands and it’s handy for those not-so-dressy dressy outfits that seem to find their way into parties in Florida.
    Sam

  • 12/13/12
    11:50 am

    Reply

    Mustangmelatl said...

    I always go with vintage evening bags. Generally inexpensive. Always glam. And also gives you a good story to tell about where you found it!

  • 12/13/12
    12:43 pm

    Reply

    emmaleigh504 said...

    I’m ready to give my first born and all my blood for that Alexander McQueen bag.

  • 12/13/12
    1:15 pm

    Reply

    Whitney Worthington said...

    I agree with you 100%. I am always forgetting a ‘good’ evening bag when I put an outfit together. It is harder now that I am getting home rarely (and normally beg off one of Mom’s to borrow…)

  • 12/13/12
    1:20 pm

    Reply

    That's Not My Age said...

    I’m not very good with a clutch so I take a tote out at night and dump it in the corner. It’s a good way to carry a change of footwear – and I have hands free for drinks & nibbles.

  • 12/13/12
    4:39 pm

    Reply

    Cynthia said...

    The problem I always had with clutches was “but how do you dance with one of those on you?” You need both hands, whether it’s for a salsa or a waltz.

  • 12/13/12
    10:31 pm

    Reply

    hostessofthehumblebungalow said...

    Your clutch choices are so much “higher wasp” than mine…
    $$$$

    Mine is a simple pedestrian black vintage eelskin with a chain strap that can be popped inside or used hands free when sipping bubbly and tasting the appetizers.

    Bring on the party!

    12/14/12
    11:48 am
    Mary anne said...

    Your bag sounds perfect to me!

  • 12/14/12
    4:45 am

    Reply

    Dawn said...

    I will take this advice tonight, thankyouverymuch, and ditch my much beloved Lancel French Flair tote for something more festive (or at least less luggage-like). While I will only be attending a nice(ish) dinner party with dear friends and not a fancy event, I should probably take a few minutes to switch into a more festive and seasonally appropriate bag.

  • 12/14/12
    7:10 am

    Reply

    Sheryl said...

    I’ve only recently started embracing evening bags, and I’m still not a big fan of a clutch. I really don’t want to have to hold my bag all night, but the number of little clutches with wrist straps on the market the last few years has been ever so slowly changing my mind.

    For a much more casual evening I have a wallet that actually serves the purpose (designed to act like both a wallet and a clutch) but I do love to oooh and aaah at the fancier ones and I may even own one.

  • 12/14/12
    8:05 am

    Reply

    AggieK said...

    We were in Las Vegas for a wedding a few years ago and I went in the Judith Leiber store at Caesar’s. Wow! The bags were incredible works of art. I wanted the jeweled polar bear, and I would have bought it but it was more than $4000.

  • 12/14/12
    10:35 am

    Reply

    Sandra said...

    I have a vintage woven bamboo minauderie, a least that’s how it looks. I love wearing the vintage bamboo look for a dressy occasion.

    But…if I had my choice of goodies above it would be the Alexander McQueen. I don’t know if I’m a “sturdy artsy.” But it does knock me out. Wouldn’t it look great with Jeans?

    So far I’d like to borrow your mother’s bracelet and your sparkly skirt and your…

  • 12/14/12
    10:36 am

    Reply

    StacyfrPgh said...

    I love how so many remarks say that they use vintage bags from a dear relative. That is what I carry when I need something. I love the little chains, the sequins and the sewn pearls. My mom gave me a gold mesh from the early 1950′s that I love but am too scared to carry for fear that I’ll harm it!

  • 12/14/12
    10:36 am

    Reply

    Sandra said...

    Could I move next door and borrow your clothes?

  • 12/14/12
    4:25 pm

    Reply

    RoseAG said...

    I love that McQueen bag with the knuckle clasp. It would make hanging onto the bag easier.

  • 12/15/12
    6:16 am

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    Hear, hear! And tall or voluptuous women might carry the flat baguette or envelope shape in, for example, silk or satin. It’s a better proportion for them than a teensy minaudiere. But never a day bag to a semiformal or formal evening event.

  • 12/20/12
    4:46 pm

    Reply

    Susan Partlan said...

    Like Marla, I go bagless, but do admire everyone else carrying a clutch. The ones you’ve pictured are great.

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