What is an Evening Bag?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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An evening bag is a handbag which is designed to be used during the evening at formal events and parties. The distinguishing feature of this type of bag is its size: most are capable of holding only a few items. Most department stores sell a variety of evening bags, including creations by famous designers, and it is also possible to order these bags through companies which specialize in evening and formal wear.

Many evening bags are designed as clutches, meaning that they have no straps and they are meant to be held in the hand. Depending on the designer, a bag can be simple and understated, or outrageous, with elaborate beading, embroidery, or textiles. Many designers also create bags in a range of colors, ensuring that clients can find an one which will accessorize appropriately with garments.

In addition to new evening bags, one can also find vintage and antique ones. With the right garments, such bags can make quite a splash, especially since the use of a vintage bag ensures that no one else will have the same bag. Vintage stores are a good place to look for such items; if you do use a vintage evening bag, make sure that it is in good condition, as you don't want the bag to rip open in the midst of the evening.


Picking out a good evening bag does require some care and deliberation. The goal is to find one which coordinates well with the garments one wears, without distracting from them. However, if the bag is too bland or too simple when contrasted with the gown being worn, this can be jarring. Therefore, it is a good idea to take the gown along to the store where the bag is purchased, to see how the two look together. Sales staff may also offer recommendations to clients who ask for them.

When selecting an evening bag, you may also want to think about what goes into it. As a general rule, it should be able hold some basic makeup which can be used to freshen up, like lipstick and eyeliner. In addition, the bag should accommodate house or car keys, a small amount of cash and identification, and a mobile phone, which should of course be set to silent or vibrate. An evening bag should never bulge with items, so if you find yourself wedging things into one for a night out on the town, you should either find a bigger bag, or reduce the number of “necessary” items being packed.


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