Colgate Couture – The Clutch Factor

Katie Zarrella

You feel a vibration, then hear a faint ring. You reach in, first your hand, then your whole arm as you dig deeper and deeper, immersing your entire body into the bottomless pit that is your handbag. You frantically grasp at your lip-gloss, car keys, iPod, Luna Bar, Yorkshire terrier and whatever else you’ve tossed into the black hole hanging from your shoulder, but your phone has been lost in the dark abyss of your satchel.

Big bags are avant-garde, in-vogue and all the rest, but wouldn’t it be lovely to actually have access to those “necessities” that you carry all daylong? Enter the clutch. No longer reserved for swanky soirees and cocktail parties, the clutch is the “in bag” of fall ’07 and provides a welcomed alternative to the cavernous hobos and bulky totes of seasons past. With clever new shapes, unexpected materials and amusing embellishments, the clutch is this season’s must-have.

Chanel’s chain logo clutch in forest green couples sophistication with hip vintage flare. Smooth edges and supple leather make for a relaxed rectangular shape and the metal fringe that drips from the bag’s center to form the signature C’s adds a funky flapper vibe to the bag’s understated elegance.

Candy-coated in robin’s egg blue, watermelon or tangerine, Fendi’s enamel and suede clutches are bright and playful. The Fendi letters are arranged atop the rounded rectangular clutch like a perfectly plotted Tetris game for a geometric retro look.

The clutch’s handle-less design often makes it cumbersome to carry, but Prada has solved this problem with the bow clutch. The brand’s square, eggplant bag in Napa is decorated with what appears to be an adorable orange leather bow. The bow, however, is actually a delightful handle under which you can slip your hand and free yourself from the burden of clutching your clutch.

For an L.A. Rocker look, grab Thomas Wylde’s Barolo metallic clutch. A Swarovski crystal embellished skull stares from the front of Wylde’s bronze cracked leather bag for a look that Captain Hook wishes he could carry.

Pucci tossed aside the colorful silk and jersey to create one of the most interesting clutches of the season. The square metal-and-wood bag uses multi-toned wood to create a pattern reminiscent of the brand’s signature look. This Frank Lloyd Wright look-alike is extremely flat, so you won’t be able to fit much more than your Pearl, but this unique bag is worth sacrificing your usual bring-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink packing style.

Take a load off your shoulder. Put those big bags in the closet and get your hands on a light fall clutch.