Clutch Purse

As more women entered the workforce, the decorative beaded handbags and more fanciful embroidered or tapestry purses of previous years were limited to dressy evening events. The clutch

Most clutch purses have a metal hinged clasp or snap closure. Reproduced by permission of .
purse became the standard for business or daytime activities. The clutch purse was a small leather or smooth, stiffened cloth purse with a metal hinged clasp or snap closure. Clutch purses were often neat, flat rectangles made of a plain color. Leather clutches were most often black or brown, but cloth purses could be of a color that complemented a woman's dress. Flat, tailored clutch purses were later replaced with larger purses, known as satchel purses, which women stuffed with necessities and slung over their shoulders. Satchel purses became especially popular during World War II (1939–45), when women needed to carry more things as they walked or rode public transportation to conserve gas for the war effort.


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: