Ahh, the Oscars! There’s nothing like a good red carpet, and the 2013 Academy Awards didn’t disappoint when it came to interesting evening bags. (Although, in our opinion, the clothes were better at the Golden Globes.) Roger Vivier once again won the night, but there was a pleasant amount of variation among the attendees.

One big trend that you almost couldn’t escape was actresses who matched their clutches exactly to the color of their dresses. It’s a bit bridesmaid-y for my personal taste, but I suppose that when you’re attending an event like the Oscars, you just want to get it as right as you can. In that spirit, we’ve collected below some ladies who did well with their handbag choices last night.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from covering the evenings bags that stars carried at the Golden Globes, Grammys and SAG Awards this season, it’s that relatively few celebs are willing to take a chance with an interesting clutch for a stroll down the red carpet. Perhaps their stylists just don’t think about it amidst all the dress drama, or maybe they’re afraid that anything that distracts from the dress is a unwanted opportunity to pull focus away from getting the star onto the Best Dressed List. Either way, the result leaves much to be desired.

We have some ideas (as we are wont to have) on how stars can do better in the future. Like, say, for this weekend’s 2013 Academy Awards. We’ve picked the 10 best, most interesting evening bags available on the Internet right now, and we’ll get back to you on Tuesday with news of whether or not any stars followed our (extremely sage) advice. In the meantime, scope out the clutches in the slideshow below.

By my estimation, the Grammy Awards awlays have the weirdest red carpet of all the major awards shows, and the 2013 Grammy Awards went on to uphold that tradition in spite of some odd dress code restrictions placed on attendees by the fun-haters at CBS. Plenty of people found ways to skirt those restrictions (ahem, J.Lo), but thankfully, none of the rules but any kind of limits on handbags.

For reasons I don’t entirely understand, though, a lot of celebs at Sunday night’s ceremony tossed their bags to their handlers before taking to the red carpet for photos. That’s a little bit lame, but it didn’t stop us from sifting through all of the paparazzi pics and picking out a few stars with some truly noteworthy evening bags to highlight. (Speaking of noteworthy – based on the pictures, it would seem that I am more famous than at least 30% of the people who attended the Grammys, which makes me wonder whether my invitation might have gotten lost in the mail.)

If you’re a bit of a magpie, listen up – we’ve got enough shine and glitter to keep you entertained for minutes on end, thanks to the retro-modern box clutchery of Edie Parker. Contrary to what the midcentury styling and name of the brand might indicate, the brand is named after designer Brett Heyman’s daughter, not Edie Sedgwick or Jack Kerouac’s wife. When you consider the brand’s aesthetic, though, the name makes sense – it sounds like it could be someone incredibly chic great aunt, who would be exactly the kind of woman to pass a timeless vintage clutch down to her grand niece.

Not blessed with a particularly chic relation from whom to receive such vintage finds? No worries, you can pick up one of these babies brand new on NeimanMarcus.com. You can skip straight to shopping, or if you’d rather, we’ve assembled a slideshow of highlights below. With vintage styling combined with modern finished, though, the entire collection is a highlight.

So here’s something interesting: At the Golden Globe Awards two weeks ago, our expert analysis (that would be me, squinting at paparazzi photos for several hours) found that Roger Vivier’s evening bags won the day as handbag of choice for the widest variety of starlets. At Sunday night’s 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards, on the other hand, Judith Leiber was by almost everyone’s side.

The cause for such a wide difference? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps it’s as simple as a desire by stylists to mix things up in a season when so many small, glittering bags are going to be carried. Maybe it’s within standard deviation and I just don’t know it. Whatever the reason, we’ve got a roundup of our favorite bag choices from the evening, including lots of Leiber and beyond.

With the ting accessories of the Golden Globes fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help spending a little bit of extra time in the evening bag sections of my favorite shopping websites last week. Here’s one thing I learned (and trust me, it’s groundbreaking): clutches cost a lot. It often seems as though the less they’ll hold, the more they cost, and still I want all of them. You heard me, every single one. Who can get enough tiny, shiny things?

If I were to attend an event that required a ball gown, I’d want to go super modern with my accessories; my personal style is just not particularly girlish, and modernity often acts as an effective balance to things that are pretty in a traditional or obvious way. My first impulse would be to go for a Charlotte Olympia Pandora Spider Clutch; brightly pigmented lucite with a spider on top is about as modern as an evening bag gets, but the simple, traditional shape means that it’s still formal enough to be worn to a seriously formal event.

Now don’t get my wrong, I love basically everything that Charlotte Olympia does, but the Pandora has always struck me as too expensive for what you get, even when you consider addition of the small insert that shields your belongings from prying eyes, if you so choose. With that in mind, I went looking for a less-expensive alternative – I knew that a less-expensive plastic box had to be out there somewhere. Sure enough, the CC Skye Bright Love Lucite Clutch provides a similarly sleek shape and poppy color for a little over a quarter of the price. The CC Skye option also offers a dual-color approach – one side is tinted orange, the other yellow, and it also comes in a pink-and-orange combination. For the difference in price, I’ll take it.

Charlotte Olympia Pandora Spider Box Clutch
$975 via Neiman Marcus

CC Skye Bright Love Lucite Clutch
$255 via ShopBop

When it comes to award shows, the gowns get all the televised glory. The bags that are carried with them are generally tiny, of course, and perhaps the public at large isn’t as obsessed with the details of a tiny evening bag as we are. That’s their choice, even if I don’t necessarily support or understand it. For everyone else (meaning all of you guys), I’ve done the brave work of identifying as many clutches that traveled the red carpet at Sunday night’s 2013 Golden Globes as humanly possible.

From the traditional glamour of Roger Vivier on cohost Tina Fey to the futuristic look of nearly naked Jennifer Lopez’s Jimmy Choo, the itty bitty bags were more interesting than perhaps you realized from your couch. Check out our slideshow for all of the requisite close-ups alongside the actresses’ full looks.

By now, we’re all well familiar with the Marchesa aesthetic – all girly details, all the time. The brand isn’t girly in a young, innocent way, though; instead, Marchesa goes for full-on luxury of the highest order, including all the rhinestones, Swarovski crystals and pale exotics leathers that you can possibly stand. If you ever wanted to be a princess when you were growing up, Marchesa is prepared to make your dreams come true.

That goes doubly for the brand’s handbags, which are little confectionary balls of glitz and sparkle. Neiman Marcus recently began selling the collection online, which means that now any time I’m feeling blue, I can pop in to get my sparkle fix and elevate my mood. Or, you know, I can plan my (totally imaginary, not-even-dating-anyone) wedding in my head. Either one. Check out the full collection in our slideshow below or skip straight to shopping via Neiman Marcus.

With Christmas fast approaching and the opportunity to shop for gifts drawing to a close, lots of online retailers are beginning to refocus themselves for New Year’s Eve preparations. Traditionally, year-end festivities are a time for glitzy dresses and disco-ball-inspired accessories, and if you’re looking to bedazzle yourself head-to-toe in bling, then mazel tov – this is exactly the occasion to indulge your inner magpie. If, like me, you consider glitter and rhinestones to be a part of your everyday life already and want to look a little different than the crowd on New Year’s Eve, we’ve got a few suggestions. (We’re just full of suggestions these days.)

Just like short, tight and sequined is a predictable NYE choice, so is small, boxy and silver or gold. To combat predictability, we’ve selected three clutches at three very different price points that still give you the glitzy evening look without screaming “New Year’s Eve.” Check ‘em out below and let us know what you plan on carrying for your year-end celebrations!

If there were ever a designer that I (and probably all of you) don’t associate with with mixture of pale pink feathers and bright, shiny rhinestones, it’s Alexander McQueen. Well, it’s also Rick Owens, but that’s neither here nor there; will you just look at the Alexander McQueen Knuckle Duster Ostrich Feather Clutch? It’s like something out of a six-year-old girl’s most fervent princess fantasies, and I can’t decide if that means I love it or hate it.

Since taking over for Lee McQueen after his untimely death, Sarah Burton has done a better job than perhaps anyone expected possible not only carrying on his legacy at the brand he started, but also nudging its evolution onto a lighter, maybe even more optimistic path without sacrificing the technical mastery and subversion that were McQueen signature. In light on that, I’m tempted not to take this clutch at face value, even though it’s screaming for us to do exactly that. (more…)

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