Let’s Talk About Clutch Bag ( Part 1 )

Let’s Talk About Clutch Bag ( Part 1 )

What is Clutch Bag?

There’s no precise definition of a Clutch Bag, but it usually refers to a slim, flat handbag which is “clutched” in hand or held under the arm.

Clutch bag has been controversial, some may argue it being too small to be practical, but clutch lover will see the clutch bag as far more than a handbag but the perfect combination of handbag, accessory and jewelry, it holds the most important stuff (credit card, lipstick, phone), it can coordinate perfectly well with your clothes. In a formal social event, it is more than a fashion statement but also helps to ease the nervousness and awkwardness.


Oldest Clutch Bag in history – made in 1300 A.D.

the Oldest Clutch Bag in history | SUPPLY4BAG


The oldest clutch bag in the world is believed to be 700-year-old, currently owned by the Courtauld Gallery in London and it originates from the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq.

The clutch bag has a solid brass body and is richly inlaid with scenes of courtly life in gold and silver. A front flap is fastened with a catch, just like a contemporary ‘envelope clutch’.


Reticule – starting from early 1800s

Reticule Clutch Bag | SUPPLY4BAGPhotos from Historicalsewing.com and Museum of New Zealand


Before 19th. century, handbags were not popular in normal daily life, personal possessions were held in pocket bags that were fastened around the waist and underneath the petticoats (skirts) and accessed through slits in the side seams.

As the dresses slimmed down in early 1800s (UK Regency era), sewn–in pockets were no so common, women began carrying reticule, the forerunner of the modern clutch bag.

During the Victorian era (1837-1901), reticule became even popular as women were no longer confined to home. These reticule bags were used to carry a lady’s handkerchief, fan and smelling salt, they came in a variety of shapes and some are heavily decorated with beads and trimmed in lace and ribbon.

The need of reticule was also motivated by social interaction, A middle and upper-class lady would visit her friends in the afternoon leaving calling cards upon her arrival. A small reticule was good for carrying the cards and pens and a delicate handmade one could show off her handicraft talents as well.


Reticule Mrs Kesteven 1798-1799 | SUPPLY4BAG



  • Materials: Knitting yarn, Wool, Silk, Satin, Leather, Metal
  • Decoration: Beads, Lace, Tassel
  • Patterns: Roses, Daisies, Birds, etc.
  • Key Characteristic: Most of them were HANDMADE at home

 A Crochet Evening Bag from the Edwardian Era | SUPPLY4BAG

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