What Is a Minaudière Clutch? 13 Tiny Options You Need Now

It's time to skip the standard clutch.

Woman holding bag

Cult Gaia

Though it's been a while since we've needed to carry a party bag, it’s fair to assume just about everyone is ready for a splashy night on the town. And if you’re keen to mirror the spirit of The Roaring Twenties, skip the standard clutch and reach for an elegant minaudière, instead. According to The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Fashion, the minaudière is a small, rigid metal evening bag made in oval, oblong, or square shapes and used to hold cosmetics. 

It’s a decorative piece that’s often embellished with jewels and loads of sparkle. Its name is likely derived from the French verb minauder, which means to smirk. It gained popularity when sold by Cartier in New York and patented by Van Cleef & Arpels, a creation of the luxury jewelers since 1933. Van Cleef & Arpels, Charles Arpels drew inspiration for the design from socialite Florence Jay Gould who "carelessly [stowed] her worldly accessories in a simple metal box." Arpels created the perfect vanity case and intended it to hold everything from lipstick and a mirror to a cigarette holder and powder compact. 

What Is A Minaudière?

The minaudière is a small, rigid metal evening bag made in oval, oblong, or square shapes and used to hold cosmetics.

This iconic accessory has morphed over time, beautifully representing the period it lives within, from Art Deco to the 21st century. If your evening look could use a splash of dazzling elegance, consider one of the minaudières ahead.

The Minaudière
Van Cleef & Arples The Minaudière $5,438.00

Though priced like a collectible, this vintage minaudière from the OG is worth drooling over.

Couture Avocado Crystal-Embellished Gold-Tone Clutch
Judith Leiber Couture Avocado Crystal-Embellished Gold-Tone Clutch $4,295.00

Judith Leiber is another luxury designer who is famed for her collection of bejeweled minaudières, often in attention-grabbing silhouettes, like this decked-out avocado.

Pearl Acrylic and Gold-Tone Tote
Cult Gaia Pearl Acrylic and Gold-Tone Tote $415.00

A giant pearl is just the kind of bag your night-out look is in need of.

Crystal Clutch
Romantic Cielo Crystal Clutch $1,016.00

Reach for the stars—literally. This statement clutch is embellished with crystals and boasts a gold-colored brass handle.

Medea Clutch
Benedetta Bruzziches Medea Clutch $1,188.00

The elegant silhouette combined with a sparkling topper makes this option a timeless pick.

Sculptural Four-Ring Tie-Dye Silk-Satin Clutch
Alexander McQueen Sculptural Four-Ring Tie-Dye Silk-Satin Clutch $2,090.00

We love the tie-dye ombre effect on this evening piece from Alexander McQueen.

Egg Embellished Clutch
Simone Rocha Egg Embellished Clutch $815.00

You can always count on a bold accessory from this modern British house. This egg-shaped clutch is elegant and unique, making it the perfect bag for special occasions.

Sacha Gilt Minaudière $395.00

This is the kind of vintage accessory you’ll be asked about constantly. The brassy gold color and intricate details make it a must-have.

Gaia Minaudière
Yliana Ypez Gaia Minaudière $1,950.00

This metallic gold minaudière feels luxurious and refined. We’d wear this with a silk slip dress and strappy sandals.

Le Sireneuse Blue Shell Minaudiere
Emma Kuo Le Sireneuse Blue Shell Minaudiere $825.00

Seashells make every outfit better. This summer-ready bag comfortably holds all iPhone models and comes with a detachable chain.

Chartreuse Charleston Minaudière Clutch
New Orleans Museum of Art Chartreuse Charleston Minaudière Clutch $65.00

The perfect way to incorporate a pop of color.

Tropical Fish Swarovski Crystal Minaudiere
Kathrine Baumann Tropical Fish Swarovski Crystal Minaudiere $2,695.00

A dazzling fish makes for the perfect party companion if you ask us.

Italian Silver Medal Minaudière
Saks Fifth Avenue Italian Silver Medal Minaudière $295.00

Another gorgeous vintage option you’ll wear endlessly.

Article Sources
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  1. Tortora PG, Keiser SJ, Abling B. The Fairchild books dictionary of fashion. New York: Fairchild books; 2014.

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