Once-tiny clutches are being upsized to hold gadgets

  • Article by: CRISTINA BOLLING , Charlotte Observer
  • Updated: February 6, 2013 - 5:44 PM

Gone are the days when you could fly out of the house toting a clutch just big enough to hold your credit card, driver’s license and maybe a flip phone or small set of keys.

Now, we’re weighed down with gadgets — smartphones, tablets, e-readers, MP3 players. Designers have taken note and are flooding the market with totes, clutches, sleeves and purses the right size to hold our favorite technology.

There is function involved. “We all have so many gadgets, and they’re so easy to break and so easy to lose,” says Lisa Marie Ferrell, owner and president of Polished, a personal shopping and wardrobe consulting business based in Raleigh, N.C.

But there is also serious fashion to be had.

You can buy Italian-made Lanvin iPad casees. Kate Spade offers tablet totes in her signature polka dots and patterns. And Aldo has a number of affordable sleeves, totes or clutches in a multitude of colors and styles.

Ferrell favors a stylish leather Goyard bag (prices start around $179) that’s big enough to stash all her tech gadgets while also offering harbor for her kids’ books and snacks.

In big cities like New York and Los Angeles, the oversized clutch is all the rage.

Tom Ford was one of the first to debut a tablet-sized clutch, and the style caught. Now fashion-forward women are toting them on the subway and bus.

“The new day clutch has taken over. It’s something everybody can pull off,” says Kyle Anderson, accessories director for Marie Claire fashion magazine. “Everybody’s purse has now become this.”

Anderson says the new clutches, which he describes as “not an evening clutch and not a handbag, sort of the size of a large book,” are done best when they are not overly trendy.

“Never sparkly,” he says. “It’s just something you can take out for a drink after work or carry to the office. It’s an alternative to the shoulder bag or the handbag.”

Pick the right bag

Catherine Horgan, a personal stylist, advises clients to consider how they’re going to use their technology before deciding which bag to buy and how much to spend.

“If you’re not working or are working part-time, go pretty. Buy what makes you happy, whether it’s the color, the pattern, whatever,” she says.

A frequent traveler or heavy business user, however, needs to go with something that not only looks appropriate for work, but is designed to hold up through airplane flights or a multitude of meetings.

“If you’re a client who travels all the time, it needs to be a thinner but durable case,” she says.

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