What Is a Minaudiere Clutch?


Minaudieres are box clutches that are small enough to hold in one hand. They are dainty, lightweight, and are designed to hold just a few items such as lipstick, cash, and credit cards. Minaudieres are bigger than eyeglass cases, but are similar in shape and build. They are used in the same way as wristlets, but usually do not include a wrist strap; however, some have a small chain or wrist strap. This type of purse is typically used for formal wear, such as cocktail parties, weddings, or red carpet events.


The minaudiere first appeared in the 1930s and the creation is attributed to Charles Arpels of Van Cleef & Arpels after he witnessed Florence Gould, one of the wives of philanthropist of Frank Jay Gould, throw her essentials into a tin box. Since then, many designers have created their own variations. 

When searching for a minaudiere, the item may be called a “box clutch”, which is the more common term for this accessory. Common materials used are leather and suede. They often feature some kind of embellishments, such as rhinestones or decorative hardware. The biggest difference between a clutch and a minaudiere is that a clutch is typically less structured and more of an envelope shape, while a minaudiere has more of a box shape.


One of the most famous minaudiere bags you will find is by Judith Leiber, who designs luxurious, whimsical, and beautiful styles.

If you don’t have the budget for a Judith Leiber minaudiere, there are styles out there at all price points. In fact, you can even make your own style if you are looking to be more creative or can’t find the exact style you are looking for.

Minaudiere bags are typically reserved for evening use. However, don’t discount a bag of this nature to dress up a pair of jeans for a night out, to jazz up your little black dress for evening, and more. It’s a great bag to always have on hand for those nights you need a small, decorative, and formal handbag.

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