What is a Minaudiere?

box clutch, snake print, handbags, clutches, animal print accessories, purses
Pour La Victoire Minaudiere in Patent Snake. Bloomingdales.com

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 as formal wear, such as cocktail parties, weddings or red carpet events.

The minaudiere first appeared in the 1930's 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 are 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.