Style Obsessions: Evening Bags

collecting evening bags

We all have some strange, irrational obsessions, don’t we?

Having great personal style does not require an enormous walk-in closet full of fabulous clothes and accessories. In other words, a small wardrobe that I can see at a glance is all I need: if I can mix and match everything, what more could I possibly want?

Well, fabulous accessories, of course. But do I really need a different bag for every outfit, or each day of the week? Or would I be better off with accessories that go with anything? I think you know me well enough to say that buying less but buying better quality and wearing it forever will always be my answer to that question.

However, I have to admit that I don’t always take my own advice. And, I have some dark (style) secrets that go against everything I believe in. Yes, my dear reader, I don’t always practice what I preach…

I’m a (closeted) hoarder…

I have a secret obsession: I love, and collect, evening bags. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame: the smaller the bag and the more intricate the design, the more difficult it is to convince myself to just walk away.

I know it doesn’t make sense. For starters, I have absolutely no use for an evening bag. Ever. And can you think of a more impractical piece? Most evening bags are barely big enough to hold a credit card; forget trying to fit in your keys, a phone, or even a lipstick. And how are you supposed to carry this tiny, impractical item? If you’re lucky, it comes with a strap, but often you’re just supposed to carry it around in your hand.

evening bagRebecca Minkoff evening bagvintage evening bag

from the top: 1) L.K. Bennett (old), 2) Rebecca Minkoff (old), 3) vintage satin evening bag

Of course, an evening bag can be very elaborate and decorative, like a piece of art. However, accessories are not art; they should be functional and serve a purpose. That’s my style philosophy: it makes no sense to spend money on something I never wear or use. And I certainly don’t have the closet space to store objects that never see the light of day.

Does this mean I’m willing to part with my (small) collection of evening bags? Hell, no! It just means that I shouldn’t be adding to it. Unless I plan to open a museum…


To steer my attention away from the really impractical (but oh-so-pretty) and useless tiny bags, every now and then I buy a clutch bag (with a detachable strap) with an interesting design. I think this is a good compromise: a clutch can be worn as an evening bag, but it should also hold the bare minimum of what a modern woman needs to carry with her (= a phone, keys, credit cards, some make up).

DvF bagMinna Parikka evening bagMinna Parikka iltalaukku

from the top (all old): 1) DvF, 2) Minna Parikka, 3) Minna Parikka

What about sustainability?

It makes no sense to buy things that just end up being stored away or, even worse, tossed on a whim. It also makes no sense to waste valuable raw materials on items that have no longevity.

Take leather, for example: an animal was killed to produce that handbag / jacket / skirt. And when you look at it that way, shouldn’t we treat the handbag / jacket / skirt  with a bit more respect?

Now, I’m not advocating giving up leather or anything like that (and I admit that I have not only several leather bags and garments but also leather chairs and a leather sofa in my home). I’m simply saying that when we buy that leather handbag / jacket / whatever, we should be ready to keep it forever and take good care of it.

And yes, I’m aware that there are alternatives to leather.

But Hell will freeze over before I wear anything made from ‘fake leather’ (or ‘faux leather’, ‘leatherette, ‘pleather’, or whatever you want to call it). Let’s make one thing clear: ‘fake leather’ is just another name for plastic. And there’s nothing sustainable or ecological about plastic.

Fortunately, there are also sustainable and ecological alternatives for people who want to avoid animal products altogether. For example, the orange bag below was made from cork. Cork is impermeable, flexible, and moisture-resistant. In other words, a good alternative to leather if you want to make bags or wallets.

cork evening bag

And there are also sustainable and ethical ways to source leather. For example, cutting waste from furniture industry can be used to make bags. Or, leather can be sourced from hunters: the burgundy bag below was made from elk leather (which is a by-product of elk population control hunting in Finland).

Lovia Kainuu

from the top: 1) Artipel, 2) Lovia Collection


What is your style obsession?

Linking up with:

Elegantly Dressed and StylishHigh Latitude StyleA Labour of LifeCurly Crafty Mom, Doused in Pink,  Not Dressed As LambLiving on Cloud NineElegance and Mommyhood, Nancy’s Fashion StyleShelbee on the EdgeA Pocketful of Polka Dots Style SplashAway from the BlueMummabstylish , The Grey BrunetteMutton Years Style and I, Confessions of a Montreal Styling DivaIndependent Fashion Bloggers


    14 March 2021 / 10:36 pm

    I also collect evening bags BUT I’m retired and I wear them during the day. I’ve always dressed-up more then others. This is just my style! Now in my mid-fifties I refuse to fight it! I enjoy sparkly accessories during the daytime. It’s just so me! Not EVERY day but often! Enjoy yours!!!

    • Tiina L
      18 March 2021 / 12:38 pm

      Oh, that sounds lovely! Being retired in your mid-fifties , I mean (I’m turning green from envy here, being the same age). And yes, you’re right, beautiful accessories deserve to be worn, and should not be ‘saved’ for special occasions.

  2. Flora
    15 March 2021 / 4:21 pm

    What a beautiful collection of bags and useful too.

    • Tiina L
      18 March 2021 / 12:39 pm

      Thank you Flora! I think I should use these bags more, though. I tend to always go for the same old favourites.

  3. mummabstylish
    18 March 2021 / 5:55 pm

    You have got some gorgeous bags, I love that they are all a bit different. Thanks for sharing on the #LINKUP Jacqui x

    • Tiina L
      22 March 2021 / 11:46 am

      Thanks, Jacqui!

  4. q
    20 March 2021 / 9:30 am

    What a collections full of beautiful bags. I’ve always been too practical to use clutches, but that does not stop me admiring them. I think Minna Parikka is my favourite in your collections. And I first thought the LK Bennett was a vintage bag. It sure has the 1920s attire. Have a nice weekend Tiina. -q

    • Tiina L
      22 March 2021 / 11:41 am

      Thank you! Yes, the problem with clutches is that they are not very practical. Fortunately, most of these also have a shoulder strap, which makes them a bit more versatile.

  5. 21 March 2021 / 4:31 pm

    I have quite a few little evening bags that I miss using! My favourite styles are simple leather clutches with a little strap for a handle. Your are absolutely gorgeous!
    Suzy xx

    • Tiina L
      22 March 2021 / 11:42 am

      I miss using pretty accessories, too. And wearing nice dresses. Summer can’t come soon enough…

  6. 21 March 2021 / 11:15 pm

    These are such cute clutch bags! I do like a cute mini bag but like you I find I don’t use it much unless it fits the essentials – if an evening bag can fit my (admittedly small) wallet, it has a place to stay in my wardrobe! I only have one bag that doesn’t meet that criteria, it’s a little clutch I wore on my wedding day. can’t get rid of it for sentimental reasons! Every other bag is used and practical for me, I just love rotating through them 🙂

    Thanks so much for joining the #WeekdayWearLinkup! Hope you had a good weekend! We had a birthday party at the park for the little one with all his friends, it was so much fun 🙂

    • Tiina L
      22 March 2021 / 11:45 am

      Yes, I think a bag, even a small one, should fit at least a wallet and a phone, otherwise it’s useless. But a small crossbody bag is a good option in summer, I think.

  7. shelbeeontheedge1
    22 March 2021 / 11:59 am

    Tiina, this was such a fun read and I really enjoyed seeing your collection of beautiful tiny bags! Impractical as they may be, sometimes we just have to indulge ourselves on impractical things simply because they make us happy. And clearly your tiny bags make you very happy! I would view them as home decor and put them on display somewhere…then they become more sustainable, right? Dual purpose! Thanks for sharing and linking this fabulous post!


    • Tiina L
      22 March 2021 / 12:33 pm

      Yes, it’s definitely good to indulge ourselves every now and then. As for home decor… We moved into a (slightly) bigger flat, but there’s still not enough storage space, and I struggle to find the space to display even the items that serve a practical function. I can only dream of having a dressing room (or even a dressing table) or a walk-in closet…

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