The clutch is closely associated with the the 1920s. Whether it was covered in black velvet or beaded in Art Deco patterns and designs, the clutch could be carried in the hand or tucked under one's arm, beautifully functional without sacrificing style. Indeed, the small clutch was a part of the overall flapper look of closely cropped hair beneath a tight-fitting cloth cloche, to say nothing of skirts and dresses whose hemlines were climbing toward the knee. At first most clutches snapped shut, but a strike of handbag framers in New York in 1923 opened the door for zippered clutches.

By World War II, clutches in kid leather or alligator had grown to almost handbag proportions, and by the 1960s, it was not unusual for women to carry clutches of shiny, brightly colored patent leather or vinyl.

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