How to Buy a Bag for a Formal Dance

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Your Guide to Buying a Bag for a Formal Dance

Shopping for an evening bag for a formal dance can be overwhelming. Use the following tips to help determine how to find the perfect evening bag for any formal event.

Types of Evening Bags

There are almost as many evening bags as there are regular purses. In general, the difference between an evening bag and a regular purse is that the evening bag is usually smaller and more formal in appearance. Common styles of evening bags are outlined below:


An evening handbag is usually has a rigid handle to hold in the hand or slip over the wrist, or a long chain strap to wear over the shoulder. Most evening handbags are square or rectangular in design, although some may have an oval shape.


A clutch is a bag that has no handle and is designed to be held in hand. Usually, the clutch is small enough to be gripped easily without being a burden to the holder. A clutch could have a single pocket, or be more of a wallet style that can be slipped into a larger purse for everyday use.

Envelope Clutches

An envelope clutch is shaped like an envelope with a fold-over closure at the top of the bag. In most cases, envelope clutches have no straps, but in some cases, the envelope clutch may have a detachable chain strap. Envelope clutches come in a wide range of rigid and soft materials to suit a variety of formal events.

Pillbox Clutches

The pillbox clutch is a hard, rigid clutch that is small and can be shaped as a square, rectangle, circle, oval, or a variety of novelty designs. The two halves of the shell hinge together in this style. Usually, the pillbox clutch comes with a long strap for carrying over the shoulder.

Beaded Bags

A beaded bag is a soft-structured bag covered in beading. This is a formal looking bag that can come in a square, round, oval, or rectangular shape. Often, beaded bags are combined with rigid handles or chain straps for easy carrying throughout an event.


A baguette bag is a small rectangular bag with rounded lines. The bag quite literally looks like a baguette loaf of bread. The bag is designed to be worn over the shoulder and tucked under the upper arm like a loaf of bread. A baguette handbag is a contemporary look for any formal occasion.


A wristlet can be any shape or design of formal handbag, but instead of a long strap or no strap, the purse has a small loop that goes over the wrist so the purse can be worn without being carried all night. This leaves the owner’s hands free to engage with other guests, dance, or eat food.


Formal events usually require only a few personal belongings, but in some cases, a larger purse may be necessary. For example, a mum with a baby attending a wedding would want an elegant bag large enough to hold her basic beauty supplies as well as a few nappies and other supplies for the baby. This would require a much larger bag than a single woman who just needs a bag big enough to hold lipstick and her ID card.


The season of the event will influence what type of bag is required. During cold weather, darker colours are typically worn and heavier designs can be carried, like tapestry, beads, or shiny metallics. In the warm months, it is usually preferred to bring lighter colours and materials, such as gauzy fabric, smaller bags, and bags with less metal.


Think about the dress or outfit that will be worn when picking the colour of the bag. Shoes and bags do not have to match, but the purse should complement the outfit. For example, choose a light-coloured bag to wear with a light-coloured dress, rather than a black bag. Complementing colours or elegant contrasting colours will pull the whole outfit together together.

Buying Evening Bags for Formal Dances on eBay

eBay offers a large collection of evening bags perfect for all formal events. To find a bag, visit the Fashion section of eBay and select vintage bag, a direct search in the search bar at the top of the page will yield hundreds of results.


With the right information, finding the perfect evening bag for a formal dance becomes easy. Knowing the type of bags and how to choose a style can be helpful in choosing a bag. Using these tips will help the shopper select the perfect bag.

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