How to Pull off the Man Clutch

At first I was resistant to the idea. Like most extreme trends, the idea of a man clutch is initially silly. What’s the point? With all the messenger bags and body bags and portfolios available, do we really need another accessory? Absolutely. To paraphrase a line from Steel Magnolias (because that’s exactly how gay this blog is), the ability to accessorize is the only thing that separates us from the animals.

While in Boston, I decided to forge the trend, but first I needed to find a suitable clutch. Being that the idea is relatively new (and decidedly not-yet-popular) there weren’t very many man clutches available. There were smaller messenger bags, but they all had straps or handles. There were dop kits and toiletry bags, but they were too bulky. The only clutches out right now are the female clutches, so yes, the man clutch, for now, is simply a woman’s clutch carried by a man. I’m cool with that, and confident enough to pull it off, which is one of the secrets on how to utilize the accessory without looking completely ludicrous.

If you’re going to carry a man clutch, there are a few suggestions I would make so you come off as eclectic and quirky rather than straight-up drag queen – but if you’re thinking of doing it, you don’t really have much wiggle-room for differentiation on that front – I mean, you’re carrying a clutch for God’s sake.

First rule, nothing frilly. No bows, or ruffles or even pleats. No ruching or puckering or fringe. No excessive buckles or buttons or ornamentation. The goal is for streamlined and elegant. Simple lines, clean surfaces. Keep the material on the rugged side as well – leather or canvas – and keep colors muted, or at least coordinated with your outfit. Above all, no sequins or feathers. Again, you’re carrying a clutch. It’s enough.

In the photos seen here I chose a lemon-hued version in leather, to match the scarf seen in the background. While at first I thought it would be an exercise in whimsy, it turns out the idea is surprisingly utilitarian. This is not solely a matter of superficial fun over function – a man clutch can be quite useful in freeing up pocket space that might otherwise be over-bulked with wallets, cel-phones and keys, while not weighing one down with an unnecessarily-full-size messenger bag that has no place at a crowded restaurant table or theater seat. Far from an “extra” accessory, the man clutch can take away the bulky pocket syndrome, replacing it with something svelte and sleek. It also makes things a bit more convenient when everything is in one place, so you don’t have to play pocket-pool or ass-fish while searching for stuff.

Pulling off the man clutch takes a bit of confidence and panache, and a pair of balls as polished as brass. It’s not a move for the weak of heart, or those simply following a trend for trend’s sake. But when done correctly it can leave an unforgettable impression, and that’s my goal in life.

[Now we just need to find a suitable moniker for the object – “man clutch” is a bit too pedantic. “Murse” was snottily suggested by a FaceBook “friend”, but I’m more partial to “mutch” (which seems more suitable since a man clutch is, let’s own it, a bit much). I remain open to suggestions.]

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