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Prom Essentials: What’s in My Prom Clutch?

Close up of a navy blue beaded prom dress, matching earrings, coordinating heels, and a silver prom clutch.

Don’t Forget These Prom Purse Essentials!

When you’re planning what to bring to prom, it’s all about balance. There are plenty of things you may need throughout the evening, but limited space in your cute, tiny clutch. Avoid both a bulky bag and a moment of regret by checking off these nine prom purse essentials before the big night.

1. Touch-Up Makeup

Once you’ve gone full glam, it can be tempting to stuff every item of makeup you own into your prom clutch. Afterall, what if that perfect contour fades in a few hours? But remember, your clutch has limited space—you need to stick to the necessities. Pick two to three items max that will most likely require touch-ups throughout prom night.

Our top makeup must-have picks: Lip color and powder. Lip color is a prom purse essential for reapplying after dinner (or a kiss from your date). You might also consider packing concealer or powder. If you’re doing your own makeup, try to find travel size versions of your favorite products that will fit nicely into your clutch. If you’re having your makeup done by a pro, ask if he or she has some small samples you can snag.

2. Bobby Pins

If you’re getting an updo, chances are your head will be filled with them. A few spares in your prom clutch take up practically zero space and can be lifesavers for flyaways or post-dance floor frizz. You can bring your own or ask your hairstylist for a handful that match what’s being used in your hair.

3. Blotting Papers

On prom night, chances are good that you’re going to literally shine on the dance floor. Don’t let your worries about getting a little sweaty or oily stop you from letting loose and showing off your moves. Just pack a few blotting papers in your clutch. After a few sweaty spins with your date (or your girls), you can head to the restroom, blot up the excess oil, and still be picture-perfect for the next photo opp.

4. Floss Stick

Speaking of your prom photos, nothing can ruin a smile like a piece of your pre-prom dinner lingering between your teeth. (Hello, superzoom!) Avoid the issue altogether by packing a few floss sticks in your clutch. Like bobby pins, they won’t make your bag bulky but will be an item you’ll be grateful to have on hand.

5. Breath Mints

While we’re on the topic, don’t forget to keep your breath just as fresh as your smile by including breath mints on your prom packing list. Whether a slow dance or a smooch (or both!), you may be hoping to spend some time up close and personal with your date. Don’t ruin the moment with memories of what you had for dinner. Gum works too, but we recommend going with mints to avoid unglamourous smacking and chewing.

6. Bandages

Hopefully you’ve taken your prom shoes for a test drive before the big night. But even if they seem comfortable while you’re strutting around your bedroom, you may find some areas of friction once you’re wearing them (and dancing in them) for several hours. Throw a couple of bandages in your clutch for prom, just as a precaution against blisters. Even if your shoes end up carrying you perfectly through the evening, you may save the day for someone else.

7. Your Phone

It’s probably the largest item you’ll pack in your prom clutch, but it also serves the most functions. You’ll need your phone to capture the evening’s memories, be in the know about the latest pre- and post-prom plans with friends, request rides, keep parents posted, and more. Just try to not spend your entire prom night looking down at your phone and instead to take in every moment!

8. Charger or Battery Pack

Don’t be stranded without the ability to snap the perfect photo or leave your parents stressed when they try to check in and can’t reach you. Because you’ll probably have a charger in one of your other prom bags (like your overnight bag), you may want to coordinate this clutch item with friends. If at least one person in your group has a charger or battery pack on hand the whole night, you’re covered.

9. Tickets, ID, and Cash

Sometimes the most boring items are the biggest essentials for your prom purse. You don’t want to show up to prom only to be turned away because you forgot to bring the tickets or ID you need to get in. Don’t assume your date has the tickets either—be sure to double check with one another to see who is hanging on to what.

Even if you typically go cashless, you may want to stash a few dollars in your clutch. A good rule of thumb is to bring enough to cover your own meal during pre-prom dinner. You may never need the cash, but you’ll be glad you have it in a pinch. For more information on what to pack for prom, check out the tips found in the Prom Guide.

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