The wristlet: A marriage of usefulness and playfulness. It's a clutch -- with a leash.

"The wristlet is convenient," says designer Lauren Merkin. "You want to be able to enjoy your glass of wine and have hors d'oeuvres and not feel tied down to holding on to your bag or worried about putting it down."

For women constantly on the go-go-go, it can be a smart option. Wristlets are not one size fits all. They can fit way more than lipstick-cash-cell. And instead of standard leather hanging off your wrist, look for vinyl, straw and colorful leather. Think of it as a really smart bracelet.

-- Janelle Erlichman

Top row: Andrea Stuart clutch, $99 at Urban Chic, 1626 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Green pebble wristlet with cargo pocket, $38 at talbots.com. Middle row: Brass and turquoise straw clutch, $198 at Coach, 3259 M St. NW and coach.com. Jewels double-wristlet bag in magenta, $115 at Blush, 1089 Seven Locks Rd., Potomac. Bottom row: Orange Hobo International, $68 at Tabletop, 1608 20th St. NW. Lauren Merkin lizard embossed suede "Carmen" bag in rose, $208 at All About Jane, 24381/2 18th St. NW. Polished calf elongated compact clutch, $198 at Coach, 3259 M St. NW. Loop NYC butterfly coin clutch, $14 at fredflare.com.