Confused by Handbag Style Names?

If you find yourself a little confused by handbag style names you aren't the only one.  Handbags can often be referred to as more than one thing and both are correct.  For instance, a hobo with a long strap can also be a crossbody bag, while the same bag with a short strap could be called a shoulder bag.


Keep in mind that handbags can be classified by both the body style and the strap/handle style.

Here are some common body styles:

  • The tote: A bag with a large top opening that has straps or handles.
  • The hobo bag: This bag comes in multiple shapes but it is identified by it's non-structured, slouchy shape. 
  • The duffle or barrel bag: A bag, rounded on the ends, that often has a zipper opening on the top.
  • The clutch: A smaller bag that is carried in your hand or tucked under the arm, often worn with formal attire.
  • The satchel: A structured bag often with shorter handles which are carried in the hand or crook of the elbow.
  • The messenger or sling bag: A large or small bag generally worn across the body with a long strap, often times with a flap closure.
  • The bucket bag: Dually named, this bucket shaped bag has a large round opening that often times has a drawstring closure.
  • The saddle bag: Inspired by the bags found on a saddle, these bags tend to have a rounded bottom, flap close and long crossbody strap.

Here are some common handle/strap styles:

  • The wristlet: A smaller bag with a strap that can be affixed around the wrist or held in the hand.
  • The crossbody bag: A bag — often mini in size — that is meant to be worn across the body on a long strap or chain.
  • The shoulder bag: A bag with shorter straps that is worn on one shoulder and generally held against the body by the elbow.

Now you know how to ask or search for what you want!

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