Infographic on the Different Types of Purses and Handbags


    Most women can’t go by a day without carrying a purse or handbag along. They are useful accessories for handling important items that are brought every day to work and school, when running errands, and when attending events. In addition to their usefulness, purses and handbags are also a wardrobe staple that adds style to our outfits. 

    Previously, the word “purse” only referred to small bags that were made to carry cash. However, today, it is mostly used interchangeably with “handbag,” which refers to larger bags used for carrying everyday items. Purses or handbags are available in different types, such as satchels, shoulder bags, belt bags, and more. If you want to learn more about them, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you an infographic on the different types of purses and handbags.

    Different Types of Purses and Handbags

    1. Shoulder Bag

    woman carrying a black shoulder bag

    A shoulder bag is a purse or handbag that has at least one strap attached to it, which is long enough to fit over the shoulder. The straps are usually reinforced securely on the bag. They are intended to be looped over the shoulder so that the bag is sustained on the shoulder and the user can carry it hands-free. 

    The straps are what differentiates a shoulder bag from other bags. The straps of a shoulder bag can be thin, wide, short, or long, and their intended purpose is very evident, which is to help the carrier carry the bag without using her hands. Though straps might exist on other types of purses, others are designed to be carried by hand, using the inner elbow, on the wrist, or through other methods. 

    2. Satchel

    a leather satchel bag

    A satchel is a type of handbag that is mostly associated with students because of its size and ability to be carried like a backpack. It is described as a bag with straps that can fit books inside. They are made of more durable materials, including leather. Its design differs from other bags. It has a box-like rectangular structure with a flat bottom. One of its sides is also longer than the other as the lengthier side extends over the bag, creating a flap that folds and acts as a cover.

    A satchel can have either a long strap to hang the bag on the shoulder or two short handles on top to be held like a briefcase. Most designs of satchels today have both straps, and the longer ones are usually removable. A satchel bag is worn diagonally across the body instead of carrying it like a tote or shoulder bag. 

    3. Sling Bag / Crossbody Bag

    woman wearing a mini crossbody bag

    A sling bag is a small bag that is mostly used for travel and everyday wear. They are as much a fashion statement as a functional accessory. This type of purse is a popular choice for people who are looking for a durable and fashionable bag. It also comes with many benefits for those who want a simple bag that they can use to carry their essential items. Most sling bags have one end of the strap attached to the top of the bag and the other end to the bottom of the bag. 

    The size of a sling bag depends on its design and purpose. However, they are mostly larger, allowing for more space for different items. Sling bags are also made using different materials, such as cotton, wool, and silk. Some of them feature exterior pockets, while some only feature an inside pocket. There is no specific design for sling bags beyond their angle. 

    4. Quilted Bag

    a red, leather quilted bag

    Quilted bags are among the most iconic handbags or purses out there. There are some chic branded ones that many women dream of buying, and one example is Chanel’s classic flap bag. Quilted bags are made by sewing and stuffing the cloth into diagonal designs. They come in various sizes and styles, too. It is the kind of handbag that brings an air of vintage sophistication to an everyday look. 

    Today, many designers have twisted traditional techniques to incorporate myriad patterns, such as stripes and grid-like effects. Some of the brands with the best-quilted bag options include Chanel, Prada, and Hermes. These bags can add to your style statement and amp up your overall look.

    5. Clutch

    person holding a clutch bag

    A clutch bag is also sometimes called a pouch or a pocketbook. It is a small, medium, or large size bag that is mostly designed and used by women to hold personal items during formal occasions. But it can also be used casually. It is a common evening bag when a woman does not need a larger bag for toting around various items. It is a small handbag that does not have any handles or straps.

    A clutch bag is traditionally rectangular, but there are also other shapes available today. This type of purse is made to be compact and holds important items like credit cards, keys, and small makeup items like lipsticks. It can also be accessorized in many ways, such as by being embellished with ribbons, bows, tassels, embroidery, and more. A clutch bag can also be made of leather, cloth, vinyl, and other materials. 

    6. Minaudiere

    a silver minaudiere decorated with pearls

    A minaudiere is considered a women’s fashion accessory or a jewelry piece. It is used as a substitute for an evening bag. It is a small, rigid metal evening bag that features compartments to store several items in a small space, such as lipstick, keys, a watch, or reading glasses. It is a perfect choice if you find clutch bags a bit boring for special events. 

    A minaudiere comes in various shapes, such as oval, oblong, or square. Most of the time, it is designed with jewels and lots of sparkles. This type of bag became popular when it was sold by Cartier in New York. The exterior of a minaudiere bag may also be detailed with stones and lacquer or mother of pearl. There are also textile designs available today, with cloth overlaying a frame. Some of them also have a chain or lanyard, allowing them to be placed over the wrist. 

    7. Hobo Bag

    a brown leather hobo bag

    A hobo bag is a crescent-shaped bag that is held at each end by a strap that may either be adjustable or not. It is mostly characterized by being a large bag that is made of flexible and soft materials, such as suede or leather. When a hobo bag is worn hanging from the shoulder, it tends to collapse and fold over itself. This makes it a quintessential accessory that will give a casual touch to your look. This bag is called hobo or tramp in English as it bears a resemblance to the shape of the homeless bags in the cartoons, where they have a crescent tied at both ends at the end of a stick.

    8. Wristlet

    a brown leather wristlet on a table with other accessories

    A wristlet is a small handbag that features wrist cuffs. It is styled similarly to clutch purses. Compared to a large wallet, wristlets are much bigger, and they come with a convenient band that can be worn on the wrist to keep the bag handy and secure. A lot of wristlets also have removable straps, giving you the option to use them with or without handles. 

    Wristlets have separate, zippered compartments that help organize your essential items. It has places where you can store your keys, cards, change, and other items, so they can be accessed easily. Its size is small, making it practical to carry anywhere. They also come in various styles, colors, and fabrics, making them great accessories to complement your outfit. 

    9. Beach Bag

    a beach bag along with beach essentials

    A beach bag is a large handbag that is sometimes made of canvas. It is used to carry beach essentials, including bathing suits, towels, sunglasses, sunscreen, clothes, and other items, to and from a beach. Good beach bags come in different shapes and sizes, and some even have fun designs. A good beach bag offers features such as insulation for keeping drinks or snacks cold, mesh material to shake off sand and dirt easily, and lots of pockets to hold and organize your belongings. 

    10. Wallet

    a pink, suede wallet

    A wallet is a flat case or pouch that is used to store and carry money, credit cards, identification cards, and other paper or laminated cards. They are mostly made of leather or fabrics and are pocket-sized and foldable. Many of them have characteristics like money clips, coin purses, chain fasteners, straps, or rein or a zipper. There are also specialized wallets that are made for holding passports and checkbooks. 

    11. Backpack Purse

    a blue leather backpack purse

    A backpack purse is a small bag that features two shoulder straps. It is smaller compared to a regular backpack, but it still heeds back to the traditional school bag, making it a younger and more casual look. It is a perfect bag that you can use for everyday wear. However, it can be too informal for business casual or semi-formal outfits. Using a backpack purse is the perfect answer to wearing a purse hands-free. They usually come in leather material, but other materials like plastic and cotton are also available. 

    12. Barrel Bag

    a leather barrel bag

    A barrel bag is a large type of handbag that usually features one thick shoulder strap. This type of bag is mostly made of such fabric compositions as a canvas. They are also usually used for travel or for carrying numerous items. Barrel bags are popularly worn with outfits for colder seasons or by people who love to travel. It is also sometimes referred to as a sports bag. 

    Compared to a duffel bag, a barrel bag is a bit more formal in looks, and it is mostly made of leather. However, it is not casual enough to be used as an everyday bag. It can be hand-carried using its two short straps or sometimes a shoulder strap for over-the-shoulder use. 

    13. Basket Bag

    two small basket bags

    A basket bag is a type of handbag made using thin pieces of wood or wicker that are woven together, forming an enclosed shape. It usually has a knob or latch that is used to open and close the top part of the bag. Most basket bags also have a short handle or two. This type of handbag is a fun and whimsical match to a dressy casual attire, such as a sundress or jumper. It is perfect to be used for daytime events, including brunch and picnics. 

    14. Belt Bag

    wearing a belt bag

    A belt bag is a type of hands-free purse that wraps around the waist and clicks with a buckle. It is more structured, more versatile, and a bit more formal compared to the hyper-casual fanny pack. Belt bags can serve as a fun, casual way to carry essential items when you are running errands during the day. At night, a belt bag can be worn around a dress or other dressy casual attire. However, avoid using this bag when wearing business casual attire as it can’t fit work items like laptops and documents. 

    15. Bucket Bag

    a pink bucket bag

    A bucket bag is called such as it resembles a bucket with its roughly cylindrical shape, deep interior, and sturdy sides. It has a wide brim that is closed by a convenient drawstring, making it easy to use. Most of the time, a bucket bag is used for casual, smart casual, or business casual outfits. 

    There is actually no wrong way when it comes to wearing or carrying a bucket bag. It is a versatile type of handbag that comes in different materials, designs, and prints. You can use it as a shoulder bag or a sling bag. It is a great choice for a weekend get-away as its functional size can fit everything you need. 

    16. Doctor’s Bag

    a leather doctor’s bag

    The modern doctor’s bag is named after a large bag that is rectangular in shape and carried by doctors back in the 19th and 20th centuries to carry medical supplies. It is a functional type of handbag that is mostly large and durable, featuring a flat bottom. It also serves similar purposes to barrel bags and duffel bags, providing abundant space for travel essentials or overnight stays. It is also more formal compared to a duffel bag. 

    17. Drawstring Bag

    a black drawstring bag

    A drawstring bag is also called a cinch-up backpack. It is a small and lightweight bag that features two adjustable strings. These strings are pulled when you want to close the bag, and the bag is pulled apart at the top when you want to open it and access the items stored inside. Drawstring bags are not big, making them ideal for day trips to the beach and amusement parks. Some of them even have front zippered pockets or mesh pockets for water bottles. 

    Drawstring bags are mostly used by sports teams and people who go to the gym. They are also usually used at theme parks, colleges, music festivals, campgrounds, and hiking trips. They are trendy and perfect if you are achieving a sporty look.

    18. Duffel Bag

    a brown canvas duffel bag on the floor

    A duffel bag can also be spelled as a duffle bag. It is a big, unconstructed bag that is perfect for travel or overnight stays. It usually features two top handles and one long strap so that you can carry it like a shoulder bag. Most of the time, a duffel bag is made of canvas, making it durable. It is mostly used by people who are traveling for pleasure instead of business or a fancy event. 

    A duffel bag is cylindrical in shape and is typically used to carry clean clothes, gym clothes, shoes, and personal items that are used after a workout at the gym. Most duffel bags can fit inside most gym lockers, making them a great handbag choice for people who love to work out. 

    19. Messenger Bag

    woman holding a blue messenger bag

    A messenger bag is a four-sided bag that usually has a flap that fastens over the top and a long shoulder strap. It is also sometimes referred to as a courier bag. It is a type of satchel that is originally used by messengers, such as bike couriers and mail carriers. Also, bags that were carried by utility linemen in the 1950s have further influence on today’s messenger bags. 

    Messenger bags are an easily accessible type of bag that is best for carrying everyday items to school or to the office. They feature a long, crossbody strap that allows the user to wear them against the lower back and pull around to the side or front to access its contents without the need to remove the bag. They are also usually associated with briefcases and are seen as a bit more formal compared to a backpack. But it can also be used casually. They also come in various materials, such as leather and waxed canvas. 

    20. Tote Bag

    woman with a canvas tote bag

    A tote bag is a mid-large size bag that features two parallel handles. They are usually unfastened at the top and bigger than most handbags. They are made from various fabrics and come in different colors, designs, and patterns. Most tote bags are made from lightweight materials like cotton and canvas or woven fabrics like jute. But some are also made from durable fabrics like leather. 

    Tote bags are very useful, and they combine practicality with style so effortlessly. Most of the time, tote bags are used to carry items when shopping. Since it has a bigger size, it is perfect for transporting essentials and for giving a comfortable and ecological alternative to plastic shopping bags. In addition to that, tote bags are also perfect to be used as work bags, as they look smart and are able to hold all of your daily essentials. 


    These are the different types of purses and handbags. They are indeed must-have items in every fashionista’s wardrobe. Aside from helping us carry our essential items, handbags and purses also add style to our outfits, whether for everyday use or for special occasions. They can contribute to our overall look and help us make our unique style statement. We hope this post helped you learn more about the types of purses and handbags. 


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