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Types of handbags for women – All you need to know

Introduction to Handbags for Women

It’s a no brainer that not every handbag is meant for all women. Some handbags are more equal than others. Some are built for specific body types while others appeal more to particular dresses. Knowing the difference could keep the fashion police at bay.  Following the tips listed below can save you a lot of stress.

Types of handbags

Handbags are made in a wide range of shapes, color, styles, and designs. Manufacturers fall over themselves to deliver the best and most attractive in trend classics to women of style. They know the average lady is a savvy shopper so they do all it takes to appeal to their sensibilities.  Outside the primary function of holding your belongings, handbags are a fashion statement. Just as quality watches are to men so is a quality handbag to a lady.

We can categorize handbags in a variety of ways, firstly the way you carry them and secondly the shape of the bad.

Handbag Types according to how they are carried

Shoulder Bag

The most popular among them is the shoulder bad. They come in various styles, sizes, and shapes. They are quite large and are the go-to bag when you have lots of items to carry. A distinguishing feature is the compartments within that can house books, cell phones, notepads, cosmetics etc. As the name implies they are designed to be worn over the shoulder and are the most practical bags for women around.

Shoulder bag for women


Think of clutches as a shoulder bag without the handle. They are carried in the hand or tucked underneath your armpits. They mainly work well with evening attires and gowns were a regular shoulder bag is inappropriate. Over the years clutches have been designed to be small and compact leaving little room for just makeup accessories, credit cards, and other smaller items.

Clutch bags

However, there are rather oversized clutches flooding the market that provides more room for styling and compartments for larger items. There are clutches available in the market that are made from patent leather, silk, lambskin leather and a lot more. Closure designs could be a fold-over flap, zipper, magnetic push lock, drawstrings etc.  Some clutches come designed with special medallions that can be matched with evening wears and gowns.

Handheld bag

Handheld handbags are not clutches, they are made to be held and carried about by the hand. To ease carrying it about most come with a specialized handle. In terms of size they are smaller than shoulder bags but definitely bigger than most clutches.

Tote bag

Tote bags are better suited for shopping because of their large size and single compartment. Once carried over the shoulder tote bags usually fall around below the elbow. Very big indeed!! Normally made of canvas tote bags are open at the top and only have one compartment.

tote bags for women

Messenger bag

Messenger bags are also called crossbody bags because they are often worn across the body.  The compartment areas can be tilted to the back or at your front. They have found popularity with students, travelers, and tourists just because you can’t lose them easily.


Backpacks, after the shoulder bag the next most popular bags are backpacks. Common among students and travelers these are bags strictly worn at the back. If you have heavy items to carry like laptops, notebooks, and notepads what you need is a backpack. Nylon is the most popular material used for making backpacks although canvas and leather can be used. Going on hiking, mountaineering, traveling or camping, you will be incomplete without a backpack.

backpacks for women

Picking a handbag should be a premeditated action of the purpose you intend using the bag for, the occasion and personal preferences.  It is common place to find women with lots of handbags switching them as the occasion demands. Others have a favorite type in different colors. Whatever category you fall into, matching properly for a particular occasion should be the top priority.

Types of Handbag according to shapes


The hobo can either be for formal attires or casual attires. It has a crescent-shape, a soft body, and a stylishly designed zipper closure.


The satchel is made with a short handle simplifying the ease of carrying it about. You can carry it on over the shoulder or handheld. The bottom is flat and often has a buckled top or zipper.

Frame bag

Frame bags come with a frame design rather than the soft body most bags are made of. The added technicality means they can be shaped in different ways i.e satchels, totes and bowl bags.

Envelope bag

The envelope gets its name from the shape of an envelope. Simple yet classic, with an ease to use fold-over flap enclosure.


A wristlet is almost the feminine form of a man’s wallet. It’s very small and holds very little items. It has a strap that allows the wearer fasten it around the wrist. They are common for those who visit nightclubs and events where you aren’t comfortable putting your bag down.

Evening bags

Evening bags cannot be pinned down to a particular shape this is because as long as the bags are stylish and pretty they can be called evening bags. Most clutches, drawstring bags, small shoulder bags and even wristlet can be passed for an evening bag. Whatever the shape, they should be a little shining made with patent leather material and adorned with crystals, gemstones or medallions.

See also doctor bags, baguette, and duffle shaped bags.

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