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Different Types of Handbags

Handbags, initially simple pouches used to carry important items such as keys, money and other personal belongings, have developed into sophisticated fashion items which now come in many shapes and sizes. The materials that they are made out of include leather, fabric, suede and plastic, amongst others. They are used by men and women all over the world and can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several thousands of dollars for a high end designer handbag.

handbag styles

There are so many different types of handbags nowadays that it can be confusing to know which one you should use in any given moment. Whether you are going to the gym, for a stroll in the park or for a night out on the town, each handbag type has a practical use for each specific scenario.

This article will explore some of the most common handbag types that are available, describing their appearance and intended use.



The Satchel is a large sturdy handbag with a wide flat bottom, a main pocket covered by a flap, two small handles, a shoulder strap and zippers and/or clips for sealing pockets. This type of handbag is worn by both men and women, usually with the strap over one shoulder and the satchel resting on the opposite hip.


Intended use

Being one of the larger handbags, satchels are used for carrying large items such as books, files and laptop computers. They are predominantly used by people that are going to school or work.

Bucket Bag


Just as the name implies, the bucket bag has the shape of a bucket, usually with an open top or drawstring closure and two shoulder straps. This type of handbag is very roomy and used predominantly by women.

Intended use

Due to it’s roomy design and sturdy structure, bucket bags are used to carry various items that you would find in a regular purse such as make-up, money, cell phones and also larger items which can include shoes or even tupperware.



This is the smallest type of handbag around and is essentially a small, fancy looking, pouch. It is rectangular in shape with buckles or zippers to close it and usually does not have a strap attached to it, thus it is carried directly in the owner’s hand or inside their purse.


Intended use

A clutch is used by women to carry small belongings like cards, money, make-up and if there is any room left, a cell phone. Women usually use these when they are going out on the town wearing a dress and do not want to lug around something too bulky.

Tote Bag


Tote bags are quite large compared to your regular handbag, but not as large as the satchel. They have a rectangular or square shape with a large wide bottom, an open top and two shoulder straps.

Intended use

This type of handbag is also known as a ‘shopper’ because it is often used by women when they are shopping due to its large capacity to carry many items.



Probably the most utilized of all handbags, backpacks are large and usually rectangular in shape with two shoulder straps on the rear side of the bag. They usually have many pockets, most of which are secured with zippers. It is always worn on the back, hence the name backpack, and can either be worn with only one of the straps, or for more comfort, with both straps over the shoulders.


Intended use

Backpacks are designed to easily carry a heavy load of books, a laptop computer, clothing and many other items strapped over your shoulders and resting on your back. They are used for various occasions, mostly for going to school but also for taking a walk in the park, travelling and going to the gym.

Baguette Bag


A baguette bag is a small purse which is rectangular in shape, with a small strap for carrying, a long wide bottom and short depth, usually secured with a clip or zippers. This handbag resembles the shape of a french baguette, hence the name baguette bag.

Intended use

Due to it’s small size, baguette bags are not very utilitarian. They are used in a similar fashion as the clutch, to carry small items such as money, cards and lipstick, however, they are slightly easier to carry thanks to the convenient strap.

Athletic Bag


This type of bag has a soft and flexible structure, usually with a large compartment and various small pockets. Athletic bags have two small handles and a larger strap for carrying it over the shoulder.

Intended use

As it’s name suggests, this type of handbag is used for carrying athletic gear. It is usually used by athletes to carry their sporting equipment or their gear for going to the gym.

Hobo Bag


The hobo bag is a handbag which is quite roomy and usually has one main opening at the top with a shoulder strap for carrying. The main opening is often secured with a zipper and inside the bag there can be other smaller compartments.

hobo bag

Intended use

The hobo bag is an everyday handbag used by women to carry their personal belongings such as makeup, phones, wallets, keys and other accessories.


As you can see, there are many types of handbags to choose from, each of which has its own intended purpose. The list above is by no means a complete list but it is comprehensive enough to get an understanding of the options available. When choosing your next handbag, first think about what the main use of it will be and then choose one that compliments your style. After all, handbags are no longer just a utilitarian item, they have also become fashionable accessories.

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