With new styles appearing every decade, it’s almost impossible to list every type of handbag available on the market today. However, that didn’t stop us from giving this topic a go! Read on to learn about our 15 favourite handbag styles and the fashions that inspired their creation.
The baguette bag is a staple of any fashion-lover’s wardrobe. It’s small, compact, and is named after its resemblance to a French loaf of bread! Perfect for keeping your everyday necessities in, it can be made from near enough any fabric but is usually styled in leather (or faux leather) with a short strap.
Fendi first designed the baguette bag in 1997, and since Carrie Bradshaw made it a core accessory to many of her looks in Sex and the City, it’s been seen tucked under the shoulder of countless celebs.
The original ‘It bag’ fan club includes the likes of Emma Roberts, Amanda Seyfried and Rihanna (who, along with Sarah Jessica Parker and three other modern style icons, designed her very own re-make of the classic silhouette in 2015).
If you’re looking for something a little more practical, the barrel bag is the perfect travel accessory for both men and women. Also known as a duffel bag, this “closed tube” style was originally designed for military use but remains popular to this day.
This spacious silhouette is generally made of soft fabrics such as canvas and is the ultimate in versatility: it’s available in a variety of sizes and you can carry it with handles or a shoulder strap depending on the occasion (or how heavy your luggage is!)
Another functional favourite, the bowling bag purse is an accessory which has been a part of the handbag fashion scene since the 1920s, where it was first created in response to the increased popularity of bowling as a sport among young people. The bowling bag saw a resurgence in the ‘50s, where players sported matching leather bags and outfits in their team colours, and since then has seen repeat popularity as a ‘retro accessory’ all the way from the ‘90s to modern iterations, such as this Prada bowling bag which has been updated for 2020 to celebrate 20 years since its initial release:
Just like baguette and barrel bags, the bucket bag looks just like its namesake – but a lot classier! These round bags are reasonably large and are absolutely perfect for holding taller and more bulky items such as bottles (in fact, that was what it was designed for.) All your essentials are tucked in safely in position with a drawstring closure and usually a reinforced bottom panel – slip it over your shoulder or choose a shorter strap – your choice!
We love bucket bags so much, we even made our very own:
This gorgeous number features a custom jacquard pattern and all the storage space you’ll ever need for a day out with the girls.
Two words: absolute classic. The clutch bag will take you from your brunch date in the morning all the way to the club. Found either with a thin, detachable metal strap, a loop to keep it safe, or usually no strap at all (it’s meant to be clutched, right?) there really is no limit to the fabric, style, pattern, or even shape of these handbags.
For a beautifully unique clutch that’s perfect for storing your essentials on a day-to-day basis, why not check out our exclusive range?
For as long as there have been doctors, there have been doctor’s bags. Also known as a Gladstone bag, these traditionally unisex leather handbags are highly durable and generally quite boxy, perfect for use while travelling. Whether you’re a doctor or just a commuter who needs easy access to all your everyday tools, this bag is perfect for you – with an assortment of pockets, compartments and zippers, the modern doctor’s bag is ideal for the organised fashionista.
There are two main types of drawstring bag: a smaller model for carrying on your wrist, highly reminiscent of the ‘indispensable’ or ‘reticule’ bag which we’ll discuss later in this list, or alternatively the modern ‘gym bag’ which is more akin to a backpack. The perfect treasure trove for safely securing all your possessions on a day out, or for your evening essentials, the drawstring bag is an inexpensive and lightweight choice that is only ever as big as its contents, so can be easily stored or tucked away when not in use.
Once again, the clue’s in the name! Often seen in smooth leather with an envelope-style clasp or popper, this understated yet stylish accessory is the perfect everyday purse and goes with pretty much everything. Fashion queen Victoria Beckham even has her very own range, in case you needed any more convincing:
The hobo bag is characterized by its crescent shape, and is usually made of a soft material which gives it its signature ‘slouch’ when set down. Although the bag’s style and name originate from an archaic and somewhat derogatory reference to the sack usually carried on a stick by travelling hobos in the 1800s, its increased popularity within fashion spheres has given the hobo bag an identity of its own. Check out this one that’s perfect for adding a splash of color to your outfit.
This highly durable bag is indigenous to Kenya, painstakingly handwoven from individual sisal threads with leather trimmings and straps.
These traditional bags are used throughout Africa for carrying shopping, storing goods and giving as gifts at weddings. In the western world, kiondo or similar woven bags are a perfect summertime accessory for taking to the beach (and of course, for shopping too!)
Originally designed in the mid-20th century for delivering mail (hence the name), messenger bags are generally made from a soft cloth-like material and have a long diagonal strap so they can easily be slung over your shoulder – perfect for cyclists! Due to its rectangular shape, the messenger bag is ideal for carrying documents and is often seen among students and commuters alike.
Technically a type of clutch bag, the minaudière is a small, hard-bodied handbag which is more suited to formal or evening occasions than the traditional clutch. They are usually decorated with intricate jewels or beading and are often shiny or sparkly – with one of these, you’ll be sure to turn heads wherever you go.
The minaudière has even been spotted in the hands of royalty. An example is this beautiful gold zodiac clutch bag by Naeem Khan that Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle wore to the Queen’s birthday in 2018:
The precursor to the modern drawstring bag, the reticule (or ‘indispensable’ in English) has been around since the 18th century and is usually a soft silk or velvet bag that can be worn on the wrist – find out more in our History of Handbags blog post.
The satchel bag is similar in a lot of ways to the messenger bag we mentioned earlier. However, whereas messenger bags are usually crafted from soft cloth or canvas, satchels are essentially a more relaxed briefcase and made of soft leather.
Fancy something a little more exciting than plain leather? We offer a variety of satchel bags for the sophisticated woman that feature carefully-embroidered designs, such as this classy Treasure handbag that’s the perfect statement piece:
Wear it like a satchel with the easily-adjustable strap, or carry it comfortably wherever you go with its durable leather handles.
Possibly the most diverse handbag around, the tote can be found everywhere from the supermarket as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags (did you know it was originally designed for carrying ice?) all the way to the catwalk, and under the arms of pretty much every celebrity around. With a flat surface and two handles for carrying either by your side or under the shoulder, the tote bag has endless customizability options and can be used to display your personal style.
If, like us, you’re keen to flash some exotic patterns while you’re getting your groceries, boy have we got the bag for you – just check out our embroidered range of totes. The best thing about totes is how roomy they are, and with extra pockets for safely storing your phone, cards and keys, all you’ll have to worry about is how you’re going to find enough things to fill it up!
Interesting articles read while researching this blog:
https://euce.com/know-your-bags-cambridge-satchel-vs-messenger-bags https://firstname.lastname@example.org/what-is-the-difference-between-a-hobo-tote-and-satchel-a8d9ca97b609 https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/t-magazine/fendi-baguette-rihanna-sarah-jessica-parker.html