The term tote translates “to carry,” and that’s exactly what tote bags do. Tote bags fall on the larger end of the handbag spectrum and are typically without any interior pockets or organization, have two long straps, and an open, zip, or button top. Designer tote bags can be made of leather or coated PVC, and are a perfect option for a long day or errands or a quick weekend getaway. Canvas tote bags are typically given out as a gift with purchase option or are used as a spending incentive at popular stores.
Slouchy crescent shaped bags with one or two straps, these bags are easy to carry around the crook of your arm. Made of buttery leather or other soft, flexible materials, hobo bags come in a variety of sizes, but are typically oversized.
Perfect if you’re just carrying the essentials, clutches can transfer from running daytime errands to dinner and drinks. Typically without a strap or chain, clutches come in various designs, from flat envelopes best held under the arm, to kitschy patterns and shapes. Because clutches are often flat, they can be easily carried under the arm or in your hand with just the bare necessities inside.
Exactly what you would think, crossbody bags are meant to be worn across your body. Crossbody bags make great day to night bags, because they offer hands-free functionality for errand running or a night on the town. The size of the bag can range from small to medium, but are generally similar to a clutch and are on the smaller side. Typically, crossbody bags have one strap, which may be adjusted, and could be made of leather, chain-links, or another durable material.
A spinoff of the crossbody, a satchel is defined by its structured shape, and is often fashioned with a strap and made of a durable material or leather. A traditional Oxford or Cambridge style satchel would be used as a school bag for children, usually a simple pouch with a front flap and one strap, or two straps, so it could be worn like a backpack. Satchels have become more mainstream, with some staying true to the school bag design, and others evolving into a more modern style and design.
Backpacks, also known as book bags or schoolbags, aren’t just for school children anymore. While still most commonly used by students and travelers, backpacks have evolved from their original purpose into a more stylish, but still functional bag. Larger styles of backpacks are available for carrying your laptop or camera, and smaller fashion varieties have become increasingly popular and are around the size of a clutch. The most common backpack design is made of one large carryall, secured with two shoulder straps. Depending on the style and designer, backpacks are can be outfitted with pockets, and compartments for easy on-the-go traveling.
Not to be confused with clutches, evening bags are also on the smaller side, but are strictly used for more formal evening occasions. Popularized during the height of the flapper era of the 1920s, evening bags are traditionally handheld, and have a more distinct silhouette, and are manufactured with higher quality materials. Typically, these come at a higher price point because of the luxe materials, including mother of pearl, crystals, and embroidery. Also known as miniaudière’s, evening bags can be all the accessorizing necessary to complete an outfit because of the intricate design and attention to detail.
Not to be confused with tote bags, shoulder bags can range from small to oversized, but have a long strap to be worn over the shoulder. Some will offer adjustability of the straps, and will vary in size and silhouette. Shoulder bags are versatile in design and material as well, and depending on the designer, may be fashioned with organizational features. Messenger bags are a spin-off of the shoulder bag, fashioned with one large pocket, a top flap and worn over the shoulder to rest on the low back.