Types of Handbags and Purses for Women

picture of types of handbags and purses

Handbags are an essential item for women. At a basic level, they carry and safeguard all of our essential belongings, but it’s also important that they also reflect our sense of style as well.

The amount of items you’ll need to hold and the type of occasion will dictate what type of bag you’ll need. If it’s a bag that you’ll need to hold your laptop and other bulky items for work, then you may need a larger bag such as a satchel or shoulder bag with plenty of pockets.

If, on the other hand, you just need something to hold your phone, makeup and other smaller items to stay cute for the evening, then a small clutch may do the trick.

Many of the same types of bags are often labeled with various names so we’ll generally refer to the category of the handbag itself. Regardless, we’ll tell you all the essential bags you should have in order to complete your look and get through the day.

Small Bags – Clutch, Wristlet, Wallet

This is the small bag that you wear with that cute dress you’ve picked out for the night. It typically only holds essential items like lipstick, makeup and your smartphone so choose your items wisely.

prada clutch
Prada Clutch

It usually doesn’t have a strap (hence the name clutch), and is made to be small, elegant and classy. That said, there are many clutches that have skinny gold or silver chains straps to be worn across the shoulder so choose whichever style works for you.

woman with clutch bag

Medium Sized Bags – Satchel, Cross-Body, Shoulder Bag, Backpack Purses

This is the quintessential everyday workhorse bag. It is generally a larger bag that can hold all of your essential items for the day such as a laptop, books, papers etc…

Try to choose one that that has a number of pockets so that you can easily access smaller items. And it’s important that the material is sturdy and able to withstand life’s hiccups such as coffee spills, wall bumps, and the general haphazardness of daily living.

We prefer black leather, grey, or brown bags with an adjustable strap and/or handle. It should have a foldover top design and flat bottom with sturdy sides so that it can be placed on the ground upright if need be.

Again, this will probably be your work bag and the bag you wear the most so invest in one or two quality bags.

woman with satchel handbag

Backpack Purse

Debated whether or not to include the backpack purse because it may work as an everyday bag for some, but be far too small and/or expensive for others.

The backpack handbag is certainly trendy and increasingly designed by high end brands. You may have seen your favorite celebrities rocking Louis Vuitton or Gucci backpacks.

kanye west with designer backpack

Meant to be more of a casual workday bag and typically cant hold larger items such as bulky clothes and laptops, but it can certainly hold the essentials for a day out on the weekend.

Large Bags – Hobo Bag

This is a fairly large bag that is made to carry a lot of items. You can choose either a simple one color/pattern bag or a sportier one with plenty of color according to your style preference.

These typically aren’t designer bags so you shouldn’t spend a ton of money on them as they are intended for everyday use.

They go by many names and slight variants: hobo bag and shoulder style bag. The hobo variety usually has a handle with a large drop, is crescent-shaped, and is not as wide as a satchel or messenger bag.

woman carrying hobo handbag

Hobo bags are typically made of soft material and is paired nicely with casual wear that dominates many of today’s office and street styles.

Very Large Bags – Beach Bags, Totes, Straw Baskets

Hitting the beach? Then you’re already familiar with this type of handbag – the tote bag. Often referred to as a tote, beach bag, carryall or straw basket as well, this is the largest bag of them all and is designed to hold…everything: Other bags, a laptop or Kindle, snacks towels, clothes, makeup etc…

tote bag

Every woman needs at least one or two of these types of bags for when we need ample capacity. I recommend getting at least one casual bag for the weekend and one that is a bit more professional.

woman with striped tote bag

Designer HandBags

This one probably doesn’t need an explainer and women run the gamut from carrying nothing but designer bags made by Chanel, Hermes, Louis and Gucci to only bringing a designer bag with them for special occasions.

picture of designer handbags

Designer bags are certainly luxury items and you should definitely get the basic aforementioned handbags first before you splurge. For some women, that could take a few months, while others may spend years building up their collection. Do what’s right for you.

I’ve been building up my collection of handbags over 10 years and many of the quality bags I’ve invested in have stood the test of time and held on to their value as well. In my humble opinion, every woman should have at least one designer bag.

You can read about our designer handbags and decide which bag is right for you to invest in to complete your look and/or make a fashion statement, but be sure that your everyday handbag needs are met first.

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