Types of Bags - The A to Z of Bags & Purses

08 Mar.,2023


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Learn all about the types of bags. We all love buying bags, sewing bags, and even looking at bags. The possibilities are endless! Essentially a bag is just somewhere to carry all your stuff, but the humble bag has been elevated to an art form and fashion statement of its own. Here is a list of all the most common types of bags. Enjoy!

Types of Bags

Types of Bags, Types of Handbags

Here is a list of the different types of bags or types of purses for women. Some bags and bag names do cross over and different designers may use different names.


Backpacks have two shoulder straps and are designed to be worn on the back giving you a hands-free option. They are commonly small to medium-sized and are designed to fit all the extras you may need for work or school. Extra-large backpacks are used by travelers, backpacking around the world. Also called rucksacks.

Barrel Bags (Gym Bags)

Barrel bags have circular or oval ends with cylindrical bodies. They have two shoulder straps and may additionally have a long strap. These bags are often larger and suitable for travel, sports, and the gym.

Basket Types of Bags

Basket bags are made from cane or rattan and usually have an open top and shoulder-length handles. Great for carrying towels to the beach, they are extremely popular in summer.

Belt Bags

Belt bags are similar to waist bags except they are designed to thread through or attach to a belt. The bag may be attached or detachable.

Box Bags

Many box bags are wooden or leather and of course have a boxy shape! This term can be used not only for bags made of boxes but modern bags that are rectangular prisms in shape.

Bucket Bags

Bucket bags have a round base forming a cylindrical shape. They often have very open tops and can have long or short straps. Because of their wide bottom, they fit a lot of contents inside without looking too large.


Clutches are small types of bags used for formal or evening occasions. They have no shoulder straps but may have a wrist strap. Types of clutches include envelope clutches, box clutches, wristlets, and bracelet bags.

Coin Purses

Coin Purses are small pouches to put coins inside. They may fit a credit card as well but not much else. They have no straps. Coin purses may have a metal frame or a top zipper closure.

Cross Body Bags

These types of bags have long straps to wear diagonally across the body. The crossbody bag generally sits at the hip but may be slightly higher or lower, depending on your height. They are considered comfortable hands free types of bags which are extremely popular.


Daypacks are smaller-sized backpacks designed for everyday use. Favored by students and workers needing to carry more than a small bag can carry, they are extremely popular. Daypacks can be made from fabric or leather.

Duffel Bags

Duffel bags are long, roomy bags with a zip closure top that are designed for travel and sport. They are easy to get into and hold a large number of contents.

Envelope Clutches/Bags

Envelope clutches have a flap that is triangular, much like the back of an envelope. They don't fit much due to their slim width but are useful for carrying a phone, money, and lipstick. Envelope clutches may also turn into a bag with the addition of a thin strap often made from metal chain.

Frame Bags and Clutches

These smaller bags have a metal frame at the top giving them structure and elegance. Most often used for evening wear, frame bags have chain straps that can be tucked inside when you want to use them as a clutch.

Grocery Bags

Grocery bags are large fabric or paper types of bags designed to hold food and your precious shopping. They typically have open tops and flat bottoms to fit a large number of items. Most grocery bags have 2 handles, but some designs have just one. There are no closures on grocery bags.

Hobo Bags

Hobo bags are made from soft types of leather. They are usually a crescent shape, slouchy, and lightweight with a wider strap.

Messenger Bags

The term messenger bag is sometimes used interchangeably with the cross-body bag or satchel bag. Messenger bags are typically larger satchel-type bags made from canvas or soft leather. They have long straps, and the bag often has a large flap on the front.

Saddle Handbag Styles

Saddle bags are inspired by horse saddle bags and are rounded satchels with a round flap and a long strap. They are popular types of women's bags.

Shoulder Bags

Most types of shoulder bags have one or two straps that allow the bag to fit under your arm. Unlike tote bags, they usually close with a zipper or magnetic closure and are likely to have compartments inside. This term is often a generic term used to describe any bag with a strap of a length that fits over your shoulder.

Tote Bag

Totes are large soft bags with an open top. They are mainly produced in fabrics but can also be soft leather. A tote bag has a simple rectangular construction and can have short or shoulder-length straps which are usually double.

Waist Bags and Bum Bags

Waist bags of course are worn around the waist. They typically clip around your waist and are designed for holding smaller items and for traveling. Perfect for when you need your hands free, waist bags are popular for men in particular. Also known as bum bags and fanny packs.


We all know wallets! Somewhere safe to put our cash and cards, it is a type of bag you will use every day. Most wallets have multiple compartments to separate items and speed your payment at checkout.

Wristlet Types of Purses

A wristlet is a small clutch bag with a strap attached through which you can thread your wrist. This makes it particularly handy when you go out but are worried about losing a small bag. It gives you something to grab on to.

Other Ways to Classify the Different Types of Bags and Handbag Styles

Types of Bags by Fabric

Bags can be also classified by the fabric they are constructed from. Popular types of bag materials include leather, vinyl, and woven fabric.

Types of Bags by Features

When purchasing most popular purse styles, the store may categorize them by strap length, closure, and even whether or not they have pockets.

Different Types of Bags FAQs

Here are some of your most common questions answered about the types of bags and types of handbags:

What are small bags called?

Small bags or purses are typically called mini bags. These mini or micro-labeled bags have a strap and are usually miniature versions of popular larger bags in a designer's collection. They typically fit just a phone, some cards, and lipstick. A clutch in comparison may be a similar size, but would not have a strap or handle.

What is a woman's bag called?

In the US a women's bag is called either a purse, handbag or simply a bag. You may also occasionally hear a bag referred to as a pocketbook, but this is a term more commonly used mid 19th century. A clutch bag is a smaller bag that doesn't have handles.

Types of bags - In Conclusion

So there you have many types of bags. A lot of these designs can cross over and look completely different decorated in different fabrics, leathers, trims, and hardware.

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