For most women, reaching for some bag every time they leave the house is part of their daily routine. But did you know that there are many different types of bags, each one suited for a specific use? It might sound like a lot, but don't worry - that's why we've found examples of the most popular types of bags and described them all right here in this article. You'll also find product suggestions for each one, so you don't have to waste any time building your wardrobe!
Bags are a great way to securely transport your belongings while traveling, hiking, or just moving through your everyday life. Plus, the perfect handbag can add the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. So, are you ready to find your ideal bag? Let's get started!
Types of Bags for Women
1. Barrel Bag
With an appearance that's similar to a duffel bag, just made from trendier materials, barrel bags are an excellent choice for when you'd like to carry lots of items in style. These sturdy bags are big enough to carry everything you need for a weekend getaway but sleek enough to look good with even the most professional outfit.
This leather barrel bag puts a classy spin on a practical favorite. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
For a sporty look, try this canvas mini barrel bag. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
A satchel is a flat, square, or rectangular bag that was traditionally used for carrying books. They have a long strap that is typically worn diagonally across the body, with the bag resting on the opposite side from the shoulder that carries the strap. Women's satchels also often have a second set of handles so the bag can be worn as a crossbody bag or carried as a handbag.
This satchel features both sets of handles for added versatility. Click here to view it on Amazon.
With a more traditional design, this satchel is flat, compact, and has one crossbody strap. Click here to view it on Amazon.
3. Backpack Purse
Backpack purses combine the classiness of a purse with the practical functionality of a backpack. Typically a little smaller than a classic backpack, backpack purses are the perfect way to carry your everyday essentials in style. You might even be able to fit a laptop or iPad, depending on the size of your bag! Most backpack purses can either be worn traditionally on the wearer's back or slung over one shoulder.
This classic leather backpack purse goes with almost any outfit. Click here to view it on Amazon.
For a somewhat different look, try a nylon backpack purse like this one by Kate Spade. Click here to view it on Amazon.
4. Envelope Clutch
An envelope clutch is a chic, stylish addition to any dressy outfit. Be aware that they're not very practical for everyday use - they usually have no strap and have to be carried in the hand. However, this makes them a perfect choice for crowded events, because you'll be able to rest assured that your belongings are safe and secure in the palm of your hand. Some clutches come with a strap to convert them into regular purses, but the straps are typically lightweight and not intended for everyday use.
This envelope clutch is shaped like an actual envelope! It also comes with a removable chain shoulder strap that allows you to carry it over your shoulder if you'd prefer. Click here to view it on Amazon.
5. Frame Bag
A frame bag is a bag that has a wire frame, usually along the top, to give it extra shape and stability. Frame bags are often used for travel, as the frame adds another layer of protection to your belongings.
This frame bag from Steve Madden features a wire frame along the top edge, which zips closed. Click here to view it on Amazon.
6. Bucket Bag
Bucket bags are cylinder-shaped bags, usually with a round bottom, that close at the top with drawstrings. Bucket bags can be made from leather for a subtle, classy look, or from colorful canvas for a boho style. They come in all sizes and make a great everyday purse.
Colorful patterns and fun tassels make this bucket bag the boho purse of your dreams. Click here to view it on Amazon.
For a more understated look, try this faux leather bucket bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
7. Duffel Bag
Perfect for travel, the gym, and so much more, duffel bags are a type of bag that originated in the military and eventually ended up in civilian life. Duffel bags are long, narrow tubes that zip closed at the top and have at least two handles. They're typically made from nylon or canvas for durability and easy cleaning.
This duffel bag by Puma features an extra shoulder strap, making it easy to carry on vacation, to the gym, or anywhere else. Click here to view it on Amazon.
For a fun, floral look, try this duffel bag. As a plus, the handles are long enough to sling over your shoulder. Click here to view this bag on Amazon.
Baguette bags are compact, rectangular purses designed by the brand Fendi in 1997 and popularized over the next ten years by the TV show Sex and the City. They've experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years and are the perfect bag for people who want something larger than a mini bag, but also don't want to carry a large backpack or tote. These bags typically have a single short shoulder strap intended to be looped over one shoulder, which keeps the bag securely under the wearer's arm.
Black faux crocodile skin makes this baguette an instant classic. Click here to view it on Amazon.
This suede baguette includes an additional longer strap that allows it to be converted into a crossbody bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
A folder bag, also known as a portfolio case, is shaped like a paper portfolio that could be found in an office but is made from leather or canvas. These bags are perfect for busy professionals and can be used tucked into a briefcase for additional organization or independently as a quick way to transport papers, cards, and other supplies.
This folder bag provides ample room to store essentials like pens, cards, a phone, and a notebook. Click here to view it on Amazon.
With pockets large enough to hold 8.5 x 11" sheets of paper, this folder bag is a classy way to keep all of your business accouterments at your fingertips. Click here to view it on Amazon.
A miniaudiere is a tiny bag that is generally considered as jewelry. They are meant to be used as a replacement for an evening bag and are usually made from very luxurious, expensive materials.
This tiny, bejeweled bag is decorated with butterflies, beautiful colors, and small gemstones. Click here to view it on Amazon.
11. Quilted Handbag
Picture the quilt that might be lying on your mom's or grandma's, or perhaps your own bed. Now imagine that same style of intricate stitching, but this time on an elegant leather bag! Quilted handbags feature stitching, or "quilting," usually in a grid, chevron, or striped pattern.
This clutch features quilting in a grid and would make a great, classy touch to any outfit. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Featuring a bright, cheerful color, the quilting on this bag is in a chevron pattern. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Hobo bags have a crescent shape and a slouchy, easygoing silhouette. The strap can be long or short, depending on the specific bag. These bags have a more casual look, and the roomy interior makes them great for a weekend spent exploring your city.
This hobo bag has two straps so you can wear it in multiple ways. Click here to view it on Amazon. You can also check out our article Top 10 Black Leather Hobo Bags for Women for even more ideas!
Saddlebag purses are designed to look like the small pouches attached to the saddle that horseback riders used for carrying essentials on long journeys. They have sleek lines, rounded shape, and are usually small and compact.
Perfect for an everyday purse, this saddlebag features reddish-brown leather and a long, comfortable shoulder strap. Click here to view it on Amazon.
14. Doctor Bag
Doctor bags are a professional-looking style of handbag made in the form of medical bags carried by doctors long ago. These days, they make a great and more spacious alternative to a briefcase or even a classy carryon bag for travel.
This roomy doctor bag features multiple interior pockets and a zippered compartment on the bottom. Click here to view it on Amazon.
One of the commonly used types of bags, tote bags are typically made from canvas, open at the top, and rectangular. They usually have one or two straps that fit over the shoulder and are often used for shopping and day trips.
Tote bags often feature fun images, like the stack of books on this bag by Kate Spade. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Although tote bags are typically made from canvas, some are made from real or faux leather for a more professional look. Click here to view this one on Amazon.
Based on the bags used by bike couriers that prioritize spacious interiors with a streamlined silhouette, messenger bags are a popular bag for day trips, transporting electronics, or simply everyday use. They're usually made from a sturdy material such as nylon, canvas, or leather, and have a long strap that can be worn across the body diagonally.
This messenger bag has a horizontal orientation and fun patterns on the flap. Click here to view it on Amazon.
This messenger bag has a vertical orientation and lots of pockets for easy organization. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Similar to a clutch, a wristlet is a small bag that's designed to be carried in your hand. The only difference is that a wristlet has a strap that - you guessed it! - fits around your wrist for added security. This type of bag is perfect for a night out when you don't want to haul around a large purse. Many wristlets have card and cash compartments inside, which means that they can pull double-duty as a wallet.
This envelope-style wristlet has just enough room inside for a few essentials like your phone, cards, and a lip balm. Click here to view it on Amazon.
With lots of compartments for all of your cards and cash, this wristlet doubles as a wallet. There's even plenty of room for your cell phone! Click here to view it on Amazon.
As the name suggests, flap bags are small purses that close with a flap. This style was popularized by Chanel's single or double flap bag that made it possible for women to carry a classy, hands-free bag to social functions.
This flap bag from Kate Spade has a decorative chain similar to the classic Chanel flap bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Inspired by the compact, dome-shaped leather bags used by enthusiasts to carry bowling balls and other accessories, bowler bags make a chic and spacious handbag.
This bowler bag has the classic domed silhouette that was the perfect shape for carrying a bowling ball. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Crossbody bags are one of the most popular bag styles available and with good reason. The single strap, worn diagonally across the torso, offers lots of security and also helps comfortably distribute weight. They're a great style of bag for work, leisure, and everything in between. Check out our article Where to Buy Crossbody Bags [Top 40 Online Stores] to shop for one right from the comfort of your home!
This crossbody bag makes an ideal everyday purse. Click here to view it on Amazon.
This handcrafted crossbody bag is large and spacious enough to be a great work bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
A valise is a small suitcase usually used for weekend trips or as an airplane carryon. This term can include satchels or duffels, as it merely refers to the use of the bag.
With its hard shell, this valise is a durable way to keep your belongings on any flight. Click here to view it on Amazon.
22. Fanny Pack or Belt Bag
The humble fanny pack, or belt bag, has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and with good reason! It's an easy, secure, hands-free way to carry a few essentials such as your wallet, phone, and keys, and you can now find them in subtle, classy designs.
For a sleek, subtle look, check out this fanny pack. Plus, it's waterproof! Click here to view it on Amazon.
This classic-looking fanny pack has hidden compartments that make it perfect for traveling. Click here to view it on Amazon.
"Bindle" is a slang term that refers to the bundle of clothes and bedding that hobos used to carry on the end of a stick. In modern terms, a bindle is a hobo-style bag with a knot at the top of the shoulder strap.
This bindle bag is decorated with rounded metal studs. Click here to view it on Amazon.
24. Coin Purse
A coin purse is a tiny pouch that usually closes at the top with a zipper, used for carrying coins, cash, and cards. Coin purses are typically tossed into a larger purse or bag to help with organization.
This pair of coin purses close securely with a squeezable metal bar at the top. Click here to view them on Amazon.
These canvas coin purses close at the top with a zipper. Click here to view them on Amazon.
25. Mini Bag
Mini bags have become popular in recent years, and make a big style statement. As the name suggests, these tiny purses offer just enough space for a credit card, keys, and a phone. They're usually crossbody style, making them easy to wear.
This mini bag is only 6.5" tall and 8.5" long. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Weekender bags were initially intended for men, but now they're widely used by women, too. These bags are shaped like a slightly more square-shaped duffel bag and are usually a little bit smaller. They typically have two sets of straps - one set of short handles, and one longer shoulder strap.
This striped weekender bag has a separate zippered compartment at the bottom for shoes. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Pouch bags are usually small and close with a drawstring or zipper. They're often used to sort and organize belongings in a larger bag or suitcase, but the types made from more luxurious materials can be used as stand-alone bags.
These pouches make packing or organizing any bag a cinch. Click here to view them on Amazon.
These Vera Bradley pouches can be used for organizing a bag, but they're also pretty enough to use on their own. Click here to view them on Amazon.
28. Box Clutch
A box clutch is a small purse for formal events that is rigid and shaped like a box. They usually close at the top with a clasp and have a long shoulder strap.
This imitation mother of pearl box clutch is made from acrylic. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Briefcases are usually made from leather and are flat and rectangular, perfect for carrying papers and a laptop. They're the bag of choice for many business people due to their convenience, security, and timeless appearance.
This briefcase has a sleek, classic look and beautiful lavender color. Click here to view it on Amazon.
30. Phone Pouch
Most phone pouches are small bags just big enough for a cell phone that have a strap intended to be worn crossbody or like a lanyard. These pouches are convenient for times when you need to carry your phone but don't have any pockets and also don't want to take a purse.
As an added convenience, this phone pouch allows you to access the screen without removing the phone from the bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
31. Round Bag
Round bags - small crossbody purses that are completely round - have become very popular in recent years. Many are made from natural materials like woven straw, but you can also find versions made from leather or canvas.
This is an excellent example of the stylishness of a wicker round bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Round bags aren't always made from wicker, however, like this one. Click here to view it on Amazon.
If you like the convenience of backpacks but don't enjoy the feeling of straps on both shoulders, a sling bag might be perfect for you. Sling bags are shaped like half a backpack and have one strap that holds the bag close to the body. They're great for hiking, traveling, and day trips.
This sling bag has lots of useful features like an anti-theft pocket, lots of compartments, and enough space to hold an iPad. Click here to view it on Amazon.
The trusty wallet has been around for years and is here to stay. This small pouch is just big enough to hold cards and cash, and small enough to toss into almost any bag. Some wallets have slots for cards, while others zip closed and are large enough to hold a checkbook or cell phone.
This roomy wallet has plenty of room for a phone and lots of cards. Click here to view it on Amazon.
For a minimalist look, try this small wallet that has compartments for cards and cash. Click here to view it on Amazon.
A shopper bag is similar to a tote - they're just a little bigger, boxier, and often include a zippered compartment for your wallet, phone, and keys. It's the perfect companion for a long day of shopping and a great way to avoid using disposable bags!
This leather shopper bag will always look chic. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Evening bags can come in many different styles, but they all have a few things in common. They're embellished with shiny metals or glittering gemstones, made from luxurious material such as leather, satin, or velvet, and usually a small clutch, crossbody, or wristlet.
With its delicate chain, shiny gold accents, and silky-soft faux leather, this is a perfect example of an evening bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
36. Shoulder Bag
A shoulder bag is, generally speaking, a bag with one shoulder strap and organized interior compartments. Bags that fall in this category include messenger bags, crossbody bags, and saddlebags.
This is a great example of a small shoulder bag. Click here to view it on Amazon.
A potli bag is a traditional Indian bag made from highly embellished velvet, silk, or satin. They typically close with a drawstring and have an ornate look that's perfect for fancy occasions.
This intricately embroidered potli bag makes a great addition to any formal outfit. Click here to view it on Amazon.