English Vocabulary: Different Types of Handbags

A handbag, also purse or pouch in North American English, is a handled medium-to-large bag that is often fashionably designed, often used by women, to hold personal


As a fashion accessory, handbags can be categorized according to the silhouette of the bag, as well as the type of handle:

  • Baguette: a small, narrow, rectangular shape purse, resembling a French loaf of bread (baguette)
  • Barrel: shaped like a barrel or closed tube, usually with shoulder-length straps
  • Bowling bag purse: a popular 1990s "retro" style for younger women, modelled after American bags used to carry bowling balls
  • Bucket bag: shaped like a bucket, medium-size or large, with shoulder straps and a drawstring closure
  • Clutch: a handbag without handles with detachable chain strap, rectangular in shape, often an evening bag but used during the day as well
  • Doctor's bag: modelled after a Victorian era doctor's bag for making housecalls
  • Drawstring: a purse that closes with a drawstring at the top, may have wrist- or shoulder-length straps, popular as an evening bag style
  • Half-moon: shaped as a half-moon
  • Hobo: medium-size crescent-shaped bag with a top zipper and often a slouch or dip in the centre; a modern, casual silhouette
  • Kiondo: a handwoven handbag made from sisal with leather trimmings. It is indigenous to Kenya
  • Lighted: a handbag with a lighting system which has been attempted since the 1950s without success until recently when in 2011 the first successful lighted handbag was brought to market.
  • Messenger bag: one long strap worn across the body, inspired by bags worn by urban messengers to deliver business mail, a modern silhouette
  • Muff: a winter bag made of real or faux fur, wool or velvet that has zippered compartments and a slip opening for hands
  • Pocketbook: small purse, rectangular shape
  • Pouch: small bag such as a pocket, teabag, money bag, sporran, etc.
  • ...

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English Vocabulary: Different Types of Handbags

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