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What Are the Different Types of Purses?

Alex Tree
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are many different types of purses, including clutches, totes, and hobos. Satchels are also another type of purse, one that is usually larger than most other purses. In addition, some purses cannot be so narrowly defined but can fit in a broader category, such as crossbody and shoulder bags. All types of bags can be purchased in a designer label.

Clutches are small, rectangular purses that are usually designed to be held in the hand. Sometimes a clutch purse will have a chain handle that can be wrapped around the clutch to stow away. This kind of purse does not hold much and is often seen on celebrities at award and ceremony shows.

Totes are reasonably tall purses meant to be carried by hand rather than on the shoulder. This kind of purse often has a sleek exterior appearance with few outer pockets. Some totes are quite large and capable of carrying a laptop, miniature hairstyling tools, and identification. When first invented, tote bags rarely had inner pockets and did not have zipper closures. As carrying mobile phones and other small but expensive gadgets become popular, the tote bag evolved into a more secure and organized bag.

Hobo bags are defined by their crescent shape and slouchy appearance. Unlike clutches, hobos are usually large with sturdy handles. Sometimes hobo bags are designed to be worn on one shoulder rather than held. The bag gets its name from the stereotypical cartoon hobo who carries a bundle with a stick.

Satchels resemble a duffel bag. They are cylindrical in shape and may have a crossbody shoulder strap in addition to the standard handles. While size varies, satchels can be large enough to fit full-size hairstyling tools or multiple large laptops.

Some purses can only be described as having crossbody or shoulder straps. Their appearance is varied and does fit that of a typical handbag. In fact, some bags more closely resemble a backpack than a purse. Crossbody straps go across the body and between the breasts, while shoulder straps are hung from one shoulder.

When a prestigious fashion designer creates a product line, that line is considered designer and is usually sold for much more than the average product in similar lines. The same is true for purses, and all types of purses are available in designer labels. These bags can be very expensiv, and are often made from real leather, fur, or other natural but limited resources.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
By Niha — On May 17, 2021

I love different types of handbags, but my favorite one is a tote handbag. It helps me carry all my files, iPad, wallet, keys, a water bottle, umbrella, makeup bag and all my essentials. They also look good.

By SarahGen — On May 05, 2013

I personally mostly use a medium size purse with crossbody straps because I travel a lot for work. Many of the countries I visit have pick-pocketers and a purse that goes over the shoulder is the safest one to use. They can't pull on it or put their hand in the purse without me realizing. Large bags that require holding are the easiest target for pick-pocketers.

When I'm not traveling though, I will use any type of purse during the day and a cute clutch purse when I go out in the evening.

By fify — On May 05, 2013

@fBoyle-- There are some tote bags with compartments in them that might make your life easier. Or you might want to use a satchel or perhaps a stylish laptop bag because these allow for better organization.

Another option is purchasing a purse organizer. This way you can use whichever purse you want and just put the organizer inside.

By fBoyle — On May 04, 2013

I love tote bags because I have too many things to carry. But the problem is that it's difficult to find what I'm looking for. Just to find my phone or my keys, I end up digging in my bag for several minutes.

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and BeautyAnswered contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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