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How to choose the right handbag for your body type

Types of handbags

Handbags come in a variety of shapes, styles, fabrics and colors. They are designed, not only to hold your belongings, but also to make a fashion statement. When categorizing handbags, you should think of them in two different ways – the shape of the the bag and the way you carry it. First we will categorize bags by how you carry them.

Leather shoulder bag

Shoulder Bag

Shoulder bags come in many different shapes and sizes. They are fairly large and can normally hold your wallet, keys, cell phone, books, notepad, cosmetics and more. They are sometimes compartmentalized with different pockets both inside and out. These handbags are designed to be worn over the shoulder. Shoulder bags are very practical and perhaps the most common bag carried by women.


A clutch is a type of handbag that doesn’t have handles. It can be carried in your hand or tucked under your arm. Throughout the history of handbags, clutches have been relatively small and often reserved for evenings. Clutches can hold your keys, driver’s license, a lipstick and that’s about it. However in recent years, the “oversized” clutch has grown in popularity. These bags are designed the same as a regular clutch but they are much larger and can carry all your essentials.

Clutches can be soft-bodied, framed or even hard-cased. They come in variety of shapes and materials, including silk, patent leather and sequined fabrics. A clutch can be closed with a fold-over flap, top closure, zipper, push lock, drawstring or any number other types of closures.

Handheld bag

Obviously, these handbags are designed to be held by hand. They feature a small handle. They are not intended to be slung over the shoulder – these bags can only be handheld. They are normally smaller than a shoulder bag, but bigger than a clutch.


Colorful tote bag

Tote bag

These casual bags are often made from canvas. Tote bags are open at the top and usually have only one main compartment. Tote bags are very big. When over your shoulder, tote bags usually fall around elbow length. Tote bags are good for the beach, outdoor activities or shopping.

Messenger bag

Messenger bags are also often called crossbody bags because of how they are worn. These bags are great because you can’t loose them! Worn across the body, messenger bag come in a variety of styles and sizes. Crossbody bags are commonly worn by students and travelers.


Another bag that is popular among students is the backpack. These bags have two straps and are intended to be worn on your back. Backpacks are great for carrying school books, notepads and other somewhat heavy items. They are normally made of nylon, but they can also be canvas or leather. Backpacks are also great for traveling, hiking, camping and other activities.

The style of handbag you choose depends on what you need to carry, where you are going and your personal style preferences. Many women have an favorite that they carry almost daily, only switching to a smaller or larger bag for special occasions or circumstances. Other women own dozens of handbags and switch their bag on a regular basis, matching it to their outfit, destination and mood.

Now that you understand the handbag categories by how you carry them, we will break it down a little further. On the next page, we discusses some of the more common shapes of handbags.

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