Complete Guide to Popular Handbag Shapes

The luxury purse industry is awash with an impressive amount of handbag types; from backpack to bowler, cross-body to clutch, the possibilities truly are endless. A specific purse can define an entire outfit, taking it from work to play or from shopping to traveling the world, so it’s important to be sure you have pieces in your collection for each and every occasion.

The Backpack

Perfect for transporting college books from lecture to lecture, or a carry-on companion to take your essentials with you while traveling, the backpack is as versatile as you need it to be. With two straps that go over the shoulders, attached to a sack that will vary in size, a backpack suits those with a busy lifestyle. The Welden Explorer Backpack is made with quality Italian leather and features our signature hexagonal hand-woven design. Wear your backpack slung over one shoulder for a more casual appearance, or utilize both leather straps for a heavier load.

Backpack bag shape.

The Baguette

Long and relatively thin, the baguette style purse is usually made with soft leather and is ideal for an evening event. The name, evidently, is derived from French bread because of its particular shape from end to end.

The Bowler

Many handbag types have originally been inspired by something already in existence. The bowler is named so as the bag was first used to transport bowling balls. With two carry handles and a large interior, usually fastened with a zip, the purse can be carried on the forearm or in hand and could be used to carry workout gear with style.

The Bucket

A sack shaped in a more rounded fashion is connected to a long strap, making it the perfect purse to wear cross-body. The Gallivanter by Welden is a gorgeous bucket which will add a touch of slouchy sophistication to any outfit. A bucket purse is fastened with a drawstring, giving a paper bag effect when pulled in to close, and a deceivingly deep interior will make it the perfect everyday purse.

Bucket bag shape.

The Clutch

This purse is intended to be ‘clutched’ in the wearer’s hands; hence it’s rather clever title. Ideal for formal events, evening meals or quick coffee dates, a clutch is big enough to house all of your must-haves without being over-bearing. The perfect accompaniment to any sleek outfit, every woman needs a purse like this in their collection.

Clutch bag shape.

The Cross-body

Perhaps self-explanatory, the cross-body is to be worn across your torso with the functional long strap, which usually can be adjusted to suit the wearer. Of all the Italian leather handbags we have created, the Welden Wanderer is among the most popular. Crafted with fine Italian leather and a fully lined interior, the beloved cross-body usually features a multitude of pockets inside so you can store cash, cards or keys with ease.

Crossbody bag shape.

The Doctor

As was customary of doctors in the past (and still seen today), the doctor purse has been adapted and repurposed to become the style statement we all know and love today. A structured shape with a flat bottom is fastened with a clasp at the top center of the handbag, and two strong handles stand upright, so it can be worn over the forearm or carried in hand. This purse is perfect for the more androgynous dresser, but can also be used to toughen up a softer look.

The Duffle

Of all the types of bags available to you, the duffle is arguably the most practical. Typically quite large, this bag is ideal for long weekends away, as the interior is deep and spacious. If you’re looking for a chic duffle, which will stand the test of time, the Welden Summit is ideal. Duffle bags are usually available in a range of sizes and features with a multitude of inside pockets and, in some cases, an adjustable strap so it can be worn over the shoulder or across the body.

Duffel bag shape.

The Messenger

Usually worn across the body with an adjustable strap, the messenger is ideal for those who would rather not carry a backpack. The stereotypically rectangular shape makes this purse spacious enough to hold all of your belongings, including your tech essentials. A large flap closes the messenger bag, and some variants have a zipper fastening for extra security.

The Pouch

Typically handheld, the pouch is perfect for special events as there is usually just enough room for your essentials. This purse belongs to the more functional handbag types, as it is the perfect size to slip into your regular luggage, but can also double up as a smaller clutch. Typically, the pouch can have a short, long or no strap, so how you wear it depends on your preference. The Portico, made with soft cowhide leather, is a prime example of a sleek, unassuming pouch which can be used in conjunction with another purse or on it’s own.

Pouch bag shape.

The Saddle

This purse takes its name from the bags more commonly found hanging behind the saddles of horses, bicycles and motorcycles. The Welden Mini Summit is a typical example of a simplistic, luxury saddle purse. A rounded ‘U’ shape contrasts with the flatter top, adding gentle elegance to an otherwise structured silhouette. Usually embellished with tassels and studs, the saddle purse style quietly echoes its roots as a staple part of a biker or horse rider’s kit. A long strap allows the wearer flexibility in how it’s worn – either cross-body or over one shoulder.

Saddle bag shape.

The Satchel

Not to be confused with a messenger, the satchel is a much more sturdy and chic option, making it the perfect purse for work or school. Often luxuriously made from Italian leather, styles like the Welden Voyager Flap Satchel are crafted to last and last, even after daily use. The interior is usually quite narrow but can be used to transport books, paperwork or even a tablet with ease. Closed with a flap top, two buckles make a statement when the purse hangs off the shoulder.

Satchel bag shape.

The Tote

Otherwise known as a shopper or a carry-all, the tote is among the most well-loved types of handbags. The size of this style purse, usually large or medium, makes it versatile enough to be used for work, shopping or an overnight stay. With an open top, the interior is very spacious and will often have dedicated pockets for your cell and other valuable items. Much like the Welden Meridian Tote, a classic tote will have two carry handles and looks its best when worn over the shoulder.

Tote bag shape

The Trapeze

Fairly similar to the tote, a trapeze style handbag is again on the larger side. A spacious interior is home to a range of compartments and can be shut with a zipper or popper at the top. Typically, this purse will have two carry handles as well as an optional strap to allow you to slide it over your shoulder for a more relaxed effect. Two triangular shaped inserts on either side give the purse it’s name, for echoing that of a trapeze-like structure.

Trapeze bag shape.

The Minaudiere

If making a statement is your thing, a minaudiere purse is the only one for you. Often seen as a replacement for daring costume jewelry, this clutch is usually embellished with studs, tassels, gems and jewels, and it is there to pack a punch. Literally translated to ‘coquettish woman’, a minaudiere is small and will fit your essentials for a night out. Often, this purse will come with a chain strap, and can be worn over the shoulder, cross-body or carried in hand. Such a beautiful piece, a minaudiere should be the star of the show.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the some of the most popular handbag types in the world are included. While it isn’t vital that every woman owns a purse in each style, it is always worth investing in a few key styles. The silhouettes will never go out of style, and you’ll be wearing them for years to come. Do you have a particular purse you reach for every time? Let us know in the comments below.

Complete guide to handbag shapes