Bag Style Terminology

There are many different kinds of name for each bag such as Hobo bag, Tote bag, and more…
Due to many bags available out there Today fashionistas and designers usually categorize bags based on its shapes, styles, and kinds to assign a name associate with a particular bag’s attribute.
Sometime for a new player this can be overwhelming and hard to learn right away, so Designer Bag Catalog will try to help by providing this Bag Style Terminology Page. Please inform us if you know of anything that we might miss out.


A bag style that meant to be carry on the back.

Different name for backpack include rucksack, knapsack, packsack, pack, or Bergen (in its simplest form, a cloth sack) It is meant to be carried on one’s back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders. Example shown on the left is the monogram leather backpack bag from Louis Vuitton.


A bag style that is usually small to medium in size with long narrow shape like the shape of a French Loaf baguette. Other defines it as wide shallow bag or a purse that is relatively long from side to side and small from top to bottom. Example shown on the right is Fendi Baguette bag.

Bowler Bag (Bowling Bag)

A bag that shaped like a bowling ball bag, usually has a reinforced straps and sort of a half oval shape. Example shown above from left to right: Miu Miu Cutout Bowling Bag and Juicy Couture Luxe Medallion Bowler Handbag.

Box Bag

A bag style that is usually small to medium with hard sides or box like shape and appearance. Example shown above from left to right: oval glass patent embossed leather small box bag from Liberty of London, Special edition candy box bag by Kenzo, Fury boxy purple bag from Luella.


A narrow box-shaped bag or case used mainly for carrying papers and other documents and equipped with a handle. Briefcase style bag typically designed to be carried by hand but sometimes some designer create a shoulder strap feature for convenience. Example shown on the left is Louis Vuitton Briefcase Style named Laguito.

Bucket Bag

A typically soft-sided handbag that is shaped like a bucket with a round bottom base and is usually longer in its height and shorter in its width. Sometimes it has one single strap handle just like a bucket but other times it has two as in bucket tote bag combination style. Example shown above from left to right: Chanel Ligne Cambon Bucket Handbag followed by Louis Vuitton Petit Bucket Bag.

Change Purse

It is a small purse or it can be a section of a wallet to store small coins and changes. Example shown above from left to right: Louis Vuitton Multicolore Zippy Coin Purse with Litchi Color Inside Lining and bellow it showing Coach coin change purse and Coach coin purse keyfob (key chain accessories).

Clutch Bag

A small hand bag with no straps or handles and often has a clasp or snap closure on the top portion of the bag. Clutch bag usually is wear for an evening or party occasion and it is usually carried in the hand or tucked under the arm. Sometimes clutch bag has a long narrow shape. Example shown above from left to right: Kara Ross blue gemma phyton clutch, Judith Leiber pink cupcake purse clutch, and Devi Kroell Rose Pink Frame Ostrich Clutch.

Cosmetic case bag

A hard sided small piece of luggage resemble something like a box bag. Example shown above from left to right: Juicy Couture Plaid Cosmetic Bag and Juicy Couture Vanity Make-up Bag.

Demi Handbag

A small handbag with a single carrying handle at the top. The handle or strap can be worn over the shoulder but is not as long as the strap of a shoulder bag. Example shown above from left to right: Kate Spade Bexley Remi Pink Demi Handbag and Coach Poppy Flower Print Demi Handbag.

Doctor’s Bag

A docto’rs bag or sometimes called as gladstone bag is modeled after a physician’s bag. The bag usually have a rather triangular side profile with rather short and wide appearance. Usually the bag has short double handles or a single handle that meant to be carry in hands. The bag has a top closure and usually features easy access to contents and enable the user to put a lot of things in it. Doctor’s bag is also designed to utilize a good use of space. Example shown above from left to right: vintage mulberry gladstone or doctors bag, crafted from fabulous rich chestnut large print congo leather and Metallic Python Doctor Bag by Oscar de la Renta.

Drawstring Bag

A bag that closes at the top with a cord or string pulled through a series of eyelets. Shown above Burberry Drawstring Bag.

Duffle bag

A big or large bag made of soft material (fabric or leather) with a cylindrical shape and designed to carry a personal belongings for traveling purposes. Sometimes people refer to duffle bag as weekender bag. Shown above: Victoria’s Secret Chic Weekender (Duffle) Bag as promotional gift bag and Louis Vuitton Orange Leather Duffle Bag.

East-West Bag

A bag with a distinct longer width than height. The horizontal axis from east to west or vice-versa act as the focal point of the bag’s shape. Shown above Versace Kayla Ribbed East West Bag.

Fanny Pack (Hip / Waist Bag)

Sometime fanny pack is referred to as waist bag or hip bag, because it is basically a small bag or a small pack that is attached to a strap or belt that can be tight around the waist of the wearer. Shown above Bottega Veneta Utility Fanny Pack and Coach Penelope Signature Hip Bag.

Flap Bag (Fold Over Lap Bag)

A bag that has a prominent flap or fold over structure as the main feature of the bag. Bags listed above are from Prada Vitello Daino Flap Bag.jpg and Chanel Classic Caviar Flap Bag from Fall 2008

Garment Bag

Usually a bag designed to carry on a hanger garment such as suit or dress when traveling so it may stay in shape. Shown above LV Cup Garment Bag


Not used for fashion term, but it is a backpack like bag designed for soldiers.

Hobo Bag

A medium to large size shoulder bag with a shape that scoops down at the top towards the center of the bag. An easy way to pictured the bag is to imagine a half moon shaped bag or a crescent moon shaped on the top potion of the bag. A Hobo bag usually has a medium or long shoulder strap and a “slouchy” look. Shown above: Fendi Chef Hobo Bag and Balenciaga Arena Hobo Bag.

Kelly Bag

A bag style made popular by Grace Kelly. A hard sided handbag with triangular profile and has a hinged metal latch top and one carrying handle. The most fashionable, popular and among the best of Kelly bag is made by Hermes. Featured above Hermes Red Crocodile Kelly Bag front view and Hermes Black Crocodile Kelly Bag back view.

Messenger Bag

A large bag with long shoulder strap worn across the shoulder with large fold over or flap over at the front of the bag, but sometimes it is also made with a zipper top. This large bag is usually use by a messenger to carry mails, newspaper and other deliverable materials hence the name “messenger” stay. Featured above: Prada Metallic Gaufre Messenger Bag.

North-South Bag

A bag with a distinct longer height than width. The vertical axis from north to south or vice-versa act as the focal point of the bag’s shape. Shown above: Tory Burch North South Tory Tote Bag.

Pocket Book

A flat folding small case to carry money or personal paper and cards such as name cards. Shown above: LV Pocket Organizer Pocket Book.

Portfolio Bag

A briefcase-like bag typically with a hinged cover to carry a portfolio. Most of the time a portfolio bag will be a flexible case with some compartments inside to ease the use for carrying loose papers. Shown above: Kate Spade Portfolio Bag.


A small handbag with an oval shape. Pictured above Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Pouchette Bag.

Pull Tie Bag

(look at Drawstring Bag)
A bag with a pull drawstring on its top portion to close to open top.


A small bag for carrying money and other small necessities. Shown above collections of Purses from Saks Fifth Avenue Store.

Quilted Bag

Any bag made of soft leather or other material with batting underneath finished with top stitched pattern just as you would find in any quilts. Example shown above from left to right: Chanel Classic Quilted Flap Bag and March Jacobs Quilted Cecilia Bag.

Satchel Bag

A large or medium large sized hand bag which close at the top and has top carrying handle with a triangular (or trapezium) side profile. Shown to the left: Miu Miu Vitello Lux Satchel Bow Bag.

Shoulder Bag

Any style of bag that can be carry over a shoulder or looped over a shoulder.

Signature Bag

A bag that has become well known due to the signature logo and branding affixed to the bag. Typically a well known designer’s logo or brand insures a certain level of quality in the manufacturing and represents that designer’s status within the world of fashion. Pictured above is Radley Signature Bag. Radley is an English brand, famous for the little Scottie Dog that features on all the bag and their signature bag is a picture bag that’s out every season. Other obvious examples are famous brands such as Louis Vuitton with their classic LV monogramming, Gucci Lettering, Chanel CC clasp, etc.

Sling Bag

Usually a soft sided shoulder bag style that has a strap that attached to the top of the bad and the other end attached to the bottom of the bag. Shown above Balenciaga Leather Drawstring Slign Bag


A large bag used mainly for traveling. A suitcase usually have a rectangular shapes and sometimes has wheels at the bottom to ease user while traveling. Shown above Samsonite Green suitecase and Samsonite White Suitecase designed by Alexander McQueen.

Top Handle Bag

A bag with handle on top and designed to be carried comfortably in hand. Shown above: Furla Carmen Large Shopper Top Handles Bag and Bottega Veneta Woven Yellow Top Handle Handbag.

Tote Bag

A large bag with two handles and open top. Usually designed for beach, shopping and every day outings. Shown above: Kooba Leather Ryder Purple Eggplant Tote Bag and Badgley Mischka Agnes Gathered Leather Tote Bag.

Diaper Bag (Baby Bag)

A tote-like bag designed with many compartments to enable the user for carrying a lot of baby-related stuffs such as diapers, milk bottle, napkins, baby wipes, etc. Pictured above is Juicy Couture Velour Diaper Bag.


A medium hand bag which closes at its top and has two carrying handles with a triangular or oval side profile. It is usually refer to as a simple overnight suitcase. Shown above J-Crew Lugano Leather Valise and A striped valise bag with from


A small folding pocketbook with compartments to carry ID, cards and money.


A bag that is meant to be carried with a wrist strap. The bag itself is often a clutch style.