What exactly is raffia? What makes a hobo different from a tote? Discover the answers to these questions and more in our handbag glossary of common purse and handbag terms. Don’t see one you want the definition to? Contact us.
Backpack Handbag: A slightly larger handbag designed to be worn on the back like a backpack. Backpack Handbags can have one or two shoulder straps and can be carried by both or by just one like a sling bag.
Baguette: A handbag that is long and narrow in shape similar to a French bread loaf.
Barrel: A cylindrical bag that resembles a barrel.
Bucket Bag: Bag that is taller than it is wide with a rounded bottom. Named because they resemble a bucket shape.
Clutch: A small handbag, usually with no straps or handles, that is designed to be carried under the arm or by hand. Clutches are often used as evening bags.
Coin Purse: Sometimes called change purses. A coin purse is a small bag designed to hold coins and other small items.
Convertible Satchel: A satchel with double handles that can be carried by hand or worn over the shoulder.
Cosmetic Bag: A case or bag designed to hold makeup and other cosmetics and toiletries while traveling.
Cross-Body Bags: Typically smaller in size, these bags are meant to be worn across the body to allow you be hands-free while on the go.
Denier: A term referring to the size of the filament or yarm used in fabric. A higher denier means a thicker fabric.
Diaper Bags: Bags that often feature many pockets and compartments designed to carry everything one needs to take care of a baby. Some diaper bags have additional features such as matching changing pads.
Drawstring Handbag: A bag with a string or cord cinch closure.
East West (or E/W): A term to describe a bag that is wider than it is tall.
Eco-Friendly: Bags made with materials that benefit the environment in some way. Earth-friendly bags include those made from recycled products, repurposed products, sustainable materials, and organic materials.
Embossed: A term used to describe leather or faux-leather with a design imprinted on it. Often exotic skins like croco or snake are actually embossed leather or faux leather.
Envelope Clutch: A slim, envelope shaped clutch bag.
Evening Bags: A clutch, shoulder bag, wristlet, or other style handbag designed for use during special occasions and with more formal clothing. Evening bags are perfect for parties, weddings, date nights, or nights out on the town.
Fanny Pack (or waist pack): A bag worn on the waist designed to carry small items and daily essentials especially during travel, running sports, and hiking.
Flap Bag: A purse that features a folding flap closure.
Fabric Handbags: Handbags made from cloth fabric materials such as canvas, cotton, denim, linen, satin, silk, twill, and velvet.
Faux Leather: Faux leather refers to materials that look and feel like leather but are actually synthetic. Faux leather materials include vinyl and PVC.
Grommet: A ring inserted into a hole through the material. Small grommets are often called eyelets.
Hobos: Shoulder bags that typically feature a slouchy posture, scooped center, and long shoulder strap.
Jacquard: Fabric where a pattern is directly weaved in or knitted in. Jacquard fabric often has a raised pattern effect.
Junior Handbags: Handbags designed with youthful style often for kids, tweens, and teens.
Leather Handbag: A handbag made from any tanned animal skin. Most often refers to cowhide but can also refer to ostrich, goatskin, and lambskin.
Minaudiere: An evening bag or clutch with a hard case and often covered in beads or crystals.
Microfiber: A synthetic fiber that is woven to have the texture of natural fiber cloth.
Nappa Leather: Soft, full grain leather made from unsplit animal skin – often sheep or lamb.
North South (or N/S): A term to describe a bag that is taller than it is wide.
Organizer Bags: Handbags with compartments and pockets for organized storage of makeup, wallets, coin purses, appointment books, and other personal items.
Patent Leather: A glossy finished leather.
Purse Hook or Purse Hanger: A hook-shaped accessory that suspends your handbag from a table to keep it protected from dirty, damage, and theft.
Quilted Handbag: A handbag with material that features a topstitched pattern similar to a quilt.
Raffia: A natural, weavable fiber from palms.
Satchel: A purse that usually has a top closure, top carry handle, and a flat bottom. Satchels may have a triangular side profile.
Shopper: A rectangular bag perfect for shopping.
Shoulder Bag: Any bag that can be carried on the shoulder by a strap.
Sling Bag: Backpacks with one strap that are designed to be carried on one shoulder.
Straw Bags: Handbags made from straw and/or grass materials which can include seagrass, rattan, straw, corn husk, raffia, and willow.
Suede: Leather treated to produce a velvet-like finish.
Top Grain Leather: The top layer of leather (leather is split into multiple layers before it is used).
Tote: Large, double handled bag with an open top and open main compartment.
Vegan Handbags: Handbags made entirely from non-animal products.
Wristlet: A clutch or wallet carried on the wrist by a small attached loop.