Evolving Shapes for Purses and Handbags

Black box leather purseThere have been many changes with women’s purses and handbags over the years. New shapes and styles have given us many options to choose from. They all have their purpose for our individual needs, whether this is regarding size, additional outer pockets that are attached, along with having handles is the option to attach a longer adjustable strap and more. Sometimes the longer adjustable strap is already attached to the purse and is the only way to use it.

womens green satchel purseI mainly use the crossbody style for my small, medium and larger handbags which allow me to be hands free. This is great for walking, biking, shopping, knowing I will have a few bags to carry, and for security purposes. Your handbag is always right on you with this style. As you can see there are several different shapes available, including older styles among new ones.

Bag Shapes

Saddle: The saddle bag was originally for hanging over a horse saddle. It has a flap that goes over the bag to close it. It has a long crossbody strap, and the more current styles have a round handle that folds behind the purse when not used as seen on the blue one here. The strap is removable.

 Womens Blue Saddle bagTote: A tote bag is a larger handbag with double handles. The top is open and some styles may have compartments inside. The black tote in the image has a flap that goes over the top to close it.

womens black leather tote bagBucket: This bag is shaped like a bucket with an open top and shoulder strap. The beige bucket in the image has a round handle with a chain strap, which is more formal than leisure.

Womens Beige bucket purseBox: The box style is basically a square shape with a hard shell and the lid closes with a buckle. It has hinges or fabric that allows it to open this way. There is a short handle and other styles come with a detachable strap. Pictured is the green leather and suede box purse, and also a black one at the top of this article.

womens green suede and leather box purseSatchel: A satchel has a top closure, top carry handle with a flat bottom similar to a vintage school bag. The buckles snap closed or have the magnetic buttons. They can also have a removable strap. The red satchel  pictured has a zipper closure under the top flap. There is a green one also at the beginning of the article.

womens red satchel purseRetro Camera: This is style and resembles a camera. It has a flap over closure, and resembles the saddle bag but has the side flaps and the round piece in the front. There is a long strap, and the burgundy style in the picture has a chain as part of the strap.

womens burgundy retro style purseBesides the six shapes shown, other’s include the backpack, baguette, barrel, clutch, doctor, duffel, hobo, messenger, wristlet and many more. There will always be on going styles to add to your collection.

Click on Women’s Purses and Handbags for more information about them, to read and shop for men’s click on Men’s Bags and Accessories. The option to shop for both are to the right on my sidebar where I have several merchants listed.

Unless otherwise stated, the bags for this article I chose from various merchants for the specific style I needed to write this article.


  1. SJ


    Thanks for the detailed article Patsy.

    I couldn’t help but love it since the topic is something close to my heart – handbags 🙂

    I had never stopped to think about where the different shapes of handbag came from. I think there are a few styles that I have yet to add to my collection. Will be browsing through your site to find the ‘missing pieces’ of my collection 🙂

    1. Patsy


      Hello SJ,

      The styles and shapes have changed alot as you saw here, there are many of them. I only shared a few and described them pointing out the features. It’s not until we see information like this that we realize how many there are, and may add the ones we like to our collection.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

  2. Dana


    Hi Patsy,
    I love handbags and purses of any kind. I have always used the smaller crossover too when shopping or walking a lot because it tends to saver on neck pain and it is much more secure. I am also drawn to purses with lots of compartments and that have colorful linings. Thank you for the information for the weather protection spray. I have used different ones in the past but they have discolored my handbags so I will definitely try the Tana All Protector.

    1. Patsy


      Hi Dana, it’s great that you stopped by and shared your love for purses and handbags.

      You are correct about using smaller crossbody styles being easy on our necks. They drape over the shoulder distributing weight properly. I first started using them for the security, especially while being on vacation.

      You are welcome regarding the Tana All Protector information. I’m glad you came across it, the quality is the best. I have been using it for a very long time without any problems, it works so well.

      Thank you for the comment, I hope you stop by again soon!

  3. Shirley


    It’s almost too much information, so many styles to choose from! I’m a big fan of the cross body styles, but since injuring my back I find they make me a bit too lopsided. Backpack styles all the way for me these days, but I find some of them look too…well, backpack-ish, like I’m going to school. I’m definitely going to cruise around your site a bit and see what’s what, thanks for the info!

    1. Patsy


      Hi Shirley, you are right when it comes to so many choices, it is a lot of information to take in. I’m sorry to hear about your back and finding what is best for you is great. There are several different styles of backpacks besides the initial school style. There are the smaller purse size versions, a really nice handbag style that is a medium size version and more dressy briefcase styles. All of these come in every fabric you can imagine along with colors.

      In the near future, I will be posting information focusing on backpack styles alone. You will see the versions I have mentioned in it, with more detail.

      Thank you for taking a look around and for your comment.

  4. IllusiozTan


    Thanks Patsy for sharing about the handbag vocabulary. I would share this info to my gf who is the great enthusiast of the handbag. I agree with your view about matching the handbag with clothing as this is also shared to me by my gf.By carefully selecting the shape, texture and color of the handbag and match it with clothing, it will enhance the overall beauty of the ladies.

    1. Patsy


      Thank you for your comment and you are welcome. Handbags add a lot to what we are wearing as long as we are comfortable with it. I have a lot more information on my website about purses and handbags that your girlfriend may be interested in, and will be adding a post about embellished handbags tomorrow. I also have a men’s line I recently added which is a huge market now!

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