Handbag, also purse, pocketbook or pouch in American English, is a handled medium-to-large bag that is often fashionably designed, typically used by women all over the world, to hold personal items.
Types of handbags
Baguette: a small, narrow, rectangular shape purse, resembling a French loaf of bread (baguette)
Barrel: shaped like a barrel or closed tube, usually with shoulder-length straps
Bowling bag purse: a popular 1990s "retro" style for younger women, modelled after American bags used to carry bowling balls.
Bucket bag: shaped like a bucket, medium-size or large, with shoulder straps and a drawstring closure
Clutch: a handbag without handles, rectangular in shape, often an evening bag but used during the day as well.
Doctor's bag: modelled after a Victorian era doctor's bag for making housecalls.
Drawstring: a purse that closes with a drawstring at the top, may have wrist- or shoulder-length straps, popular as an evening bag style.
Half-moon: shaped as a half-moon.
Hobo: medium-size crescent-shaped bag with a top zipper and often a slouch or dip in the centre; a modern, casual silhouette.
Kiondo: a handwoven handbag made from sisal with leather trimmings. It is indigenous to Kenya.
Lighted: a handbag with a lighting system which has been attempted since the 1950s without success until recently when in 2011 the first successful lighted handbag was brought to market.
Messenger bag: one long strap worn across the body, inspired by bags worn by urban messengers to deliver business mail, a modern silhouette.
Minaudière: a small rectangular evening bag, usually hard-bodied, sometimes held inside a soft fabric bag that serves as a sleeve.
Muff: a winter bag made of real or faux fur, wool or velvet that has zippered compartments and a slip opening for hands.
Pocketbook: small purse, rectangular shape.
Pouch: small bag such as a pocket, teabag, money bag, sporran, etc.
Saddle purse: shaped like a horse saddle, may have equestrian motifs and hardware to emphasize the design.
Satchel: a soft-sided case usually of leather.
Tote: medium to large bag with two straps and an open top.
Trapezoid: shaped as a trapezoid, usually made of stiff material.
According to type of handle, handbags are often categorized as:
Tote: a medium to large bag with two straps and an open top.
Cross-body: one long strap that crosses over the body, with the bag resting at the front by the waist.
Sling bag: one long, wide strap that crosses over the body, with the bag resting on the back.
Shoulder bag: any bag with shoulder-length straps.
Handbags that are designed for specific utilitarian needs include:
Laptop purse: a medium to large bag that contains a padded interior compartment or sleeve for protecting a laptop computer.
Camera bag: for carrying photography equipment.
Gym bag: for carrying toiletry items and the clothing and/or shoes a person intends to use for their workout.
Cosmetic bag: a small bag for holding cosmetics, often made of synthetic waterproof protective material.
Duffle bag: a large cylindrical bag usually used for travel or sports gear, sometimes called a "weekend bag".
Security bag: protects the carrier from travel theft and includes an invisible stainless steel strap sewn into the fabric and a protectant on the main zipper.
A distinction can also be made between soft-body handbags or frame handbags, where a metal frame supports the textile or leather of the bag. Frame bags often use a kissing lock closure, with two interlocking metal beads set on the top of the frame. Kissing locks were popular on handbags during the early- to mid-20th century, and remain popular with vintage collectors and in "retro" designs. These locks are still seen on smaller change purses.