Get to Know: Handbag Style Terminology

Authentic preowned designer top handle bags

With so many different styles of designer handbags available on the market, its important to know what type of bag you need just as much as what aesthetic you like! We've broken down all the details for you, to help you find your dream bag!



Single flat, or dual rolled top handles make these bags easy to grip onto and rest comfortably in your hand, or even at the crook of your elbow if enough space is available. One of the most iconic bags that would technically qualify as a top handle bag is none other than the timeless Hermes Birkin Bag, or the Hermes Kelly Bag (pictured above). To keep the handles in tip top shape, there are specially sized silk scarves, or “Twillys” as Hermes calls theirs, that wrap around the handles to act as a barrier between the handle and our hands. Originally designed as a top handle only, in 2011 Louis Vuitton released their quintessential Speedy to include a “bandouliere” option as well, though many continue to carry theirs by hand à la Audrey Hepburn circa 1960s. 

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A foolproof pick, the spacious capacity and durable adaptability of the tote bag makes it the perfect “everything” bag that we can always rely on. From Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull collection to Chanel’s assortment of Deauville totes, each designer has their own unique spin - or spins - on the tote bag and keep their models up-to-date as the needs of consumers change with time. Convenient first and foremost, organization is also a major factor when using a tote as it stores your everyday essentials and more. Though not all come with multiple interior compartments or accompanying mini pouches, specialty felt inserts can be purchased now as an added organizational tool and tote bag bonus. 

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Authentic Goyard crossbody

One of the most practical and favored styles for many bag lovers is the failsafe crossbody. The simplest carry-method and inevitable hands-free benefit are just two of the many reasons why this style bag can be found in a multitude of sizes, colors, fabrics, and price-points. They are still being reimagined by designers today with new details that only add to the effortlessness and convenience of the crossbody. A cult-classic, the Wallet On Chain, is a prime example of how ideal this silhouette can be while still anticipating the needs of users, day or night. There are also bigger or more relaxed crossbody styles that are equally as adored and popular depending on personal needs and preferences.    

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A winning combination of a top handle and crossbody or shoulder strap, with the satchel, you’re getting the best of both worlds. Some detachable, and some secured in place, the longer strap can vary in length, but is at the very least long enough to be worn on one's shoulder without issue, if not crossbody. Given the versatility and range of a satchel, what qualifies as such can depend on the designer or how a bag is titled. For example, the Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Odeon Tote PM, despite not having the term “satchel” in its name, can ultimately be deemed a satchel bag given the rolled handles and removable flat leather strap. On the flip side, Chloe is a designer that opted to include the word in the name for their Chloe Marcie Satchel models, so it goes without saying that the style is open to interpretation and, at times, quietly implied.

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With more of a utilitarian design, the messenger bag is a great option for work or school given its simple outline and built-in functionality. Similar to a crossbody, the messenger bag is easy to carry as it usually has a lengthy or adjustable and ideally flat strap that can lie comfortably on your person. Larger in scale than a classic crossbody, but equally as user-friendly, there’s typically more room for clunkier items like books or laptops - which is why so many students and professionals opt for the messenger bag in lieu of a backpack or briefcase. Consistently secure closures span from zippers to full flaps, always keeping your essentials stored away safely with simultaneous easy-access for your convenience.

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Authentic designer minaudiere


Mostly worn during evenings or formal events, the minaudiere is a playful, hard-cased, small bag offered in a plethora of silhouettes from Edie Parker’s pearlescent, rectangular, hand-held styles to Judith Leiber’s classic or novelty crystal embellished selection. They are among the most collected types of bags given the personal elements of the designs and ability to act as dazzling decor. Chanel lovers especially know the minaudiere as being constantly reinvented by the brand with each runway collection to reflect the central theme of the show; making them the perfect little keepsake for any collection. Decorative, yet functional, the minaudiere makes for a very special accessory that showcases individuality and a fun-loving sense of style - like Chanel’s iconic Perfume Bottle minaudiere

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Named in honour of the hand clutching carry-method for these bags, the clutch has evolved from being carried exclusively at parties or events into a casual, everyday-friendly vessel, largely because of Daniel Lee’s groundbreaking Pouch design at Bottega Veneta in 2019. “The Pouch” instantly became a transformative staple for celebrities, influencers, trend-setters, and everyone in between, with other luxury brands creating their own versions. Despite still being a hands-on bag, quite literally, the clutch is both functional and versatile enough to fulfill the needs and dress code for any errand or special occasion, day or night. 

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Form follows function with these bags as the drop lengths of their handles always fall within a shoulder-toting comfort length, living up to their title as Shoulder Bags. Ultimately, any bag can be worn on the shoulder, assuming there is enough room for the strap to comfortably rest there, but there are some bags that, despite the possibility of being special limited pieces or rare collaborative designs, are, at their core, natural shoulder bags. A great example of this is evident with the Celine Tri-Fold bag - instantly recognizable as a shoulder bag given the handle drop and seamless measurements. While it’s crucial that there is enough room to fit on one’s shoulder, as mentioned, it’s equally as important that the silhouette of the bag be able to rest comfortably under your arm without interfering with your natural stance and resting arm placement.

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Authentic Fendi Baguette


A top contender for the current 'It bag', the pochette is usually quite slim depth-wise, leaning towards more of an East-West silhouette lengthwise, making it a great choice for day or night with the ability to store all the essentials, like your phone, wallet, keys, and more. Presumably the most recognizable pochette is the classic Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoires, and its spruced up alternative the Louis Vuitton Multi Pochette Accessories, which is only increasing in demand with the growing pochette craze thanks to the Y2K trends and 90s nostalgia. Likewise, the Fendi Baguette is another prime example of a true pochette, originally made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City, and more recently updated and re-introduced by Fendi. 

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In contrast to the elevated styles and premium materials luxury designers use to make their hobo-style bags, the bag got its name because of the similarity between the bottom of hobo bags and the bags used by nomadic cartoon characters, which traditionally resemble a crescent that is tied at both ends hanging off a wooden stick. Ideally a relaxed silhouette with a slouchy, bohemian-inspired appearance, the hobo bag has been reimagined by designers into their own creations, like Chanel’s Gabrielle Hobo. Otherwise, the hobo works as a great addition to any day look, with a comfortable carry-method and profound spaciousness from the clever silhouette of the rounded base. 

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Authentic Chanel backpack

Tried and true, the backpack has expanded beyond its synonymousness with school settings and outdoor explorations, and is now catering to consumers across the board; including, but not limited to those in the high fashion community. Chanel continuously includes updated takes on backpack silhouettes season after season, as does Fendi, Prada, and Louis Vuitton - who are responsible for the beloved and viral Mini Palm Springs model. Unisex, uncomplicated, and understated, it’s hard to go wrong with a classic backpack or something more edgy, like Chanel’s spin from their Fall 2015 collection. 

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Quite literally, the bucket bag mirrors the same somewhat round shape and deep interior of many multi-purpose buckets used in everyday-life. Some can include a single top handle, while others come with a trusty shoulder or crossbody-style strap, if not both, adding to the ease and versatility of the bucket bag. Available in a variety of sizes and materials spanning all luxury design houses, this style-staple is equally effortlessly cool and undeniably timeless, like Bottega Veneta’s luxurious, yet simple, interpretation with their beloved classic Bucket Bag

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Arguably one of the most underrated silhouettes, saddle bags are somewhat of a crossbody subcategory in some aspects but, with the increase in popularity and demand, can now be categorized as their own exclusive handbag design. Taking a cue from Hermes and their affinity for Equestrian life, the rounded shape of these bags are inspired by the saddlebags fastened to a saddle while horseback riding. Naturally, coining any purse as a “Saddle Bag” will immediately prompt any bag lover to think of The Saddle bag designed by John Galliano in 1999; but the new, everyday-friendly Dior Bobby model is a prime example of the updated saddle bag style.

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Usually quite delicate and feminine in stature, these bags can feature a kiss-lock, clasp, or magnetized structural frame closure that greatly influences the overall silhouette of the bag. Though varying in size and shapes, frame bags are traditionally elegant, vintage-inspired styles, resembling 1960s women's fashion. There have been updated and reinvented contemporary designs from a slew of designers over the years, like the refined vintage Chanel Quilted Frame Evening Bag, and the minimalist Celine Mini Clasp Bag.

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Aptly named, these bags are typically attached to, or include loops for an accompanying belt or similar type of strap - be it chain, leather, nylon - that can be wrapped around your waist and/or hips. Innovative ways to style the belt bag have been introduced as societal style evolves, like securing the bag tightly across your chest in a crossbody fashion. Great for on-the-go and inherently handsfree, this style sounds sporty at first, but can be quite posh as well, like Chanel’s Marine Quilted Aged Calfskin Reissue Belt Bag.

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Still unsure what's the right designer handbag for you? Browse all of our guaranteed authentic bags, and find your favorites. If you have questions, shoot us an email anytime, or check in via live chat Monday - Friday, 10am-4pm.