No outfit is complete without a bag to match. Read about the many different types of bags below in our fashion dictionary. From men’s bags to women’s handbags, from luggage terms to sports bags, get to know all bag related words and terms in our glossary below.
Different Types of Bags
Backpack (N.) [bak-pak] Bags that are carried over the shoulders with the help of two thick straps are called backpacks. Traditionally, backpacks have been large-sized, especially used by students to carry books, or travelers and hikers to carry food, camera or water bottles. However, 2017 brought about the fashion trend of smaller backpacks, that were anywhere from the size of a laptop to palm-sized. Also rucksack.
Belt bag (N.) [belt bag] Micro bags attached to a belt are called belt bags. The difference between fanny packs and belt bags is that fanny packs have no visible demarcation between the belt strap and the bag, whereas belt bags are just a pouch attached to a belt. However, some brands use the two terms synonymously to describe these types of bags. Also called waist bag. Also see fanny pack.
Bicycle bag (N.) [bahy-si-kuh l bag] A bag, usually of washable material, that has loops or other hardware used to attach it to bicycle, used by cyclists is called a bicycle bag. Bicycle bags are of three types: handlebar bag, pannier bag and frame bag.
Bindle (N.) [bin-duh l] A fabric sack tied around the end of a stick, carried over the shoulder by a hobo in the American Northeastern hobo community is called a bindle. Bindles were also commonly used by the poorer sections of the north and west-India. In the modern context, bindle is the term used to describe a sack made by knotting opposite ends of a fabric, and are created by fashion brands to give a modern, wearable twist to the hobo subculture. Also see hobo bag.
Box clutch (N.) [boks kluhch] Hand-held evening bags in the shape of a box are known as box clutches. While box clutches may also be designed in a more casual way, used in the day time to complement casual outfits, traditionally, box clutches have been used as an evening accessory. Box clutches are sometimes without handles or straps. Also see clutch.
Bowling bag (N.) [boh-ling] Inspired by traditional bags used to carry bowling balls, bowling bags are semi circle in shape with short handles. Also see duffel bag.
Briefcase (N.) [breef-kays] A hard, rectangular box-like bag with a small handle is known as briefcase. Also see laptop bag. Men’s briefcases are almost always hard-cased and boxy. Some women’s briefcases may be of soft material like leather, and have rounder, softer edges.
Bucket bag (N.) [buhk-it bag] Elongated bags that have top handles, resembling a bucket, or drawstring on the top as a closure are called bucket bags. These types of bags may also have a zip or snap stud (tich) button closure on the inside, and often have an oval or round base. Also known as a drawstring bag, when the top closure is a drawstring.
Camera bag (N.) [kam-uh-rah bag] A square-ish, structured and padded bag used to keep a camera, often with separate compartments for safely storing lens, memory cards and batteries, is called a camera bag. These types of bags may be professional, used to carry digital SLR cameras by professional photographers, that are designed for specific camera sizes. Or they may be casual and decorative that resemble a regular handbag, used especially by women, to carry camera around while traveling or on photography trips. Also camera case.
Clutch (N.) [kluhch] Small, hand-held evening bags that have either detachable or no straps with minimalistic or concealed hardware are called clutch bags. Also see minaudière, evening bag.
Coin purse (N.) [koin purs] Small bags used to carry coins are called coin purses. They’re usually carried with other bags, or are included as a part of a handbag. Among all different types of bags, coin purses are the tiniest, although some brands use term ‘coin purse’ to describe wristlet. Also see clutch.
Cross body (N.) [kraws bod-ee] Bags that are worn with the strap looping over one shoulder and crossing your body diagonally are called cross body bags. These type of bags are worn both with long straps, which falls at the hip, and with short straps, which falls at the waist.
Doctor (N.) [dok-ter] Medium to large size handheld bag with short handles.
Drawstring bag (N.) [draw-string bag] See bucket bag.
Duffel (N.) [duhf–uh l] Also known as gym bags, duffel bags are long, cylindrical and have both handles and a long strap. Also see bowling bag.
Envelope bag (N.) [en-vuh-lohp bag, ahn-] A small and thin rectangular handheld bag, or clutch, with a triangular flap, resembling an envelope, is called an envelope bag. These types of bags are often used by women during parties to carry phone and cosmetics.
Evening bag (N.) [eev-ning bag] A small decorative handheld bag or clutch used by women during the evenings for parties or dinners is called an evening bag. Often embellished with sequins, pearls or other surface work, evening bags are usually used for special occasions or worn with formal dresses. An evening bag is an embellished clutch, but it an also be a minaudière (hard material clutch), Also see clutch, minaudière.
Fanny pack (N.) [fan-ee pak] A type of belt bag but with no definition between the belt and the bag is called a fanny pack. These type of bags are popular for their hands-free nature, since there is no strap to be held. That’s why fanny packs are often used by travelers or while trekking or hiking.
Flap bag (N.) [flap bag] A type of handbag that has a flap in the front to cover the zip closure is called a flap bag. The flap often has a snap stud (tich) button closure on its under-side. Flap bags are often types of sling bags, but may also be clutches or cross-body.
Frame bag (N.) [fray m bag] A type of triangular or rectangular bag that has loops along two edges, used to attach to the bicycle frame by cyclists to carry things while mountain biking or long-distance biking. These types of bags are made out of soft material like canvas or water-resistant fabric and washable. Also see pannier bag and handlebar bag.
Handlebar bag (N.) [han-duh l bar bag] A type of bicycle bag that has loops at the back to attach to a bicycle handle is called a handlebar bag. These types of bags are designed for motorbikes, and can also be bicycle bags. Also see pannier bag and frame bag.
Hobo bag (N.) [hoh-boh bag] Handbags made in soft, flexible material like leather that slouch or bend in the middle when set down are called hobo bags. These type of bags are named after the shape of bindle on a stick that hobos carry over their shoulder. Also see bindle.
Laptop bag (N.) [lap-top bag] Large bags with padding and used to carry laptops are called laptop bags. Laptop bags may also have other compartments to keep laptop accessories, books or other things, with a separate padded compartment just for the laptop.
Messenger (N.) [mes–uhn-jer] Usually used by men, messenger bags are medium-sized rectangular bags with a long and thick strap. These types of bags are cross-body and made out of soft material, like leather, often with a flap and buckle closure, sometimes used to carry books. Also known as satchel. Also see cross-body bag.
Micro bag (N.) [mahy-kroh] Smaller-than-palm-sized versions of regular handbags, usually with lots of hardware and details are called micro bags. The difference between micro bags and mini bags is that micro bags are smaller than the size of the palm or sometimes just fist-sized, whereas mini bags may be palm-sized or slightly larger. Also see mini bag.
Minaudière (N.) [mee-noh-dyair] A small evening bag, or clutch, made from hard material and used for carrying small articles, such as keys or lipstick, is known as a minaudière bag. Minaudières are also sometimes without any handles or straps. These types of bags are ornamental or decorative, and often considered a women’s jewelry piece. Most brands use the term minaudière synonymously with ‘clutch’, although some refer to them just as decorative clutches. Also see clutch, evening bag.
Mini bag (N.) [min-ee bag] Small versions of handbags are referred to as mini bags. They may be palm-sized or slightly larger. Some brands also use the term ‘micro bags’ to mean the same as mini bags, however, micro bags may be much smaller in size. Compared to a clutch, a mini bag has a proper handle and/or strap. Also see micro bag.
Pannier bag (N.) [pani-uh r bag] A pair of bicycle bags, set back-to-back, attached at the back, usually through a common flap, used to be attached on either side of a bike, used by cyclists is called a pannier bag. Also see handlebar bag, frame bag.
Phone pouch (N.) [fohn pouch] A tiny bag used to carry a smartphone is called a phone pouch. Phone pouches may be lightly padded, to protect the phone, and may also have a separate compartment for keeping credit card or keys. Some phone pouches are without a strap or handle, meant to be kept within a larger handbag. Some of these types of bags may have a large strap, meant to be worn cross-body or around the waist for easy phone-access.
Pouch (N.) [pou ch] A small bag made out of soft material like satin or leather, either with a zip closure or drawstring, used to store or carry small items like jewelry, coins, rosary or cosmetics is called a pouch. Brands commonly use the term ‘pouch’ synonymously with wristlets. Also see wristlet.
Rucksack (N.) [ruhk-sak] See backpack.
Round bag (N.) [round bag] Also known as circle bags, they’re sling bags or clutches in a circular shape.
Saddle bag (N.) [sad-uh l bag] A handbag with a flat top and a rounded bottom, with a front flap in the shape of a horse saddle is called a saddle bag.
Satchel (N.) [sach-uh l] See messenger bag.
Shopping bag (N.) [shop-ing bag] A large handbag with top handles used for shopping, sometimes without a closure, is called a shopping bag. Shopping bags are often made of paper, jute or plastic, and may be used by shops to hold purchased items to give to customers. Shopping bags are often reusable, which may be carried by shoppers for groceries, etc. for environment-friendliness. Some fashion brands also use the term ‘shopping bag’ to describe the type of bag that is large and may have strap or top handles, designed to be carried while shopping.
Side packs (N.) [sahyd paks] Two sling handbags connected at the middle of their straps to be worn side-by-side at the same time. The side packs were introduced in the Chanel Spring 2019 collection, and have been seen on fashion influencers since. However, it remains to be seen if they will become a popular fashion trend (we hope not).
Sling bag (N.) [sling] Small sized bags that have a long strap, to be worn hanging from one shoulder are known as sling bags. Also see cross-body bag.
Tote (N.) [toht] A large rectangular shaped bag, sometimes without any closure, is called tote bag. Tote bags may have a buckle and strap closure or zip in some cases. Due to their large size, they are often made in washable fabric, used for beach trips, to carry a change of clothes or beach sheet. Leather tote bags are also popular for office use by women to carry laptops or files.
Vanity case (N.) [vani-tee kay s] A small rectangular handheld bag, usually with a top handle, used to store women’s beauty items like makeup. Vanity cases are often hard-cased and leather bound, with small compartments inside to separate different makeup items, or pouches for makeup brushes. Sometimes these types of bags also have mirrors installed on the inside of the lid, which can be used for doing makeup.
Wallet (N.) [wol-it] A tiny fold-able bag used to carry money and cards is known as a wallet. Wallets don’t have straps or handles, but may have a loop for carrying it around the thumb or wrist. Wallets are typically carried within larger handbags. It is common for wallets to have tight compartments for storing different credit cards, and separate compartments to store currency notes or licenses. Also see wristlet.
Waist bag (N.) [way st bag] See belt bag.
Weekend bag (N.) [week-end bag] A large handbag with top handles and a thick strap, often made of durable material like leather or canvas, used for storing overnight clothing and toiletries for a weekend getaway is called a weekend bag. Also weekender bag.
Wristlet (N.) [rist-lit] Small bags that have a loop on one end, which is wrapped around the wrists, are called wristlets. Wristlets are different from wallets in that wallets are used just to carry money and credit cards, and so are very compact and structured, whereas wristlets may have a larger open compartment for keys, phone, and a small pouch for money/credit card. Also see wallet.