The humble handbag. It’s the one thing that no outfit is complete without, whether for fashionable reasons, or just for the need to carry half of your house with you.
The handbag has been around for a long time, and this fashion accessory isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
But how exactly did our obsession start? Handbag styles vary so much for every type of occasion, yet originally, there was only one type available.
We’ve put together this ultimate guide on all things handbag, from its history, to the popular styles used today, to the modern movement towards a different type of fashion.
The first handbags as we know them were really just coin purses. These were worn by men and women for the sole purpose of carrying coins. As they became more popular, women in the 17th and 18th century began embroidering their own purses, and so they became a fashion item instead of just practical.
Eventually, due to the demand for something daintier, reticules came into fashion. These were small, wristlet style purses that were made of fine material such as velvet and silk.
What we now think of as a handbag is the brainchild of one man. Samuel Parkinson wanted a set of different bags for his wife to carry, made of the same leather as their suitcases. This set even included a clutch bag and a tote. This was the very first modern luxury handbag, but it took many years before they truly came into fashion.
Handbags today are massively versatile, and the sheer range of different styles out there can be confusing at times. What exactly are the different handbag styles, and what are the names of handbag styles? Look no further, we’ve got a run-down of the most popular handbag styles being used by women today. Do you have one of each in your collection?
In today’s world, we can work on the move. Computers aren’t just the staple of the office. When carrying your laptop around on the train or to meetings, it’s important that you have the right sort of laptop bag.
This is where the handbag satchel style comes in. Big enough to hold your laptop and some other essentials, it stops you needing two bags at once. As laptops have gotten smaller and lighter, our laptop bags have evolved to be fashionable as well as practical. Still sturdy, they are the bag that people will see you with the most, so it needs to be something work appropriate that people will admire.
The shoulder bag is the classic everyday bag that we all know and love. Endlessly functional, it’s just a little bit too easy to end up having way more of them than you actually need! This is because of the sheer variety of styles available, meaning that you can have a different bag for every occasion.
They are also big, meaning that they’ll fit everything you are likely to need in a day. Yes, we’ve all had that moment of tipping the contents of our shoulder bag onto the ground to find that one item, but we need all of those other things, really, we do.
The cross-body bag is the handbag that you grab for every day occasions. Whether it’s heading to the shops or for a cinema date, these are small, practical little bags that leave both of your hands free – great if you have kids!
They come in a vast range of styles from super chic to more down to earth. There is a cross-body bag made for every event you can imagine. Definitely an everyday essential.
The hobo bag is a cross between a formal bag, and a more casual look. It’s similar to a shoulder bag, but is generally not quite as wide, which means that it can be used in a larger variety of occasions.
At the same time, it is not as casual as a crossbody bag, so it’s an everyday bag that still oozes style. It’s a great choice of bag if you’re not quite sure what the day will bring, and a great addition to anyone’s growing collection!
The backpack is back! This handbag style looks good with any outfit and they are a really versatile type of bag. Generally quite compact, they are great if you are carrying a few heavier items and don’t want your arm to be weighed down.
They look cute whether you’re wearing a dress or jeans and are easy bags to grab and go.
Beach bags are waterproof for sea-ready fashion. After all, why would you want to get sand or seawater over any of your other bags?
Brilliant for holing a wet towel and some sunscreen, having a beach bag on standby is a must for when the one week of British summer arrives.
The tote could be arguably the most popular type of bag right now. Used for ‘toting’ items about, they are big, sturdy, and generally unfastened. Tote bags can be made of study fabric which is great for carrying groceries in, or of a thicker, stiffer material, which is perfect for, well, anything really.
So many brands give out their own thin fabric style totes that many of our homes are overflowing with them. But when you find one that’s perfect for you, it’s hard to carry anything else.
The clutch bag is for when you don’t need to carry your entire makeup collection with you. Made for lunch dates and weddings, it can be tough to know what to bring and what has to stay behind! You can get ones that are larger, but these are definitely less desirable.
The clutch bag is generally more in sync with whatever outfit you’re wearing and are chosen more for their looks than for any practical reason. A clutch bag is definitely an accessory as opposed to a handbag, and like the reticules of the past, are generally made of fancier and less durable materials.
Wristlets are the purse of the past, updated for the modern world. Just as small as a clutch, if not smaller, they are more likely to be made from fabric rather than leather. As they have the wrist strap after which they’re named, it leaves your hands free, whereas with a clutch you have to, well, clutch it.
Definitely a bag for a party, it has just enough room to hold the essentials and nothing more. Wristlets are just like your wallets but are so much more functional and comfortable to carry.
The purse can be grabbed if you’re just heading to the corner shop but is in general the most important part of any woman’s handbag. Coming in a range of sizes, they can either match your bag or stand out from it. Whatever the case, find the purse that works best for you and your handbag collection.
Today, more and more women are concerned about the impact that fast fashion is having on the environment. They are looking for an alternative to the high street stores that encourage us to buy more and more at cheap prices; items that have likely been made by people who aren’t being paid a fair wage.
The materials used in fashion is also a major concern. Not only is much of it non-recyclable, but its production also has a major impact on our environment.
One of the major culprits of this is leather. Leather requires a vast amount of energy to be produced and uses a large amount of dangerous chemicals during the tanning process. There is now, however, a new movement towards 100% vegan handbags. This means no more leather, which is better for the environment, and for all of the animals that are killed so that we have the cutest bags on our arms.
We only use premium vegan leather when making our bags, so you can guarantee that no animal was hurt in the name of our fashion. Not only this, but we also use recycled plastic bottles to make the lining in our bags. It looks and feels like silk, but it’s using items that would have otherwise been going to landfill and decomposing over hundreds of years.
We are dedicated to bringing our customers fashion forward designs in a way that takes into consideration the impact that consumerism has on the environment. We pay all of our workers a fair wage, and even have a zero-waste packaging policy for our products!
So, there you have it, LaBante London’s ultimate guide to handbags. Just one look at our collections will show you that having the best that handbags have to offer can be a completely cruelty-free choice.