Women's Handbag Buying Guide

Women's handbags and purses have been a classic fashion icon for a very long time. Not only are they a pleasure to those that own them, but they're also a fun accessory to add to any wardrobe and occasion. Let's take a look at how to choose and purchase women's handbags and purses.

Types of Handbags and Purses

If you are shopping for the right handbag, it's wise to know what occasion you need it for. This knowledge will help you to determine which type of handbags to browse through. Let's cover the types of handbags.

Tote Bag and/or Shopper

Tote bags, also known as "shoppers", are probably the most common handbag in women's closets. Why? They are larger than the average purse or handbag and can easily hold all necessities for the day without compromising the quality and care of the handbag. Typically, tote bags are designed with a heavy duty material like leather or canvas. (This gives the handbag the strength to hold everything the woman may need.) As for the style and shape, they are generally square and available in a wide variety of colors. Some of them are created with zippers while others enclose with a singular snap button. Other tote bags aren't created with any closing mechanism and remain open. Since there are many endless designs, some have convenient pockets and compartments for things like keys, wallets, cell phones, drink bottles and more. Other designs include a simple, large one compartment tote. They always come with shoulder straps or handles.

Hobo Bag

The hobo bag is most popular during the warm months of the year. It's a more comfortable yet slouchy approach to carrying a stylish handbag. It would be a great choice for a weekend with the girls. It's usually made of materials such as cloth or leather, depending on the style. It comes with a long strap that sometimes allows you to wear over the shoulder for the more relaxed look. Many women choose the hobo bag as their daily handbag since it can be dressed up or down. If you desire a more polished look with the hobo bag, purchase it in leather or with a chain strap. This will add enough class to make it seem less casual and more professional.


Satchel handbags are an oldie goldie. Their classic design has satisfied women for many years. Style-wise, they have wide exteriors and interiors with two small handles. The core of the handbag is usually rather large but the handles are small for just the hands. If you prefer to wear it over your shoulder, they usually come with an attaching shoulder strap. That way, you can add it or remove it as you desire. The satchel is designed to be used daily while adding a touch of class to your ensemble.


Clutch bags, also known as "evening bags", are incredibly elegant and classy additions to a special night out. They only have enough room for the bare necessities as they aren't designed for your everyday routine. Stylistically, they have a limitless array of creative designs. On average, clutches are styled with gentle materials such as silk and satin. They're beautiful details are added with fancy sequins, beads or thread etchings. Sometimes, they come with a convenient, small strap although they are designed to be carried in your hand. In other words, you're meant to "clutch" them with your hand.

Backpack Handbags

Backpack handbags have been in and out of fashion for years. They are usually made of leather or other tough materials such as sturdy cloth or canvas. They're the perfect weekend handbags that also serve great on hikes, long shopping trips and more. They can be dressed down and dressed up, depending on the design. Many women enjoy wearing them on one shoulder as it compliments daily wardrobes.

Pay Attention to the Details

When you're shopping for a great handbag, there are some important aspects to consider before buying.


You need to determine your budget. Depending on the varying brands and designs, handbags can vary greatly in price. A Michael Kors satchel handbag is going to cost more than a generic brand. Determine your price range and start from there.


Once you have determined your price boundaries, you need to decide on the type of brands that suit you best. Each brand offers different qualities, strengths and weaknesses. High class brands such as Coach will have serial numbers inside the handbag. This gives you the option to insure the handbag, register it and more. Most inexpensive brands, however, don't have this option.

What's the occasion?

Are you searching for a one night event? Perhaps you should browse through the clutch handbags to see what will best suit your special night. If you're shopping for a daily handbag, consider browsing through handbags that are made of tougher material, comfortable to tote and can hold all of your necessities.


Once you've determined the occasion of the handbag, you should consider the materials. Soft and delicate materials serve as wonderful fashion statements whereas tough materials provide heavy duty support while also looking stylish.


If you know the price, brand, occasion and material needed for your handbag, then it's best to know the size that you need. How many items do you carry with you on a daily basis? How many items will you need on that special date night?

Top Brands and Product Lines


Coach has been in business since 1941. They've always provided the highest quality in leather products, handbags and accessories. Although usually on the pricey side, their handbags are designed to last a lifetime.

Michael Kors

Established in 1981, the Michael Kors brand has offered high fashion, high quality handbags and accessories through the years. They are most known for satchel handbags and shoulder handbags.


Burberry is a classic brand all around. It's been around since 1856 and has provided high quality leather coats, clutch handbags and more throughout the centuries. If you're in need of a high quality clutch bag, this is the brand to look for.


Founded in 1921, Gucci has created and offered luxurious handbags, wallets and purses. They're made from the highest quality leathers in Italy. Each piece is designed with intricate embroidery and design.


This famous fashion company was founded in 1913. All of their handbags and purses are made from the best materials and with the utmost in precision and care. Women have enjoyed their stylish handbag designs and durability for decades.