Handbags 101 Glossary


Mar 1, 2006
(source: http://www.designerhandbags101.com/handbag-glossary.aspx)
Handbags & Luggage Glossary

Antique – leather with a smooth finish because the grain has been crushed and undergone shrinkage.

Athletic bag – a soft, roomy bag used to carry sporting equipment and apparel to the gym.

Backpack – a bag that is supported by the shoulders with double handles and lies across the back. Backpacks are supported on either one or both shoulders.

Billfold – a flat wallet with a clip or slip-in compartment, which holds bills.

Box – rigid bag shaped purse, square or rectangle in shape, with a variety metal, bone, shell or wooden handle.

Bucket – roomy bag shaped like a bucket, usually has an open top and shoulder strap.

Burlap – a coarsely textured material used to make casual bags such as school bags, backpacks and satchels.

Calfskin – leather made from the hide of young cattle. Calfskin has a soft, smooth texture which makes it desirable for making fine handbags.

Camera bag – an adaptation of bags used to carry photographic equipment. Today’s camera bags are rectangular with many additional zippered outside compartments.

Canteen bag – a round, stiff bag that resembles a traveler’s water flask. Canteen bags typically have a shoulder strap.

Canvas – a durable, somewhat water resistant material that is popular in backpacks and school bags.

Card case – a hard case typically the perfect size and shape to hold business cards.

Carpet bag – a large satchel-like bag, typically used for carry-on luggage and made out of carpet fabric.

Change purse – a small purse just large enough to hold loose change. Maybe attached to a handbag; closes with a zipper, clasp or snap.

Clutch – a bag with no handles that must be carried clasped in one hand or under the arm.

Convertible bag – a bag with a handle that can be tucked or folded inside, in order to turn it into a clutch.

Cosmetic case – bags of varying sizes and shapes with a zip closure lined to hold cosmetics.

Cotton – various prints and textures are used to make novelty handbags, book bags, cosmetic bags, etc.

Cowhide – leather made from adult cattle.

Drawstring – a soft bag with a gathered drawstring closure. The drawstring, once synched, may form into purse straps or have a separate strap.

Duffel – typically a bag that is long, horizontal and cylinder in shape with short handles.

Envelope – a flat, square or rectangular bag with a triangle-shaped top flap that folds over like an envelope.

Feed bag – a drawstring bag, usually with a shoulder strap, shaped like a horse’s feed bag; also referred to as a bucket bag.

Fishing creel – a woven basket with a flap top and shoulder strap; originally carried by fly fishermen to keep their catch fresh.

Flight bag – used by passengers and crew to carry on belongings aboard a plane, often has a flight insignia and used rather then a tote bag.

Glazed leather – has a polished finish but not quite as high gloss as patent leather.

Half moon bag – any bag shaped like a half moon, with or without a handle of various sizes.

Hobo bag – a soft, large bag that has a zip top and shoulder strap. Tends to crunch down when carried or laid down.

Kip – also called steer hide, is a type of leather taken from older cattle, not as supple as calfskin.

Needlepoint – has a tapestry appearance and has a heavy, ornamental fabric used to make knitting bags and carpetbags.

Minaudiere – a small evening bag embezzled with pieces of metal, semi precious stones or beads and covered with fabric or leather.

Muff – a winter bag made of real of faux fur, wool or velvet that has zippered compartments and a slip opening for your hands.

Patent leather – an extremely high gloss type of leather finish.

Pouch – a gathered or straight bag evening bag.

Peau de soie – a dull type of satin used to make evening bags.

Reptile – skins from snakes, turtles and lizards used to make handbags. Reptile is distinguishable by its scaly pattern and texture. Many laws protect endangered reptiles whose skins are used to make illegal bags.

Safari – a soft leather bag with a curved shape, a top zipper, two top straps or handles, and two outside pockets with flaps and buckle closures.

Satchel – a bag with a wide, flat bottom, zippered or clasped top, two handles or straps. The satchel style was inspired by a piece of luggage and can be various sizes such as the doctor’s bag.

School bag – a roomy bag with a snap, clasp or buckle top flap and one wide shoulder strap; often a thicker variation of the envelope bag.

Sheep or lambskin – light, fine grain leather used to make imported bags.

Shoulder bag – any bag with a shoulder strap.

Silk – used for elegant evening bags, sometimes beading is incorporated.

Straw – hand woven willow or rattan used to make summer bags and picnic baskets.

Suede – a treatment applied to the flesh side of a skin to produce a napped, velvet-like finish.

Swagger – a roomy, framed bag with two straps or handles, open outside pockets and a zippered or clasped open top.

Tote – a bag inspired by a shopping bag, which is sturdy and rectangular with an open top and two strap handles. The inside may have zip compartments.

Quilted bag – is quilted in texture and typically has a chain strap or handle.

Velvet – a rich, lustrous fabric used for evening bags.

Wallet – hard or soft, with zippers or snaps, has compartments for coins, bills, credit cards, etc.


Mar 1, 2006
(source: http://www.designerhandbags101.com/purses/choose-flattering-purses.aspx)
How to Choose a Flattering Purse

When it comes to choosing a flattering designer handbag shape - it’s all about contrast! Just as the perfect pair of pants can make your legs look longer or your butt look thinner so can the right designer handbag.

The key to choosing a flattering handbag is to choose one that’s the opposite shape of your body type. For example, if you are short choose a long designer handbag; if you are thin choose a short, plump designer handbag. However, size is a different story and your purse or handbag should be proportional to your figure.

If you are unsure about what type of figure you have, ensure you choose a purse that lies at the middle of your torso – this purse length is universally flattering for most women.

To find the perfect shape of designer handbag for your body remember these simple tips:

If you are short and round – choose a tall, rectangular tote with long straps or a long sleek, structured clutch.

If you are pear shaped – choose a structured cigar box purse or a sleek rectangular Kelly bag.

If you are large busted – stir clear of close-fitting handbags, which rest under the arm (this will further enlarge your bust and feel cramped), instead opt for a purse with long shoulder straps.

If you are tall and thin – choose a slouchy designer hobo bag, rounded bag or half-moon shaped purse.

If you are very petit – Stay away from extremely large bags, but choose a long clutch or rectangular tote that hits your leg and give the appearance of elongation.

If you have a slim waist – choose a designer purse with shoulder straps that allow the bottom of the bag to hit your waist.

If you are 6-feet tall – avoid cute, miniature evening bags or mini handheld pouches that you overwhelm with your stature.

If you want to accentuate cleavage - pick a close fitting bag with short straps, which lie right under your armpit.

Tip – a purse or handbag accentuates whatever portion of the body it hits.


Mar 1, 2006
(source: http://www.designerhandbags101.com/purse-handbag-faq.aspx)
Handbag FAQ

There are many valid questions concerning handbags, purses and luggage and their appropriate usage. So, I’ve decided to start with five most-asked questions and then get your input. In the meantime, please feel free to submit your handbag questions and concerns to baglady@designerhandbags101.com.

Q: What style of handbag should I take to a job interview?

A: When it comes to job interviews or business lunches this bag lady says function and style are key. A functional business handbag should be able to carry your resume or portfolio, business card, reference letters, etc., without crumpling them; while showcasing your sense of style. Depending on the position, many women forego a purse all together and use a briefcase.

Tips for choosing a handbag or purse for a job interview:

Choose a functional bag with inside pockets with storage for pens, a cell phone (which of course is turned off), business cards and keys. Be aware of where everything is in your bag. You certainly don’t want to look disorganized.

Your handbag should be large enough so your resume isn’t crumpled when slipped inside – a long, rectangle tote is perfect!

Choose a bag with closure - zippers, Velcro or magnetic flaps – so the contents of your bag don’t get jostled or fall out during the interview.

Coordinate the color of your bag to your interview attire…especially your shoes.

A leather handbag is most appropriate for an interview; nylon or cotton is too casual.

No matter what, ensure that your bag is free of stains.

Q: When shopping for an evening bag what should be considered?

A: The best place to spot the season’s hottest evening bags is on the red carpet. Awards shows such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes or the Grammy’s feature a parade of celebrities dressed to the nines and carrying perfectly matching handbags. Popular styles of evening bags range from sleek clutches to drawstring sacks. The style of handbag you choose should allow adequate room for your lipstick, keys, identification and money. If you can’t bear an evening without your cell phone, or if you want to bring along a disposable camera, a slightly larger purse might be appropriate (as long as it doesn’t overwhelm your outfit). More importantly, your evening bag should complement your evening attire. For example, if your dress is a black lace number you could choose a mini satin beaded purse trimmed in black lace. Another option would be to go with a vibrant red or a shimmering gold to give your outfit that extra va-va-voom! Think of an evening bag as an extra piece of jewelry, rather then as a travel necessity and have fun with it! Evening bags are available beaded, in satin, silk, sequins, lace, crochet, velvet, embroidered and jewel-encrusted creations to fit any outfit. With a little hunting you will certainly find your perfect match for the evening.

Q: I am going on vacation and am wondering if a new handbag is appropriate?

A: Safety is vital when traveling - not only the safety of you and your family, but also the safe keeping of your travel documents, personal belongings and money. A traveling handbag should accommodate your most precious travel accessories - your money, traveler's checks, credit cards, passports, room key and any other travel identification. A travel handbag should have strong, secure straps, inner storage and Velcro, button or zippered closures. Many travelers will even carry a money pouch underneath their clothes to further deter thieves.

Q: I purchased a ‘Prada’ handbag in New York. How do I tell if it’s real?

A: In large cities like Toronto, Vancouver, London, Los Angeles or New York City it’s a synch to get a designer handbag for a fraction of the cost – or is it? Unfortunately, the rampant sale of bogus purses is a popular money-maker for street peddlers and flea market merchants who don’t care who they dupe to make a quick buck. If you purchased your ‘designer Prada’ on a New York City street corner it’s likely not an original. Place of sale is the number one way to spot a real handbag. Here are three easy ways to smell a bogus:

If it doesn’t look designer, it’s NOT designer! - Designers like Gucci and Chanel make the highest quality purses. That’s why women are willing to dish out a month’s salary to get their hands on one. Therefore, an authentic designer handbag will appear perfect. The colors will be congruent, the lining and the stitching will be free of flaws and an engraved or imprinted designer logo will appear somewhere on the bag.

Demand proof of authenticity - The priciest designer handbags come complete with an authenticity card. An authenticity card will feature the company logo and either a serial number or a magnetic barcode registered to the designer. Ask to see it before you open your wallet.

The price is a dream come true - If Prada bags were that cheap, every woman on the planet would own one! That’s why if the price sounds too good to be true – it is!

Q: How do I choose a suitable briefcase for the office?

A: Hard-case briefcases, with a stiff clutch handle, are no longer the norm in the business world. Thankfully, more ergonomically designed, over-the-shoulder leather cases and padded computer bags are just as classy, yet comfortable to carry.

Tips for choosing a briefcase for the office:

Purchase bigger then you need. Remember in high school when you had to stuff your backpack to accommodate all of your books and ended up with back strain? The same applies to the office, so look for a briefcase with expandable compartments and outside storage for extra items.

Test for weight - Leather briefcases are classics, but they can be heavy. Lighter alternatives, like canvas and micro fiber, are just as attractive and some alternatives are even more weatherproof and durable.

Consider what you will be carrying - a laptop, cell phone, file folder – and purchase a case with suitable storage compartments.

Price – a messenger-style bag is just as attractive and functional and costs approximately $60 to $100 online, however a soft leather Coach or Hartmann briefcase can run you $500 online.


Mar 1, 2006
KittyBag said:
bag.lover, thanks for the tips! I am interviewing a lot recently and those "what bag to bring to an interview tips" helped!!
KittyBag, glad you find them useful (i was happy to find those info online too). Best of luck with your interviews. =)


Settling in...
Mar 28, 2006
Smaller Apple (north of NYC)
^^ Thank you!! I am so darn nervous because one is truely my dream job!! I would be a business analyst and project manager!! Plus it is a job in So CA (I really feel I was meant to be a west coast girl). I really feel like I will make the short list and be invited for a face to face interview!!