What is the difference between "top handle" and "satchel"

BgaHolic

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May 23, 2009
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I have been having trouble with shoulder pain and am researching different options. Can someone please tell me what the difference is? I know a tote is a bag that you carry by hand and I am staying away from that style, as I know it can get heavy. TIA!
 

MACsarah

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Sep 13, 2008
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You can carry a tote on your shoulder.

A satchel has a top handle and a long shoulder strap that can sometimes be carried as a messanger. A top handle only has a small handle that can be carried on the crook of your arm.

Sometimes, satchels only have the shoulder/messanger strap.
 

pandorabox

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May 2, 2011
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You can carry a tote on your shoulder.

A satchel has a top handle and a long shoulder strap that can sometimes be carried as a messanger. A top handle only has a small handle that can be carried on the crook of your arm.

Sometimes, satchels only have the shoulder/messanger strap.

Thanks! I thought it was a shape thing.. LOL
 

papertiger

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Maybe things are different in Europe but this is what I understand:

I thought a tote just meant a 2 handle bag, the length of the handles determines whether or not it's a top handle tote (Birkin) or a shoulder tote (Neverfull).

A top handle means to be carried in the hand, either one handle (Kelly) or two (Speedy)

A satchel used to mean a rectangular bag usually with a single short handldle on top, a front lock that had a shoulder strap for the outdoors adapted later for school children. Now I think satchel is used for many different shapes and sizes and just means a bag with top handle/s PLUS a shoulder strap.

:shrugs: I do think these terms are mutable within the handbag industry though and it's not an exact science. The term 'satchel' seems used much more frequently in the US.
 
Jun 6, 2009
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No problem :smile: I can see why the shape thing would make sense.

A LV speedy is a classic top handle bag while a Schouler Ps1 is a typical satchel.
The bags in that photo have always been my understanding of a satchel and top handle ever since I had my first school satchel back in elementary school in the 60s. And my mom had and still has plenty of bags with top handles. Smiles.
 

pandorabox

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No problem :smile: I can see why the shape thing would make sense.

A LV speedy is a classic top handle bag while a Schouler Ps1 is a typical satchel.
Thanks for clearing that up. Makes more sense now.. LOl. When I think satchel, I usually think Indiana Jones.. Closer to the photo on the left. LOL
 

MACsarah

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Thanks for clearing that up. Makes more sense now.. LOl. When I think satchel, I usually think Indiana Jones.. Closer to the photo on the left. LOL
Woah. Might be some confusion. You are right, the one on the left is a satchel.

Forgive me, the photo is flipped :P