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Ultimate Guide to Popular Types of Handbags

Posted on November 17 2020

Leather Handbags

There are so many shapes and sizes of handbags made from different materials on the market. Choosing a leather bag is absolutely the best choice you can make. They are always in style, authentic and will last you for a long time.

But how to choose the perfect leather handbag suited for your needs? Here you will find out everything there is to know about types of handbags, their history and what makes an It bag.

Before we start a little quote by the comedian and actress Retta -

‘Handbags, dude. It's all about the Italian leather handbags. I have quite a few purses that I spend a good deal of money on - that's my jam’.

Enjoy your read!

All Types of Purses

‘I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet!’ Or if we may rephrase this quote by the sassy Carrie Bradshaw - hanging around my hand!

Every fashionista knows that a look is not completed without a proper bag to follow it. That’s why so many of us always ask the same question - how to choose the perfect leather handbag? At I Medici we carefully tailor different types of handbags which will perfectly suit you for any given occasion.

All types of handbags can be separated into three big categories:

  • Casual handbags
  • Professional handbags
  • Glamorous purses

    Every type of precious leather purse should be handled with great care. That’s why we have a blog post where we explain in detail how to take care of leather.

    Casual Handbags

    The Crossbody

    The crossbody bag is by far the most practical for everyday use. You wear it, as the name suggests, across your body leaving your hands free. We all know that while running your errands and carrying groceries demand both of your hands.

    Or if you take the public transport and someone calls you on your phone while trying to maintain your balance in a full metro can get a little tricky. You can add a personal touch to your crossbody bag by adding a colorful scarf or a fluffy keychain - your choice!

    The Bucket Bag

     The Bucket Bag

    The bucket bag was first designed for a much different purpose than today. It was used by wine merchants as to easily transport champagne bottles. Since then it has had a rebirth on the streets worn by street style gurus such as Alexa Chung and Kate Bosworth.

    The bucket bag is quite roomy, so all of your treasures will be tightly sealed. They usually have a drawstring closure with an additional magnetic clasp on the inside. It also features a crossbody strap so you won’t have to worry about your hands being ‘tied’. The bucket bag brings a dash of bohemian chic to your look, especially if you add a beautiful scarf to it.

    The Backpack

    The Backpack


    When we think about backpacks we can get a little nostalgic about our high school days. We would put all of our heavy books, notebooks, pencil cases, and everything we needed for the day. Leather backpacks have become extremely stylish amongst street style fashionistas these days. They are the ultimate hands-free bag.

    Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been spotted multiple times wearing leather backpacks. They come in a variety of different closures: straps, clasps, magnetic clasps, zippers and so on. Whether you are planning a day out in the park or just running errands, backpacks will meet all of your needs. 

    Professional Handbags

    The Messenger Bag

    The Messenger Bag


    This one has been a favorite amongst postman and modern-day bicycle bringers of messages. Hence the name messenger bag. Women realized that this kind of bag can get really handy. It can serve as a replacement for a briefcase or a sporty backpack.

    Furthermore, it has come really handy for women who work as teachers or professors. When you work in that kind of place, you always carry around tons of papers, books, notebooks pencil cases ... The messenger bag has a lot of space and all of those fragile papers won’t get messed up in this quite convenient bag.

    Tote Bag

    The Tote Bag

    The tote bag has been referred to as the shopper’s bag many times. It’s wide and typically more on the larger side. It is characterized by having a rectangle silhouette with an open top and shoulder straps or handles.

    Although it’s called the shopper’s bag, because of the capacity, the tote bag can be really helpful to professional women. For starters, you can easily put your laptop in it which is an absolute plus. Apart from the laptop, all the papers, notebooks, pencils and everything else you might need for work will easily find its way in your tote bag.


    The Duffel Bag

    Duffel is the perfect bag for every woman that travels a lot. It has a horizontal cylindrical shape and a lot of room in it. The size varies from medium to large.

    The origin of this bag can be found in the military. They were pretty useful for putting all of your necessary stuff and it wasn’t as big and clumsy as luggage.

    The same goes for the modern day. Large suitcases can really get in the way of our comfortable traveling. The duffel can serve as the perfect replacement as you travel around the world for work or on a holiday.

    The Doctor Bag

    The Doctor Bag

    The doctor bag was used in the past by - doctors. They could put their necessary gear into the bag and make house calls for their patients. Also, the doctor bag was a signature bag from the comic book Wonder Woman.

    Usually, the doctor bag is very simple and elegant without having too much detail. You can see a lot of fashionistas rocking this bag. It’s sophisticated and refined looks is a perfect accessory for any business meeting.

    Glamorous Purses

    The Baguette Bag

    The Baguette Bag

    There is a funny scene in the legendary show Sex and the City when a thief tries to steal Carrie Bradshaw’s purse. He says: Give me the bag!  Carrie answers: It’s a baguette!

    As the name states it, it was inspired by the popular French bread. Parisian girls needed some sort of small purse where they can put all of their necessities while strolling downtown. The baguette is quite small so it’s the perfect bag for a fun night out with your girlfriends or for a romantic dinner.

    The Envelope Clutch

    The envelope clutch bag was first introduced to royal families and upper class as a symbol of status. Still today it is a bag perfect only for the most formal occasions.

    Sadly we don’t get to attend balls anymore, but a wedding ceremony or a business promotion party is just as good as a ball. The envelope clutch is the perfect bag for such events. You will feel absolutely rich!

    The Barrel Bag

    This small horizontal cylindrical shaped bags is the sister of the duffle bag. But only by the way they look. The barrel bag is a tiny version of the duffle bag. So be very careful when you are planning to go somewhere.

    Only a few most necessary things can be put in the barrel. That’s why it’s an ideal bag for going to a club, or for going on a date.

    A Brief History of Purses

    History of purses

    When people discuss the subject of history, the matter tends to be oriented towards groundbreaking scientific discoveries, who won what war and who conquered who. There are some other unknown things that made people throughout history who they are. Handbags also have a history of their own.

    We practically can’t imagine life without them, but they also had a path of their own. Today, it has become an essential accessory for just about every woman. But, the first purses ever made were mainly worn by men. Over time the concept of the purse evolved into these beautiful accessories we have today.

    The history of handbags can be categorized by three main periods:

    • Ancient times
    • The Renaissance
    • The 18th century

      Ancient Purses

      Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics display men carrying small pouches around their waste. There are several other mentions of handbags throughout history. African priests used to wear beaded bags. Even the Bible remarks that Judas Iscariot carried a purse.

      Men and women alike carried small pouches for a practical reason. They needed something to carry their coins in, and pockets, if you can believe it, didn't exist yet! With the invention of pockets in the 16th century, men more or less stopped carrying purses. This was the moment where things started to split, and bags became more of a women's thing.

      The Renaissance

      In the 16th century, the chatelaine was invented. It was a small bag that had a hook which looked similar to today's keychains. Women could store small necessary objects.

      They were particularly convenient having in mind that women’s fashion of the day consisted of voluminous skirts. They could easily ‘store’ several chatelaines in their skirts as if they weren’t even there.

      The 18th Century

      In the 18th century, Pompeii was discovered and the people were so pleased with this that all things Greek and Roman became popular once again. Streamlined dresses were all the rage and the first actual ‘hand-bag’ was released.

      With the industrial revolution in the 19th century, all types of handbags greatly benefited by new manufacturing methods. Different textiles were brought into the game, which was the first steps to making a handbag revolution.

      What does make an It bag

      IT girls wearing different types of handbags

      Starting with the 1950s, handbags began to gain a kind of cult status. With the rise of the fashion industry women were starting to wonder how to choose the perfect leather handbag.

      And with the rise of the Golden Age of Hollywood people and women, in particular, wanted a taste of that glamour. The fashion industry recognized this and soon women became simply fabulous.

      The term ‘It bag’ was born in the 1990s. But the handbag craze started much sooner than that. It was around the launch of the handbag Kelly, which was worn by actress Grace Kelly.

      Soon after famous people started endorsing fashion products. They became easily recognizable like Chanel 2.55 and Birkin worn by the famous French actress Jane Birkin.

      The term ‘It bag’ represented something that was trendy at the moment. Something that everyone wanted to have no matter the price. Today we should reinvent this term and make it about something else. We at I Medici Leather consider It bags to be made from high-quality leather, nicely tailored and suited for all your needs.


      Hopefully, this blog post has delivered you knowledge about everything you need to know about handbags. You won’t have to ask yourself the same mind bottling question ever again.

      If you need any more consulting or help while purchasing your perfect leather handbag, you are absolutely free to contact us. We will gladly help you and give any additional information you need. Feel free to check our leather accessories as well, right here at I Medici.



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