Types of handbags for every occasion: a woman with a straw shoulder handbag.

A complete guide to different types of handbags

From everyday tote bags to elegant clutches, there is a handbag for every purpose and occasion. Are you looking for a new handbag? Get inspired by having a look through our handy handbag guide. You'll also find helpful tips on how to store handbags and how to clean them so that you can get the most out of your favourite handbag.

Popular handbags

Handbags come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for every occasion and to match your own individual style. In our handbag guide, you will find a wide range of handbags for everyday use or handbags for special occasions such as weddings, going to the theatre, or attending an important business dinner.

Different styles of handbags: cross body bags are versatile and great for everyday use.

Cross body bags

Cross body bags are a practical and versatile form of a handbag that you can use every day. They come in a variety of sizes, but usually offer enough space for your essentials such as your purse, keys, smartphone, and other small items. Cross body bags have long, adjustable straps that can be worn either loosely over the shoulder or diagonally across the body. This way, you can safely carry your bag when you're out and about, whilst keeping your hands free. This handbag is perfect for everyday use whether for work or for popping into town.

Cross body bags – a great all-rounder
Handbag styles for every occasion: shoulder bags can be worn with a casual or smart outfit.

Shoulder bags

Shoulder bags are a classic handbag that has proven to be very adaptable in everyday life. Compared to cross body bags they usually have shorter straps that can be worn over the shoulder or elegantly in the crook of your arm. They offer enough space to comfortably carry all your everyday small items with you. Shoulder bags are very versatile and they can instantly change the look of your outfit, depending on the material and design. They are also an ideal choice for a smart business look.

Shoulder bags – your everyday companion
Types of bags: a shopper is the perfect handbag for shopping and everyday use.


This handbag really lives up to its name as it is the best companion for shopping. However, a shopper is also perfect for everyday use as it offers you lots of space for your personal possessions. They have a square shape and they do look a little like classic jute bags. Shoppers complement casual looks effortlessly and go wonderfully with modern street styles.

Shopper –not just a shopping bag
Classy handbags: small handbags look very smart and elegant.

Small handbags

Small handbags are a stylish and the perfect choice for special occasions. They usually only offer enough space for your essentials such as a purse, smartphone and a set of keys, but this makes them very easy to carry. Small handbags are available in different styles, from classic clutches to trendy small shoulder bags. They effortlessly accentuate elegant outfits and also make a wonderful statement when combined with a simple style.

Small handbags – great for making a statement
Casual and popularhandbags: a belt bag offers you enough space for your essentials.

Belt bags

Belt bags disappeared from the world fashion a long time ago and they were considered as something only tourists would wear, but now they are back in trend. Just as the name describes they are strapped to your waist and thus worn on your belt. However, belt bags can also be worn more casually over your shoulder. Although they don’t have a lot of space, your most important essentials are always within reach and safely stowed away.

Belt bags – casual unisex bags
Something more practical: backpacks are a great choice for holidays and days out.


Backpacks offer enough storage space and are therefore great for days out or for going on holiday. Backpacks are designed to be comfortable and easy to carry on your back, but this does not mean that they are unfashionable. They are now available in a wide variety of styles and sizes and, like handbags, are also worn as accessories.

Backpacks –for days out and holidays
Handbags for every style and purpose:
Different types of bags: shoulder bags are available in a wide variety of designs and sizes.

Tips on how to store handbags

You should put handbags away if you are not going to be using them for a certain amount of time. This will help to protect them from becoming damaged. Below you will find some handy tips on how to store your handbags as well as keep your wardrobe tidy:

How to store your handbags and keep your wardrobe tidy

Larger handbags made out of tougher materials can easily be kept on a shelf or at the bottom of your wardrobe. Smaller handbags such as hobo handbags or bucket bags that cannot stand up can be hung up on hooks or hangers. However, make sure that the bags are empty so that the straps do not become damaged and overstretched by the weight of the bag. Alternatively, you can store smaller bags in empty shoe boxes.

Storing your handbags in a safe place

Make sure to keep your handbags in a cool and dry place such as in a wardrobe. Sunlight and hot temperatures can fade the colours and possibly damage the material. However, do not store your handbags in cold and damp places as this can cause mould.

Protecting the material and shape of your handbag

Put fabric or tissue paper in your handbags to help protect them and keep their shape. Do not use newspaper as the ink can stain your handbag.

Expensive handbags made out of leather, for example, can be kept in a fabric dust bag to protect the material. However, plastic bags are not a suitable alternative to protect your handbags from dust as they are not made out of a breathable material, which can cause damp conditions and possibly lead to mould.

Different types of handbags: the material and the type of your handbag will determine how it needs to be cleaned.

How to clean handbags

Once you have found the perfect handbag make sure to take good care of it so that you can get the most out of it. Depending on the material, there are a few cleaning and care tips that you can follow to ensure that you can use your favourite handbag for years to come:

How to clean fabric handbags

Handbags made out of materials such as cotton and linen are quite likely with time to become dirty, but they are usually easy to clean:

  • Fabric handbags can often be washed in the washing machine. It is advised to follow the wash and care instructions on the label. Fabric bags should be washed at low temperatures or at a maximum temperature of 30°C with a mild laundry detergent. They should either be washed on a delicate or wool wash program.

  • If possible, turn your fabric handbag inside out before putting it in the washing machine. Make sure to remove any detachable parts such as straps or tags beforehand.

  • After washing your handbag, carefully pull it back into shape.

It is recommended to hand wash your handbag if you’re not sure whether it can be washed in a washing machine. You can easily remove most stains with a cloth and some mild soap.

Cleaning leather and suede handbags

Leather handbags are generally very robust for everyday use, but they are sensitive to water. Therefore, you shouldn’t wash them in a washing machine or hand wash them in a sink full of water. Instead, follow our helpful tips below on how to gently clean a leather handbag:

  • Handbags made out of suede or leather should not be cleaned with water, otherwise the handbag could end up having water stains on it.

  • You will need to use a special spray to waterproof your leather or suede handbags when using them for the first time, as this will help to protect them from getting dirty or damp.

  • You can use a damp cloth or a brush to clean the surface of a leather or suede handbag. To give your handbag a more thorough clean, you can use a leather foam cleaner and applying a leather care lotion will help to keep the leather nice and supple.

  • Water can damage suede, therefore, you could use special dry cleaning kits and shoe cleaning erasers to easily remove dirt.

How to clean faux leather handbags

Handbags made out of faux leather are usually easy to clean. You can simply wipe off any dirt with a damp cloth. Once or twice a year, you can clean your faux leather handbag more thoroughly with special cleaning products.


Any handbags that you use every day should be emptied and cleaned every one to two weeks. You don’t necessarily need to do a deep clean. Sort through your handbag regularly to throw out any rubbish that you don’t need such as old receipts, bus or tram tickets and then finally give your handbag a good shake over a bin to remove any dust, crumbs or hairs.

How to match handbag with outfit: a woman with a stylish clutch.

Handbag FAQ: everything you need and want to know about handbags

Which handbag colour goes with everything?

If you're looking for a handbag that you can use every day and will go with almost any outfit, then black or brown handbags are the perfect choice. Depending on the size and material, both colours can be styled both elegantly and casually.

Black handbags are versatile, timeless classics and can be worn with casual everyday outfits, chic evening wear or smart business looks.

Brown handbags can also be combined with many different outfits. Brown handbags go really well with clothes in natural colours like beige, khaki and green or in delicate pastel shades.

Cross body bags for every occasion
What type of handbag goes well with an evening dress?

Smaller handbags are generally recommended for formal occasions, but an absolute classic is a clutch. Lots of small handbags have sparkly designs and chic embellishments to give them a glamorous touch that makes them perfect for evening events or parties. Below you will find different small handbags that will help you to look stylish and make a statement:

  • Clutch: the classic clutch has no handles or straps and you simply hold it in your hand or you carry it under your arm. A popular variation is an envelope bag, which has a tapered flap and looks like an envelope.

  • Baguette bag: this is a small and elegant evening bag with a long thin shape, looking like a baguette. It offers a little more space than a clutch and is usually carried with a small shoulder strap.

  • Pochette: a pochette is similar in size and shape to a clutch, but it has a narrow strap that allows you to carry it in the crook of your arm or over your shoulder.

  • Minaudière: a minaudière is a small evening bag with an optional carrying chain, often made out of metal and can be closed with a clip. Often these evening bags are covered with rhinestones or glitter. Their luxurious design makes them stand out at formal occasions.

Small chic handbags
Which handbag goes well with a summer dress?

Which bag you choose to wear with a summer dress depends on your personal taste. In general, you can use a handbag you like all year round. However, there are some types of handbags that are better suited to summer or that will give you a fantastic summer look thanks to their design. Bags made out of straw and rattan, as well as spacious fabric bags, are a great choice for summer picnics and beach days to store all your essentials.

Casual shoulder bags for summer
Which handbag goes with every outfit?

If you're looking for a handbag that's easy to mix and match, it's best to go for simple and classic handbag designs. Shoulder bags made out of faux leather in neutral colours such as black, brown or beige go well with almost any outfit. Large handbags offer you more space, which makes them ideal for going to work, popping to the shops and then going out for a meal in the evening.

How to match handbag with outfit: handbags made out of straw will make you look summery.

Different types of handbags to match every style and occasion

There is a handbag for every occasion and style such as an elegant clutch, a spacious shopper or a versatile shoulder bag.

Discover our wide range of handbags