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12 Types of Shoulder Bags for Every Occasion

12 Types of Shoulder Bags for Every Occasion

The global handbag market is worth $48 billion and has a compound annual growth rate of 6.7%. The key factor driving this market growth is the rising employment rate of women worldwide. 

Working girls are turning to stylish handbags to hold their belongings along the commute to work. An improving sense of fashion and the proliferation of online shopping has made it even easier for women to access all sorts of handbags.

Shoulder bags have been especially popular as they are well-sized, comfortable, and allow you to navigate hands-free. In this guide, we will discuss 12 unique types of shoulder bags for every occasion.

1. The Tote

The tote bag is one of the most versatile bags. It is used by every age and gender for practically any occasion. Tote bags are large tall rectangular bags that feature two thick straps.

They often are open but may feature a magnetic snap closure. Totes are great for when you need everything except the kitchen sink with you. Totes make an excellent commuting bag, everyday bag, or bag to use when you have a picnic or barbeque and need to take plenty of things.

It's one of the most popular shoulder bags for travel since you can easily access all of your belongings and the open nature speeds up security checks. 

2. The Crossbody

If you love to be completely hands-free, this is the bag for you. Crossbody shoulder bags feature a long, sometimes adjustable, strap that you wear across your body. 

You don't have to worry about sliding, theft, or your bag dropping off your shoulder. Crossbody bags are great if you have a lot of walking in your day, want to travel light, or just like to be hands-free. 

Myra makes a beautiful crossbody in upcycled dark brown leather. It's so easy to use due to the front flap that securely protects your belongings from falling. It's compact yet spacious and has a subtle side fringe for added style. 

You can wear this crossbody every day or dress it up for the evening.

3. The Hobo

Hobo bags are named after migrant American workers that were homeless in the 19th century. As a result of their homelessness, they used to travel with a slouchy sack tied over their shoulder and filled with their belongings. 

For better or worse, the fashion world drew inspiration from this shape and brands started debuting the "hobo" bag. 

Hobo bags are made from soft, drapey materials that don't support any structure. The body of the bag is supposed to slump and then gain shape from your belongings. It's not the best shoulder bag for a laptop unless you get a very large size.

Generally, a hobo will have a mid-length single shoulder strap that can be comfortably worn on either arm.

4. The Micro

The micro shoulder bag is extremely popular in 2022 like it was in the 90s. Stars like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and the Hadid sisters are always seen with micro shoulder bags. 

These bags sacrifice function for fashion. One French designer, Jacquemus, became famous for the insanely small size of his micro bag that could maybe hold a few coins. 

These bags are very adorable and a good choice if you like to travel light- really light!

The one issue is that they often don't hold smartphones due to their miniature size. It does make a good bag choice for evening events where you don't need more than lipgloss and a few bobby pins. 

5. The Messenger

As in the name, messenger bags were designed to be functional sacks for 1950s messengers to carry all of their tools on the job. The bag has stayed true to its original form.

It is a rectangular shape about the size of a laptop. This gives reason to why this is such a popular shoulder bag for working women and men. Messenger bags also have a single wide shoulder strap that can be slung across the body or worn on one side.

Messenger bags are usually made of sturdy cotton or canvas that hold their shape but are still flexible. There are also messenger bags in leather. 

This is one of the most widely used shoulder bags for work. If you head to Wall-Street you're bound to see 90% of the people carrying them. 

6. The Macrame Sling

This is the original shoulder bag. While there were shoulder bags before the 1960s, the majority of them were handleless clutches or at best featured a short handle strap. The 1960s is when shoulder bags were popularized.

Macrame bags would be made of rope or suede and embellished with exotic materials, fringe, and studs.

It was a very "hippie" fashion that contrasted well with the recently released Kelly Bag from Hermes. It transitioned well into the 1970s.

7. The Bucket Bag

Bucket bags are tall cylindrical-shaped handbags with geometric inspiration. They are incredibly stylish for summer and a statement shoulder bag due to their unique shape that departs from the traditional square edges of bags.

Bucket bags can be found with long shoulder straps to be worn on one shoulder or as a full crossbody. They can be a little awkward to use at first as the shape sinks all of your belongings to the bottom. 

8. The Sling Backpack

If you're unfamiliar with sling backpacks, the best way to describe it is like a fanny pack but for your shoulder. These are one-strap backpacks that easily "sling" over your shoulder.

They were initially marketed for an active and outdoor lifestyle but have gained widespread popularity. Because of their nature, sling backpacks are often made in athletic fabrics.

You'll find them in waterproof nylon, cotton, and synthetic blends. Some also feature an adjustable buckle to ensure the bag is properly secured during activity.

While these bags might be used to store food or a compass, they can also be found in more elevated fabrics for every day and store your phone, wallet, and keys.

You can now find sling purses and "crossbody fanny packs" in leather and bright colors.

9. Farmer's Tote

Farmer's totes are a little different than regular totes. They are pretty much shapeless rounds of fabric with handles. These bags were traditionally used to collect produce at farmer's markets.

Now Instagram has made these shoulder bags trendy for everyday use. Use them for a beach trip or as your real purse. Since they are so thin they have no structural backbone and will take the shape of whatever you put in them.

Brands today are making farmer's totes with their deadstock fabrics to be more eco-conscious. 

10. Chain Strap Shoulder Bag

A chain strap shoulder bag can come in any shape or fabric. The defining feature is a single or double chain strap. This can be an easy way to instantly upgrade a simple bag to an elegant accessory.

It's like wearing jewelry on your shoulder. Chain straps can be simple gold Rolo chains or chunky oversized curb chains. Some chain straps can be a little uncomfortable as they are metal, so make sure to test or read reviews before you buy.

11. Baguette Bag

One of the most iconic and fashionable shoulder bags is the baguette bag. Yes, it is named after the notable shape of the French bread. The baguette bag has a history so rich it has its own Wikipedia page.

It first debuted in 1997 on the Fendi runway and immediately gained popularity after being styled on the cast of Sex in the City. The bag is often cited as the world's first "it bag."

Baguette bags are very compact and minimalist. They are oblong and have one strap.

Most brands will make the bag using one material so it creates a very simple look. They're just large enough to fit all of your essentials but not so big they'll tire your shoulder.

12. Convertible Satchel

A convertible satchel is one of the most versatile shoulder bags. You get a two-in-one purse. These bags will take the shape of a regular satchel.

A satchel is typically a short, boxy handbag with a short curved double handle. It's classy and elegant and usually used for errands or events. However, needing to carry it in your hand all day can become a disadvantage.

Instead of investing in a regular satchel, invest in a convertible satchel. This will come with a long shoulder strap that is removable but can be attached to the inside or outside of the bag. This will enable you to easily throw on your satchel and wear it as a crossbody. 

Shoulder Bags Are Back!

Shoulder bags for women are making a comeback in every style imaginable. The famous history of shoulder bags dates back to the 1960s in which macrame hippie shoulder bags were adored for their rebellious and laid-back fashion. 

The 90s saw a resurgence of the shoulder bag's popularity. Shoulder bags debuted in micro sizes with gold and silver hardware. These tiny patent shoulder bags adorned the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. 

Thanks to the internet you can now enjoy the shoulder bag trend anytime. Check out Jandy's latest selection of Myra Shoulder Bags