Glossary of Terms

Evening Bags, Purses and Handbags

Purses come in different shapes and sizes for different occasions. What is a Minaudiere? What is an Envelope or Cocktail Purse? Here is a brief explanation to these questions and more in our handbag glossary of common purse, handbag, and accessory terms. If you do not see a term that you would like clarified, simply contact us and we'll post the details for you.

Backpack Handbag

Often found with either a single or double shoulder strap, the fun bags are designed to be worn just as you would a backpack. They are typically larger than a standard purse and have lot of pockets and storage space.

Baguette Purse

Typically a style statement, these handbags are long and narrow resembling a loaf of French bread.

Barrel Purse

Just as the name depicts, these bags are cylindrical in shape, have a wide rounded bottom, and resemble a barrel. (see an example of a Barrel Purse)

Bucket Bag

Boasting a wide girth, the bags are typically taller than they are wide and provide ample storage space while resembling a bucket.

Clutch Purse

A small handbag, usually with no straps or handles, that is designed to be carried under the arm or by hand. Clutches are often used as evening bags. (see an example of a Clutch Purse)

Cocktail Purse

Suitable for wear at a semi-formal occasion or an evening out on the town. These bags are often high fashion with a flare toward the formal side of the spectrum while often baring sparkle and shine. Cocktail Purse

Coin Purse

Synonymous with "change purse", these small bags are designed to hold coins and other small objects such as lipstick and breath mints. (see an example of a Coin Purse)

Cosmetic Bag

Typically a small bag designed to hold common cosmetic items while on the go. These bags are often part of a set to provide a match with a handbag and/or luggage.

Cross-Body Bag

These bags are typically smaller in size so that they can be worn comfortably across the body in order to provide a more secure and hands-free solution.

Crystal Evening Bag

A small elegant bag that is usually carried at evening formal events. It is typically made with high end fabrics and materials such as satin or crystal. (see an example of a Crystal Evening Bag)

Diaper Bag

Large bags with many compartments and pockets. This bag is made to of fabrics that are usually wiped down and cleaned easily as they are generally used for baby items.

Drawstring Handbag

A purse that has a pull string feature rather than a zipper closure.

Embossed Handbag

A surface design on a material such as leather or faux leather. This process gives the leather a textured finish and is usually done with a croc, lizard or snake print. With an embossed bag you get the look of an exotic leather without the high-end cost. (see an example of a Embossed Handbag)

Envelope Clutch

A clutch bag that is long in length an usually resembles an envelope shape. (see an example of a Envelope Clutch)

Evening Bag

A small purse that is dressy in nature and is intended to be carried for semi-formal and formal events. In most instances this type of bag will be in a clutch form. (see an example of a Evening Bag)

Faux Leather Purse

A fabric that is made to resemble real leather. This give the bag a leather look but at a less expensive price. Most faux leather products are made from a plastic base. (see an example of a Faux Leather Purse)

Hobo Handbag

Purses that are made to wear as a shoulder bag and have a U shaped slouch in the middle. This makes a large bag look smaller when carried on your shoulder.


Leather Handbag

A material consisting of the skin of an animal which is made smooth and flexible by tanning and removing the hair. (see an example of a Leather Handbag)

Minaudiere Evening Bag

A small Ladies fashion accessory which is usually covered in crystals or stones. It is generally considered a jewelry piece and is intended to be carried for an evening bag use. (see an example of a Minaudiere Evening Bag)

Microfiber Handbag

Refers to synthetic fibers such as nylon, which are made into a fabric which is known for its durability. (see an example of a Microfiber Handbag)

Nappa Leather Handbag

Is a full-grain leather that is typically color dyed and made from un-split lamb or sheep skin. It is often used in high quality leather products and is known for its softness and durability.

Organizer Bag

Most commonly used by students and business professionals, these purses are intended for carrying a wide variety of items in an organized manner as they bags are made with many pockets, compartments and dividers.

Patent Leather Purse

Can either be real or faux leather that has a lacquered finish which gives the leather a high gloss look. (see an example of a Patent Leather Purse)

Purse Hook / Purse Hanger

Typically a decorative metal piece that is designed to hook a purse to the side of a table rather than resting the bag on top of the table or on the floor. These hooks are normally made to easily fold away so they do not consume much space inside the purse that they are designed to support. (see an example of a Purse Hook / Purse Hanger)

Quilted Handbag

A purse that has a sewn finish on top which gives the bag a quilted look.

Shopper Purse

A handbag that is generally used when shopping. It will usually be large in size, have shoulder straps and is designed with extremely sturdy material in order to support the weight of many items while shopping. These bags are a great choice for the environmentally conscious shopper who wishes to avoid the waste of paper and/or plastic grocery bags. (see an example of a Shopper Purse)

Shoulder Bag

A bag that is carried on the shoulder with either one or two long straps. This bag will typically hang at waist level. (see an example of a Shoulder Bag)

Sling Bag

A purse with a back pack style and shape but will only have a single strap. This strap is used to sling the bag over the shoulder and is usually considered more fashionable that a traditional back pack.

Suede Purse

A leather with a napped finish. Suede is the underside of the animal skin. Since suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, it is less durable and softer than a full-grain leather.

Swarovski Crystal Purse

A luxurious evening bag which is small in size, made with Swarovski brand crystals and historically used for formal events. These bags have grown so much in popularity that they are now also being utilized as cocktail bags and for semi-formal events as well. (see an example of a Swarovski Crystal Purse)

Top Grain Leather Purse

Leather that has had the split layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain leather. Its surface has been sanded and a finish coat added to the surface which results in a colder, plastic like feel. It typically has a greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather. (see an example of a Top Grain Leather Purse)

Tote Bag

A large multipurpose shoulder bag that is generally has an extremely large and open space for toting larger items and makes for a great carry-all bag. (see an example of a Tote Bag)

Wristlet Evening Bag

A clutch purse that has a strap-like handle that is placed around the wrist to avoid dropping the bag. (see an example of a Wristlet Evening Bag)