We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Shoulder Bag?

By S. Gonzales
Updated Feb 03, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A shoulder bag is a handbag or purse with at least one strap attached to it that is long enough to fit over the shoulder. The straps generally are securely reinforced on the bag. The strap is intended to be looped over the shoulder so that the shoulder sustains the bag and the user can carry it hands-free.

What differentiates a shoulder bag from other bags are the straps. These straps can be thin, wide, long or relatively short, and their intended purpose is very evident. The strap is meant to facilitate hands-free transport of the shoulder bag. Straps might exist on other types of bags, but many other bags are designed to be carried by hand, using the inner elbow, on the wrist or through other methods.

There are many types of shoulder bags, and some of the most popular include cross-bodies, hobos, barrels and totes. Cross-body shoulder bags can be carried on the shoulder, or they can — like their name implies — be slung across the body by putting their wearer's head between the straps. An advantage of using a cross-body shoulder bag is that it helps distribute the weight of the bag across the body instead of centralizing it on one shoulder. This is helpful when a bag is full of heavy materials such as books.

Hobo bags have a trademark slouchy shape to them. Stylish and trendy, they can look as if the opening of the bags are gathered or indented. Barrel-shaped bags resemble their namesake; they look like horizontal barrels attached to straps. Totes are ubiquitous and come in a fabrics ranging from plain canvas to leather. Their square or rectangle shape and sturdy straps are designed to carry a variety of items, such as books or groceries.

Finding an appropriate shoulder bag can be a challenge for the novice shopper. Shoppers should consider how they intend to use the bag as well as their body type in order to pick out a bag that complements them and their lifestyle. Generally, if a shopper is looking for a flattering bag, she should choose a shoulder bag that closely mirrors her body type. Petite women would do well to choose small bags, and larger women might consider bigger bags.

A matching shoulder bag can be the perfect accessory to any woman's wardrobe. While some might prefer to buy shoulder bags of different colors and materials for varying occasions and seasons, others might buy only one multipurpose bag. Multipurpose shoulder bags usually are made out of a sturdy material such as leather and are built for frequent use, making them economical and durable.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.