A crossbody bag is a women’s purse that is worn with the strap across the body—hanging on one shoulder with the strap running across the chest and back—like a messenger bag.
There are two things that make the crossbody great. One is security. Unlike a tote or satchel, which requires an active wrist, elbow or shoulder for carrying, the crossbody simply slips over the head onto one shoulder, with the strap crossing the body diagonally, and essentially securing it into place so it doesn’t fall off, and you don’t misplace it. Which leads into the second great things about the crossbody, which is that it’s a hands-free purse. Once it’s on, your hands are free for your cellphone, coffee, and, of course, shopping bags. This makes it the perfect purse for travel and errands.
The crossbody, in its original messenger style, has been around forever. Well, almost. It’s well documented that crossbody messenger bags had their moment during the US Civil War in the 1860s. Based on their functionality during that era, we can probably assume that they were in use long before then to securely transport important documents.
Like all women’s handbags, there is a plethora (don’t you just love that word, but so rarely get to use it?) of choices when it comes to crossbody styles. In general, crossbody bags are on the small side. Not quite mini bags, but not messenger bags either—somewhere in between, like roomy enough for keys, phone, makeup bag and maybe an iPad. As far as materials and construction, leather crossbody bags with fringe, studs or hardware are classic, as are faux leather, nylon and other synthetic fabrics. Straps are usually the same material as the bag itself, or on a statement bag, may be chain or otherwise embellished. Crossbody bags can be worn high or low on the body, depending on strap length and adjustability.