A women’s shoulder handbag is any purse that is designed to be carried on the shoulder. And the shoulder, as you know, is the part of the human body that connects the upper arm bone to the neck, via the collarbone and shoulder blade. Okay, enough anatomy—the point is, you have a shoulder, and should therefore be shouldering a bag.
Good question. As we all know, most bags find their way onto our shoulders at one point or another, even if that’s not really how they’re meant to be carried. A crossbody bag, for instance, is carried on the shoulder, but because it hangs across the body, it is most definitely not considered a shoulder bag. A clutch is also not a shoulder bag, as it never, or rarely, has a strap that can be used over the shoulder. A wristlet, obviously, is not a shoulder bag. And a backpack, since it is meant to be carried on both shoulders, is not a shoulder bag. Now, it could be debated that ‘shoulder bag’ is an umbrella term for hobo bags, bucket bags, totes, saddle bags, etc. And while it may be true, for instance, that a hobo bag is a shoulder bag, a shoulder bag may not necessarily be a hobo bag. Confused? It’s like this; a shoulder bag is a purse in its most classic form. It’s often square or rectangle, and made from leather, faux leather or other synthetics. It’s not too big and not too small—just right for carrying the essentials, and never too heavy to give you shoulder problems. And if the silhouette changes, then it is at once a shoulder bag and a bucket bag, or tote, or what-have-you.
The classic shoulder bag ranges from basic to embellished. Most shoulder bags are small to midsize and are often rectangular in shape. Some bags are more structured, while others are slouchy. When shopping for a shoulder bag, think about where you’ll be using it. If you need something that can do a lot of different jobs, a basic leather bag is perfect, as it goes with anything, anywhere. For dressing up and going out, look for a bag that’s embellished with beads, fringe, studs, feathers, etc. Also keep the length of the strap and strap material in mind—you may have to compromise comfort for style, and vice versa, depending on the occasion.