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Handbag vs Purse - What are the Differences?

Handbags vs purses - what makes them different? People have been wondering for ages. While there are some obvious differences in both of these styles of bags, for the most part, they seem the same. So how can you tell one from the other?

Both handbags and purses can be used for storing your regular essentials. But, the types can mean different things depending on where you are, as well as in the fashion industry. Let’s get into understanding handbags vs purses.

What is a Purse?

The concept of a purse came from the idea of a small bag that could hold currency. And the Cambridge dictionary describes the purse as “a bag with handle or straps going to place over a woman’s shoulder for keeping money, keys, cosmetics, a comb or a pocketbook.”

The idea of a purse being a small bag is still ongoing in the United Kingdom. Around the world, there are a lot of countries that consider the same for purses. But, when it comes to American English, purses and handbags start sounding similar. The main thing about purses is that they have no particular size. They can be tiny, and they can also be large.

In the US, purses and handbags are interchangeable. So in a casual setting, Americans will probably call this bigger bag a purse, or even this smaller one. But in other regions, they will only consider this bag as a purse. So, Americans are a bit more liberal with the term.

So, what do they call small and big handbags where you live? Do they have separate names? Because that is probably the only difference between these two types of bags when people use them regularly. Either way, ‘purse’ is now a more common term for casual bags with strap handles than it was before.

What is a Handbag?

If you think the word handbag is not used often, you are not wrong. This is because handbags slowly came into casual accessories after the fashion world changed them for women’s use. It used to be only considered a man’s hand luggage in the past.

The ‘handbag’ is a more fashion-friendly word to describe these wearable bags. When Louis Vuitton first started making bags like smaller suitcases, those bags got the new name Handbag. Their idea of a handbag was a bag that had a big, strong structure with a lot of pockets inside. Organizing your things inside the bag was a top priority.

Now, why do people consider handbags more fashion-forward? It is because the fashion community does not like using the word ‘purse’ to describe handbags. That is why fashion labels will name their products handbags when you might think they are purses.

Handbags also refer to high-end bags like these. But any bag that has a similar handle structure and size is also a handbag.

Using Handbags vs Purses

Whether an individual should look for a handbag or a purse is going to depend on where you are, and what you want to store inside your bag. Handbags vs. purses do not matter when you are simply looking for a bag to hold your necessities on a regular day. But when it comes to looking fashionable or storing small things, it can get different.

If you are trying to add a fashionable accessory to your outfit, look for handbags rather than purses. This is because fashion labels and brands like to advertise these accessory bags as handbags. And so, you will find more options and styles.

Then again, if storing small and intricate things is your concern - look for small purses. The size of purses can range from very small to large, so you can pick the one that fits perfectly for your needs.

Types of Handbags and Purses - Clutches and Pocketbooks

Handbags and purses are not the only types of bags you might get confused by. There are other types too, clutches and pocketbooks. These bags can be considered more specific types of handbags and purses. But they are helpful if you are wondering what type of handbag or purse would be better in a situation.


A pocketbook is a mid-sized bag with handles similar to any handbag or purse. Although these bags are still available today, nobody uses the word pocketbook anymore. What it can do, though, is specify what size of bag you would want.


Handbag vs Purse - What are the Differences?

Clutches are becoming more and more common every day. It is an essential accessory for any fancy outfit. And its petite size can hold only the absolute necessities. If you are torn between a small handbag or a tiny purse, a clutch is probably what you want.

Clutches are more comfortable to use regularly as well. If someone wants to go out for a while or does not have any space to carry large bags, casual clutches are also available. Sleek and simple clutches are good for formal wear. And in high fashion, you will see the more high-end ones.

 Whether Its a Handbag or Purses You Want - Choose

A one-stop-shop for all kinds of handbag needs is hard to find. You have to consider good materials, a big range of styles, and also the trustworthiness of the manufacturer. Fortunately, SLBAG is a China-based handbag and purse manufacturer that can listen to your specifications and deliver the best results.

We have a wide range of material types and sources to choose from. Designs depend on our clients, and we can bring your idea to life. You can look through our existing portfolio and decide on the kind of bags you want for your business. Through sampling and quality checks, we promise to deliver the best product.


The handbag vs purse debate is never going to stop. Because of versatility, it is easy to get confused about what kind of bag would be the best for your outfits or even your business. While you browse through your ideas, just consider the perks of using each kind of bag in each situation - and you are all set.