Types of Bags- More than 100 Different Styles

types of bags

While it may be common knowledge that the two general types of fashion accessories are split into items that can be worn and items that can be carried. The latter, being a great way to add dimension to any look. Although accessories that can be carried may range from an umbrella to a cane or even a hand-fan. Bags are what really make a statement that can change with every ensemble. Available in different sizes, colours, textures and patterns, there is a bag for pretty much any everyday activity. 

Much like men’s leather jackets and the many different types of women’s outerwear, bags also go back a long way to prehistoric times when a bag was simply the length of an animal skin or hide that later evolved to include cotton or woven fabrics. As for the shape, there wasn’t any at the time, as the bag was simply rolled up from the edges inwards and held in place using strings and chords of the same materials. One of the big reasons why bags have thrived and evolved over so many years, if not more, is because of its ability to carry many loose items and materials that would be impossible to carry with two hands. 

Early Appearances: Bags for Men and Women

History of bags

Aside from written history that tells of bags for men and women in earlier times, art also sheds light on some of the early appearances of the bags that we are familiar with today. This includes the Waist Bag or even the Fanny Pack that has been found in hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt. Men going about their work during the day with a bag tied to their waists was common in those times. The Pouch Bag is another very common appearance in ancient times which people used to store their money. Perhaps the early versions of today’s wallets. 

Drawstring Bags were another type of bag used by women that carried intricate design and detail that was often handcrafted. Interestingly, people of the day stored their money in pouches that were commonly tied under their clothes for safe-keeping. Of-course these were placed in areas that offered easy access for the wearer. Perhaps of all the types of bags used in the past that we are aware of today would be travel bags and most especially suitcases. Again, these were available in different sizes and were made from various materials. So that was a brief look at the past and some of the first kinds of bags for men and women. Let’s jump into this interesting listing of the different types of bags for different occasions. 

Athletic Bags

Athletic bag

Also known as Sports Bags, Gym Bags and by default Duffle Bags. It’s anyone’s guess what these bags look like. Duffles of-course. One of the reasons why these names are commonly interchangeable though is probably based on function. While all these bags share a similar shape and design, what sets them apart are the sizes based on what they are to be used for. For instance, a Sports Bag would be relatively larger in size especially if it is used to carry sports gear. The same applies for Gym Bags  which may be smaller in size as opposed to Sports Bags which is perfect for carting to the gym. 

Bottle Bags

Bottle bag

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Bottle Bags are specifically designed to carry bottles. These may be used as gifts for others or for oneself. Bottle bags are available in a variety of materials from heavy paper to card and even fabric including leather. Bottle Bags are great for carrying bottles that can vary from water to alcohol or quite simply juice. Over the years, Bottle Bags have evolved to traditionally carry one to two bottles, depending on the size of bag. 

Net Bags

Net Bag

Similar to the point on Athletic Bags, Net Bags also known as Mesh Bags or even String Bags are constructed by using yarn, non woven synthetic materials or strands to form a net or web like structure with a solid plate like base. These types of bags are often used for grocery shopping, mainly dry or packaged items that will hold within this considerably stretchable bag. The best part of this type of bag is that it is reusable and can hold items in place for as long as needed. Provided the items are not small enough to fall through the net. To highlight the popularity of this style of bag, Net Bags are also used in homes as it offers great storage and durability. 

Saddle Bags

Saddle Bag

Traditionally used while horse riding, Saddle Bags are placed at different positions from the front to the side and even back of the saddle. Made mostly of leather, Saddle Bags are a bit heavier than most bag styles. Interestingly, there are different types of Saddle Bags such as Pommel Bags that are often found in the front of the saddle. Similarly, Paired Saddle Bags go on either side of the horse’s hips which helps the bag to stay balanced. Likewise, a Cantle Bag is a type of Saddle Bag that goes behind the saddle. Today, despite its equestrian links, Saddle Bags are quite the style statement for women and men alike. Quite notably, this would be one of the more popular types of bags for women while also being the same for the more fashion forward men. 



Commonly used by students, hikers, campers and many others in need of ample storage, safety and durability. Backpacks, also known as Rucksack, Knapsack and Booksack, can be either a bag with or without a frame formation. Made of fabric as well as leather, Backpacks can be worn on the back with two straps that go over the shoulders to help keep it in place. Backpacks are ideal for those who not only require both hands but also stable balance. This bag style also makes for a great option for sports, travel, picnics and sleepovers.  

Shoulder Bags

Shoulder Bags

Perhaps one of the most used and well-known bag styles for women would be Shoulder Bags. Simply highlighting the fact that this type of bag is to be worn on one shoulder or on the forearm as of current trend. This bag does not have a distinct design or detail meaning that any shape of bag enabling the wearer to use it over the shoulder qualifies as a Shoulder Bag. Made of leather or any other natural or synthetic materials, Shoulder Bags can be used to carry personal items that may be daily necessities of every woman. However, there are other types of Shoulder Bags that are not gender specific and may be used for such activities as shopping. 



Mostly used by businessmen, lawyers and anyone belonging to a white collar profession. Briefcases are typically a hard body, box shaped, narrow bag. Featuring a handle for carrying, they are used to carry papers of different kinds and of various importance. These types of bags for men have also evolved over the years. Moving from a case to carry ‘briefs’ hence the name Briefcase to a bag style for men to carry such items as electronic devices such as tablets, chargers etc. Briefcases are traditionally made of different types of leather, vinyl, strong types of fabric, even thin metal and plastic. As opposed to the Briefcases of the past, contemporary Briefcases offer more storage, compartments, pockets or sleeves along with padding and yes even a shoulder strap if men prefer to carry them on the shoulder rather than by hand.

Laptop Bags

Laptop Bag

Not very far from Briefcases are Laptop Bags. These two types of bags initially shared a similar shape, size and structure. While the contents of these two bag styles are also not too different, it is important to note that the materials of Laptop Bags were traditionally nylon or polyester. Over the years, Laptop Bags began to be available in leather and today can be found in different colours, shapes and sizes not to mention many different materials and hardware. While the traditional style of Laptop Bags remain similar to Briefcases, many people prefer other types of bags that can serve the same purpose. To carry laptops and electronic gadgets and accessories. Hence, Backpacks made the cut as Laptop Bags alternative.  

Beach Bags

Beach Bag

These types of bags are specifically designed to carry personal items along with such things as towels, bathing suits, sun-tan lotion, glasses, books etc. There is no fixed design or size that can be linked to Beach Bags but they should be big enough to carry the items mentioned above. Most Beach Bags are made of canvas, while some other alternatives include polyester, straw or even nylon. Some Beach Bags have regular handles for carrying while other styles include a strap big enough to carry over the shoulder. Again, there are many variations of Beach Bags available and the best choice would be the one that serves its purpose the best. Based on personal preference. 

Drawstring Bags

Drawstring Bag

One of the bag styles to have a link to history would be Drawstring Bags. One of those types of bags that are not gender specific, these bags are made of lightweight material such as polyester, denim, canvas and nylon. The whole point of this bag style is to offer effortless storage, durability and ease. The fact that these bags do not have a rigid structure make them a great option for active situations. Held in place and closed by a drawstring that also serves as straps or chords that fit over both shoulders make it even better an option. Drawstring Bags are available in different colours and designs and also work well as a type of Beach Bag, Book Bag and Sports Bag such as those carried while cycling. Based on versatility, Drawstring Bags would be front-runners as they would be based on functionality and durability as well. 

To be Continued…

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