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The most important handbag materials today are leather, plastics, vinyl and polyurethane, which can imitate leather, suede, patent (both leather and vinyl) and straw textures. Straw (willow and wicker) are real straw. Pontova is synthetic straw. Toyo is crocheted paper straw, canvas, corduroy, velvet, peau do soie, faille, tapestry and rug material, gros pointe, brocade, satin, rayon and rayon blends, metallic fur and other novelty fabrics are also popular handbag materials. Snakeskin, eelskin, fish skin, reptilesand other exotic skins. The use of embossing has also become popular in recent years. Other techniques such as pleating, shirring, quilting and perforation also add surface interest.

Styles: Basic Handbag Shapes

athlet.gif (4961 bytes) Athletic Bag: A soft roomy bag used to carry sports gear and apparel.
backpk.gif (6948 bytes) Backpack: Drawing shoulder bag with double handles. Derived from luggage; designed to be carried across the back on either one or both shoulders.
box.gif (7552 bytes) Box: Rigid bag shaped like a square or rectangular box with a variety of handle treatments.
bucket.gif (6333 bytes) Bucket: Roomy bag shaped like a bucket usually with an open top and shoulder strap.
camera.gif (6609 bytes) Camera Bag: Adapted from bags used to carry photographic equipment; rectangular bag with rounded, zippered top and zippered outside compartment; may have additional compartments.
canteen.gif (6687 bytes) Canteen Bag: Round, stiff bag (usually with a shoulder strap) that looks like a traveler's water flask.
carpet.gif (6392 bytes) Carpet Bag: Large satchel-like bag; originally used for hand luggage and made out of carpet fabric.
clutch.gif (4883 bytes) Clutch: Any bag that does not have a handle and therefore must be carried in the hand.
convert.gif (6210 bytes) Convertible: Bag with a handle that can be tucked or folded inside turning it into a clutch.
draw.gif (5286 bytes) Drawstring: Bag with a drawstring-gathered closure; drawstring may form straps or it may have a separate strap; usually soft.
duffle.jpg (7954 bytes) Duffel: Cylindrical bag with short handles carried horizontally. It is based on the vertical drawstring bag which was used by soldiers to carry their gear.
envel.gif (5442 bytes) Envelope: Flat, square, or rectangular bag with a top flap. It may be any size and may be a clutch, a shoulder bag, or a bag with short handles.
feed.gif (6916 bytes) Feed Bag: Drawstring bag, usually with a shoulder strap, shaped like a horse's feed bag; also referred to as a bucket bag.
fish.gif (7471 bytes) Fishing Creel: Woven basket with a flap top and shoulder strap; true design conforms to body contour for comfort; originally used by English fly fisherman to keep the day's catch fresh.
flight.gif (8738 bytes) Flight Bag: Large bag sometimes with the insignia of an air carrier; shapes and color vary. It is used by passengers and crew to carry light belongings aboard the plane; often used in place of a tote bag.
moon.gif (5496 bytes) Half Moon Bag: Any bag shaped like a half moon with or without a handle; may be any size.
hobo.gif (7575 bytes) Hobo: Soft, large bag that usually has a zippered top and shoulder strap; it tends to crunch down when carried.
mini.gif (8307 bytes) Minaudiere: Small evening bag generally made from precious metals; often covered with semi-precious or precious gems or covered with fabric and/ or leather.
muff.gif (6509 bytes) Muff: Winter bag, usually made of fur, wool or velvet that has zippered compartments inside the opening for hands.
pouch.gif (6525 bytes) Pouch: Gathered or straight bag with a top closure usually a frame. It may be large, small, clutch, shoulder, short handled, sporty or dressy.
safari.gif (9653 bytes) Safari: Soft leather bag with curved shape, a top zipper, two top strap handles and two outside pockets with flaps and buckles.
satchel.gif (7827 bytes) Satchel: Bag with a wide, flat bottom, zippered or clasped top, two handles or straps; adapted from luggage, can be different sizes. Variations is the "doctor's bag".
school.gif (7689 bytes) Schoolbag: Roomy bag with a snapped, clasped or buckled top flap and one wide shoulder strap. Often a thick variation of an envelope bag.
should.gif (5676 bytes) Shoulder: Any bag with a shoulder strap.
swag.gif (6682 bytes) Swagger: Roomy, framed bag with two strap handles, open outside pockets and zippered, clasped or open top.
tote.gif (6576 bytes) Tote: Bag adapted from the paper shopping bag. Sturdy and rectangular with an open top and two strap handles. The inside may have zippered compartments.
quilt.gif (7537 bytes) Quilted Bag: Usually with a chain handle, and quilted.

Personal Leather Goods:


Billfold: Flat wallet with a clip or slip-in compartment that holds bills only.

Calculator Case: Small case that can fit into a pocket or handbag to hold a calculator.

Cardcase: Small hard or soft case to hold business cards.

Change Purse: Small purse in varying shapes that holds coins; may be attached to handbag; may have a zipper, clasp or snap closure.

Cigarette Case: Either hard or soft case for holding a pack of cigarettes; may have frame, flap, or snap closure.

Cosmetic Case: Small bag or any size or shape that is often waterproof lined to hold cosmetics. Usually has a zipper or snap closing.

Credit Card Case: Case that either snaps shut with plastic inserts or contains pockets for holding credit cards.

Datebook: Book with hours, days of the week, months of the year for use as an appointment planner or calendar. Also called an "organizer or secretary".

Eyeglass Case: Either hard or soft case for holding eyeglasses. May have frame, flap or snap closure and can hold single or multiple pairs.

French Purse: Frame purse with full-length, hinged change compartment backed up by a separate snapped section for bills and credit cards.

Jewelry Roll: Soft rectangular bag with compartments to hold jewelry; folds up and is usually tied to close.

Keycase: Either hard or soft case with metal rings to hold keys; may have snap or zipper closing.

Passport Case: Compartmentalized case to hold a passport; usually snap or tap closure.

Travel Kit: Small bag used to carry toiletries for travel. May have waterproof lining.

Wallet: Hard or soft case to hold money; may have zippers or snaps, and compartment for coins, bills, credit cards, etc. It can be very thin or bulky.

Copyright 1997, NFAA/FASA, New York, NY.
All rights reserved.