What do you call a bag that goes across your body? There are so many controversies on what names a bag should be called.

There are those who believe that handbags are not shoulder bags and others who will say that purses are strictly handless bags.

This can leave the user very confused about which one is which. A google search on a particular bag type will give you varying results and you may need to sift through contents to get what you are actually looking for. 

I am here to clarify this, follow me closely. Let’s dive in!


Purses that go across the body are called crossbody bags. Let’s remember that purses do not necessarily mean small handless pouches or clutches.

A handbag can as well be called a purse and if it has long straps that can be crossed diagonally over the body then we can as well call them a crossbody bag.

There are thousands of small purses with long chain straps that can either be tucked inside the purse itself and held in the hands like the ideal purse everybody knows or brought out and worn as crossbody bags.

One thing is certain about names, a name will most likely be given to the bag based on how it is worn or what it is used for.

Hence, if a bag is worn across the body, then it will definitely be called a crossbody or we can use a cross over the body bag.


What do you call a bag that goes across your body

A crossbody bag is a name given to bags that go across your body. This is because bags tend to get their names from either how they are worn or what they are used for. A crossbody bag which is a bag worn diagonally across the body is no exception.


Shoulder bags in simple terms are bags that we can easily sling on our shoulders with little or no stress.

There’s one thing that all shoulder bags are known for. This one thing is the straps. Shoulder bag straps have one thing in common, they usually have single straps that can be adjusted to either be long or short depending on how the wearer wants to wear them.

Bags that hang on Shoulders

There are still chain straps that are hardly adjustable and are customized to either be long or short.

One funny thing about shoulder bags is the fact that most people naturally feel that shoulder bags belong to just the womenfolk and are all in the same class as handbags.

But let’s debunk this assumption by explaining that even satchel bags so long as they can be carried on the shoulders are shoulder bags.

Shoulder Sling Handbag

A close friend to the shoulder bags is the sling bag because both of them have very similar features and it’s difficult to tell one apart from the other.


Sling backpack Crossbody bag that goes over your Shoulder

Sling backpacks are a class of bags that can go over the shoulders. Crossbody bags of all breeds and types are still a bag category that can be worn over the shoulder. Let’s see some sling backpack designs.


waist bag put around the waist

A bag that you pur around your waist is called a waist bag just like a wristlet is worn on the wrists. There’s an amazing thing about waist bags.

The manner in which they are worn gave rise to other names which can be associated with them. We all know that belts are worn on the waistline right?

Now, if you don’t want to call a bag worn around the waist a waist bag, the closest thing that comes to mind will be a belt bag.

Both mean the same thing and both names are adapted to suit what the wearers are more familiar with. A waist bag can be used in place of a belt.

A waist bag can be strapped around the waist and pushed back to rest on one’s butt and it becomes a butt bag.

You can still polish up the name a bit by calling it a fanny pack which still means a butt bag or a bum bag.


Crossbody bags are one of the most diverse classes of bags in the history of bags. 80 percent of every other bag design can at one point or the other be worn as a crossbody bag.

I will give good kudos to whoever first invented the diagonal wearing of bags because this style is practically suitable for everyone.

A crossbody bag as we all know is any bag we can comfortably wear across the body.

Some of the bags that can easily pass as crossbody bags include sling bags, shoulder bags, chest bags, fanny packs, satchel bags, messenger bags, tote bags,  and even fancy purses with long chain straps.


Sling bags

After the crossbody bag is the sling bag in terms of versatility. The name sling bag was derived from the word sling which means to hang.

Any bag that can be hung on any part of the body can easily be called a sling bag.

There’s a unique design that comes with most sling bags. Their straps are usually bold and sewn on the bag like backpacks.

The only difference between these types of sling bags and their counterpart backpacks lies in the number of straps.

While backpacks have double straps sewn side by side to enable the wearer to hang them one after the other on his shoulders, sling bags have just one strap and are slung either diagonally or otherwise on the shoulder.

Sling Crossbody bag for men and women

What happened to other bag designs that we can also hang on our shoulders? Well, these other bag designs are still sling bags.

A bag becomes a sling bag as far as it can hang anywhere on the body. It will stop being a sling bag once it becomes strapable.


It will be very easy to profile men as a gender that cares less about bags but a realization that most men love bags more than women might shock you.

In recent times and even in ancient times, men have proven to be a gender that embraces fashion and all it entails. There are a variety of bag designs tailored to suit men’s fashion needs.

The purse for instance is a term associated closely with women but do you know that men carry purses? Yes, they do. Men literally have names for their purses.

Their purses are even more stylish and more appealing than most women’s purses. I’ve seen some women who would rather go for a man’s leather crossbody purse than the exquisite-looking purses for women.

For me, men love bags as much as women and even a little more especially as the fashion world has evolved to a point where there are no discriminations on which gender wears which outfit.

Handbags were originally a woman’s thing, but can I shock you that men are beginning to rock handbags even more than women?

Let’s see some bag designs that men love to wear;

  • Wallets
  • Crossbody bags of all sizes
  • Satchel bags
  • Handbags
  • Sling bags
  • Purses
  • Clutches
  • Messenger bags
  • Fanny packs
  • Backpacks

The list is unending. There are some men who prefer very feminine bag colors like orange, pink, yellow, and purple.

Besides, who made that rule that says there are specific colors for men and women?

Let’s just say the world is fast evolving and minimum distinctions between men’s and women’s bag styles are the new normal.


We’ve established the fact that bags that can be hung on the shoulders are what we call shoulder bags. I can say that any back be it single or double strapped that can at one point be hung on the shoulder is a shoulder bag.

Most people have never thought of the fact that a backpack can fall gracefully into the category of shoulder bags.

Now let’s see these two features of a backpack.


The backpack has two straps. These straps are usually bold although there are some backpacks designed to have thin and very fancy straps.

Rarely do backpacks come with chain straps probably because they are designed to contain more things which give them the tendency to be heavier.


Backpacks are usually positioned to hang on our backs with their straps resting on our shoulders. There are some who would prefer to carry their Backpacks the other way round where the bag rests on the stomach.

Whichever way it is positioned a unifying factor for all Backpacks is that they have two straps that are usually positioned to rest or hang on the shoulders.

From all we’ve seen, it’s easy to see that a backpack can fall in the category of a shoulder bag.

The only difference between the backpack and other shoulder bags is that while backpacks are designed with two straps that rest on the two shoulders of the carrier, other shoulder bags have just one strap that can either be hung on one shoulder or thrown across the shoulder as a crossbody.

Let’s see below some other types of shoulder bags and what makes them shoulder bags.

Tote bags:

Single straps can be bold, thin, or medium-sized, designed to be hand-held or hung on the shoulders. Can easily pass for a handbag because of its style.

Messenger bags:

Large in size with adjustable straps, used by both genders, and can be hung on one shoulder or hung across two shoulders like a crossbody bag.

Basket bags:

Has the unique design of a grocery bag. Usually designed in different shapes. There are some that are designed to look like actual baskets in every way.

Can have short straps, mostly double straps sewn to face each other and designed to hang on one shoulder or across two shoulders as in the fashion of crossbody bags.

Hobo bags:

Has a unique curvy shape that gives it a soft look. Materials are usually leather and are designed with very bold straps that are actually an extension of the bag.

These bags are designed to hang on one shoulder and can hardly be used as crossbody bags.

Sling bags:

Let’s stick to the concept that easily comes to mind when we talk of sling bags.

They are sporty in appearance and are designed to look like semi-backpacks with single straps.

They can be hung on one shoulder or across the shoulders as crossbody bags.

Lady bag:

Let’s call the designer handbags of today, the lady bag. They come in varying designs and are the prototypes of different brands but one unique feature remains.

They usually have two straps, one set of shorter straps facing each other and usually short enough to make the bags to be worn as wristlets and a longer strap could be adjustable or not which is usually designed to hang on one shoulder.

Chest bags:

Fanny Pack Chest Bag

It’s a glorified fanny pack. It can be called a shoulder bag because the straps are long enough to hang on the shoulder.

You can choose to hang it loosely on one shoulder or you can stick to the original concept of hanging it across your two shoulders so that the bag itself, rests on your chest.

EDC Chest Bag for men


Let’s stick to 5 handbags that you should probably check out in your next shopping spree.

Bowling bag:

Every woman loves a bowling bag. Structured to be used for a variety of purposes ranging from office or professional uses to very casual uses, this type of handbag remains one of the most popular handbag types.

The bowling bag is structured to have a handle and a longer strap which gives it a versatile look.

Thus, you can either decide to hold it in your hands as the name implies or you can choose to hang it on your shoulders.

Hobo bag:

The hobo bag is unique in all ramifications. Although not most women would love to have a hobo bag, those who do like hobo bags can rock it in virtually every outfit.

The design is such that gives the wearer a different kind of poise. The bag has a casual look but at the same time has a way of bringing out the best in all outfits.

The hobo bag is designed to come in similar shapes but in different sizes. There are very large ones that can be used for travel depending on your travel duration, these bags can contain at least 3 to 4 extra gowns.

There are medium-sized hobo bags that are used for a number of day-to-day activities and tiny but fashionable ones that are handheld.


We can call them pouches or clutches with handles attached by the sides. The wearer slips her arm inside the handles whenever she wants to carry them.

I think the handles are attached for support and security reasons, if your bag is strapped around your wrists, it’s very difficult to lose the bag or forget that you stepped out with a bag because the feeling of the bag around your wrists will be a constant reminder.

The wristlets are designed in varying shapes and beautiful colors are highly fashionable.

They are worn for cocktails, dinners, proms, dates, and a whole lot of other outings that require you to carry nothing much except for your phone and probably your small mirror, small powder case, lip gloss, your ATM card, and some small extra cash.

Designer handbags:

Designer handbags are those special bags that you will need to save up to get. See this post to get the top 7 designer bags every woman should own.

They are not regular day-to-day use handbags and their designs vary according to their brands.

They normally come with structured short handles on top and a longer adjustable strap. The recent designs are graced with extra things like teddy bears, bows, balls made of furs, ribbons, fancy keys, etc.

All these extra attachments add beauty and glamor to these types of bags.

They are the bags we use for special occasions like weddings, parties, and reunions where you will need to look your best, sometimes we use them to work or interviews and especially when we want to prove that we are not begging for money.

Tote bag: 

Have you ever seen a bag that is both casual and official? Well, that’s the tote bag.

You can use a tote bag for work purposes, for school, to the market, to the beach, to your mom’s place, to your boyfriend’s house, to go see some friends, or on dates.

The tote bag transcends all purposes and is a cool way to spice up your look. They are usually not too in your face or flashy and their unique blend of colors makes them quite versatile.


Get a tote bag. Why did I choose a tote bag? In my years of exploration of the world of affordable fashion, I’ve come to realize that cost is not what makes you outstanding.

What makes you outstanding is your look, no matter how cheap or expensive whatever you are wearing is.

So let’s say, you can’t afford to use the only designer handbag you have for every occasion for fear of easy wear and tear and your hard toils of saving to buy one, going down the drain, what other type of handbag will give you a good look without making you look inferior? A tote bag it is.

Here are some reasons why tote bags are the bags you should get.


When it comes to poise, tote bags are classic. There are a variety of designs produced by the all-knowing manufacturers to give you that look you’ve always craved for.

Let’s say you own at least three tote bags, one of them is a casual leather tote bag, the other is an Ophidia medium tote bag and the last is a picnic tote bag, I don’t see the reasons why using them interchangeably for all occasions will be a bad idea.


They come in beautiful colors that can go with virtually everything.

Regular leather tote bags will usually come in colors like black, brown, dark red, and other dull colors that are considered colors that match everything.


The tote bags are usually sizable. They are designed to contain virtually everything you will be

needing on a daily basis. Carrying them out will usually not require you to go with an additional bag to put in your extra items such as your shoes, laptops, etc. like most people do.


Their shapes are unique and have an alluring look that is usually not too pronounced like the hobo bags but still exquisite and very feminine.


There is a must-have in every woman’s closet. Not because frivolities are the in thing but because it’s necessary to have a wider range of choices to always select from, especially when it comes to your outfit and the bags that should go with it.

Designer bags:

These are what I call investment bags. What say you about bags made of precious stones like diamonds?

They are statement makers and if you want to uphold your status as a woman of affluence, strive to get at least one designer bag that will cause people to stare at you when you are making an entrance.

I’m not saying you should go for what you cannot afford! All I’m saying is that you strive to spice up your wardrobe a bit. It’s not always good to be seen wearing the usual or the normal all year round.

A little investment in your appearance will do no harm. If you can’t get a bag with precious stones, you can get a fancy bag made with fine leather.

Messenger bags:

They are the go-to bags in terms of size and design. It’s always necessary to have at least two messenger bags that you can use interchangeably.

Having one messenger bag is not very ideal unless you have other bag types you can be changing it with. Messenger bags are your work, church, and school bags.

Tote bags: I love the tote bags not just because of their unique designs but because the word tote reminds me of service.

This might sound a little strange to you but when I say service I mean a bag that does virtually everything for you.

An average woman will have not less than 3 tote bags of different types, one for fashion, one for groceries, and another one as a regular bag for everyday use.

Most people have more than one tote bag not because they intentionally decided to get them but because their preferences keep tilting towards tote bags because of their uniqueness.

Purses (Clutches):

Purse Clutch for women

I have just 2  purses. One that I use for sophisticated outings, like cocktails, and another one I converted into a wallet.

There are times when you want to be as free as possible and carrying an additional bag with straps no matter how weightless the bag is might be like too much load, but at the same time, you won’t want to go out with bare hands, a purse or a clutch will do the needful on such days.

Casual sling bags:

There are a million types of sling bags in different designs and sizes. They are casual bags you can wear on jeans, gowns, skirts, shorts, and sneakers.

Casual Sling Bag

These casual sling bags are used for a variety of purposes and are not too sophisticated by design. They are designed to give you a warm and casual appearance.

On days when you don’t want to look too overdressed for the occasion, a casual sling bag can help tone down your look.


You can choose to call them by their names, sling bags, or you can refer to them as shoulder bags. But if you can easily wear them diagonally across your chest, then call them crossbody bags.


Bags with straps are called a number of names depending on their designs. The sling bag is a bag with long straps designed to be hung on the shoulder.

The shoulder bag is a bag with a strap that goes over the shoulder. The backpack is also a bag with a strap.

The satchel, crossbody bags, and handbags are all bags with straps and are called varying names according to their unique features.


There are so many similarities between bags that makes them very difficult to differentiate one type of bag from another.

However, one should always be on the lookout for the not-so-many differences that distinguish one bag from another as these differences serve as guides to knowing which bag type best goes for which outfit and occasion.



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