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Handles & Straps 101

Handles and straps are two of the most important components of a bag. Handles are mainly used for shoulder bags, while straps are used for crossbody bags. Most straps are interchangeable, but handles aren't and are made specifically for that particular bag design. You may have noticed that some accessories have handles, while others have straps - or both! That's because we all have different preferences when it comes to how we want to design the handbags!


Handles are the part of your bag that you hold onto. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but we're going to focus on four main types:

Top handle

The Top Handle is a classic. It is used to hold the bag in your hand at all times. You can wear it on your forearm as well.

It looks neat and polished and is usually found on very structured bags.

Having a handle like this can be practical it's not very comfortable if used for a longer period of time.

Flat Handle

A flat handle is a traditional design that can come in different lengths for different uses. It may include different hardwares for different purposes - most commonly buckles for length adjustment or rings for aesthetic purposes. These handles can sit comfortably on your shoulder as well-if they are long enough.

Rolled Handle

Rolled handles are a great way to give a special touch to your bag. Seen in classic bags like the Hermes Birkin Bag, the rolled handles make it more comfortable to carry. The handles are definitely heavier and thicker in the hand, as compared to the other handle styles.


Straps are an important part of a handbag. They can be long or short, wide, or narrow, and made of different materials. The strap should be comfortable to carry and match the style of the handbag.

Crossbody Strap

A crossbody strap is a convenient addition to your design. It evenly distributes weight across the person's shoulder, chest and back, making it easy to carry heavier items for a longer period of time. Some designs include removable crossbody straps that can be linked to the handbag, making it optional to use. They can be made with different materials that serve different purposes - from webbing to chains.

Wrist strap

Wrist straps are usually used in clutches and smaller bags. They don't hold heavy items and are there to offer extra security when you're carrying your bag--and give you more like a small "leash" extension. Some of the wrist straps might be removable and interchangeable with other strap lengths. This is always a fun style.

Shoulder strap

The shoulder strap is designed to be looped over the shoulder, so the handbag can be carried by the user hands-free. The straps might be thin, broad, long, or short; and they can be either part of the bag or removable. They are practical and great for handbags that are designed for daily use.

We hope this blog post helps you to understand the basics of handles and straps. If you are still wondering which handle or strap to use, make sure to schedule your Design Consult today. We'll go over which styles work the best for your product & brand.


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