Design Elements: How Handles & Straps Define the Use of your Purses

Handles and straps on purses

You might be thinking that handles and straps, with all their eye-catching characteristics, are mainly decorative, placing more emphasis on compartments, pockets, materials, and closures while shopping for bags. In fact, straps and handles are even more crucial in choosing the right one. A style that allows you to hold and carry it in multiple ways boosts the comfort factor. With loops, hooks, clasps, snaps, buckles, and other hardware accents, straps can get detachable, adjustable, or concealable. Let’s check our styling options based on aesthetics and functionality because today, we really have the opportunity to find a purse that fits more than one occasion. Fashion dictates versatility in response to busy lifestyles, cosmopolitan living, and ever-expanding wardrobes. We found for you the keys to pleasant wear and numerous attention-grabbing looks.

Short Removable Strap

If you want to shift between two classic forms of off-duty bags – the handbag and the clutch – the short detachable strap will do the trick. On your way from an afternoon occasion to dinner, remove the strap, and you’ve got an evening bag in your hands. A medium-length strap will offer you a third alternative; carrying it underarm.

This ruched clamshell type – quite popular lately – describes the transition between the strictly hand-held occasion bags of the 50s and the chain-strap shoulder bags ladies started carrying in the 60s. The chunkiness of the rectangle chain links also shows the playful attitude of that decade. Gold-tone chains have more of a timeless allure, while cooler silvery hardware often equals a more casual attitude.        

Chain Straps


Margo Canteen Bag


The legendary Coco Chanel, inspired by styles people experimented with since medieval times, made chains a huge ongoing trend. Chains have something glam and edgy inherent in them. Our favorite Margo canteen bag, crafted from woven straw, features a chain handle and a longer chain strap so that you rock it both as a handbag and as a cross-body style. Chains are very convenient when they slide over fluffy outerwear or chunky knits as no-fuss discreet details. They also add a festive lady-chic touch to your summer clothes. The long fixed-length strap is ideal during the day whether you are running errands in the city or you are sightseeing somewhere in the world.

Adjustable Shoulder Straps

When you are provided with ample flexibility regarding the length of your straps, your mix & match possibilities are endless. Your purse gets even more multi-purpose when such straps are removable. The Viviana woven bag  is the absolute expression of this design philosophy. Equipped with two detachable straps, it can be used as a shoulder bag, handbag, underarm bag, and clutch. Yet, its most important feature is that the vegan leather strap is adjustable in length so that you are even able to wear it cross-body. Adjustable length means that it perfectly fits your height plus your preferences. The latest trend or necessity of wearing a bag closer to your chest can be followed by shortening the strap a bit more. Just slide and secure the buckle to your ideal spot.      

Multiple Removable Straps

Gemma Shoulder Bag

All handbags lie within the category of the famous from the 50s “top-handle bags.” Until then, that was the only proper way to hold a bag. Proven to be inconvenient but often quite fashionable, this style comes back with added functionality. A top-handle is ultra-chic and eligible for a dinner or other small-duration occasion where a classic dress code is the norm. Removable straps can turn it into a hands-free accessory that helps you juggle more than one task at the same time. Plus, it can carry much more weight without getting you tired. Throughout the day, you might also want to change your outfit from morning casual to work-appropriate to dinner-ready. This is why we would recommend a purse like the 3-tone Gemma. Its wide grommeted strap – almost looking like a rock & roll guitar strap – is off-duty while the slimmer, adjustable one complements an elegant business look. You can shift from one to the other without having to shift between bags. In the evening, just remove both, and hold it from its timeless handle.     

Single Adjustable Strap

Arlette Shoulder Bag


Back in the late 19th century, poor migrant workers in the US were carrying pretty much the same slouchy, crescent-shaped bag we name today after them as “hobo,” a term that has been recently suggested to be removed from the fashion vocabulary. Yet, the style itself has been venerated by an array of editors throughout the years starting from the 30s. What is quite interesting about it, is that it comes, more often than not, with a non-detachable strap that completes the half-moon silhouette into a circle. Enhancing its functionality, some of these are of adjustable length. This means that although minimalist, this bag fits your body and lifestyle. Based on that, the woven-straw-and-vegan-leather Arlette comes with a strap and an extension that can be fastened together via hoop clasps. That way, you can have an underarm bag or handbag, a shoulder bag, and a cross-body bag.   

Double Handles

Double-handle bags exist since ancient times. More than 4,000 years ago, Egyptians were holding such styles crafted from linen and papyrus. They combine well with clamshell and tote designs because they allow you to balance the weight of the content on both sides. They were initially handbags, yet modern versions like the woven-straw-and-vegan-leather Estelle include a discreet longer strap that allows you to rock it as shoulder and cross-body bag. It’s always good to have options while also celebrating iconic designs from the bag’s history. An additional perk from this style, it that these double top handles have been intentionally made a little longer or oversize to tangle freely from your elbow or wrist. They also have a solid structure so that they stand upright when not used. It’s all in the details, of course!


Pursh Collection offers a variety of bags with various straps and handle styles. Take a look at our full collection of handbags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags and more and remember: consider what needs you have for function and comfort as you decide on your new bag.

1 comment

great blog thanks for sharing wonderful blog

extra small gym bag

dufflebagforgymonline February 04, 2023

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

- Coco Chanel