How To Wear Over-the-Shoulder Bags? Discover the Details

by / Apr 27, 2020

Over-the-shoulder bags are both timeless and versatile. Simply put, an over-the-shoulder bag is one that can be worn on one shoulder with a single strap. This broad definition allows for plenty of variance when it comes to over-the-shoulder bag designs—you can find these bags available in seemingly infinite shapes, sizes, and styles.

Knowing the details of the over-the-shoulder style will help find the perfect new bag to add to your collection. If you are looking to treat yourself or a loved one to a new bag just because, continue reading to find out everything you need to know about this iconic style.

SENREVE Fiore Bucket BagFiore Bucket Bag in Amica Misto Currant

The Basics of Over-the-Shoulder Bags

The terminology to describe these bags is vast and sometimes confusing. What is an over-the-shoulder bag really called? Where should you begin your search. We often shorten the label “over-the-shoulder bag” to simply “shoulder bag.”

This is the umbrella term to describe the category as a whole. If you are searching for a new over-the-shoulder style bag, searching for a “shoulder bag” is a great place to start.

If you are looking for something a bit more specific, keep in mind that there are several subcategories of shoulder bags, as well.

Here are a few of the styles that fall within shoulder bag territory:

1. Hobo bag

A subgenre of the shoulder bag, hobo bags are defined by their slouchy shape. They usually have one long shoulder strap, and the top/opening of the bag typically slopes inward.

2. Bucket bag

Bucket bags have recently gained popularity. These bags have a spherical, bucket-like shape with a drawstring closure at the top. Again, they usually have one long strap that is worn on the shoulder, or sometimes across the body.

3. Baguette bag

This bag’s name pretty much sums up exactly what it looks like: a long, narrow baguette shape. These relatively small, clutch-sized bags are typically worn on the shoulder via a single strap.

4. Tote bag

A tote bag is a vastly popular style with abundant range. They are large and provide plenty of storage. Tote bags usually have two handles as opposed to one strap, which perhaps excludes it from the shoulder bag category. However, tote bags are typically worn on the shoulder.

Needless to say, there are many other styles that could potentially claim the shoulder bag label. These are a few of the most popular. 

If you are looking to find a new shoulder bag for your wardrobe, you may want to begin your search with SENREVE’s Voya Tote and Fiore Bucket Bag.


SENREVE Maestra BagMaestra Bag in Pebbled Noir


Are Shoulder Bags Bad For You?

A shoulder bag can potentially cause shoulder, back, buttock, and arm pain, as well as tingling in the hands. Fortunately for any shoulder-bag lovers out there, this pain can be easily avoided, as long as you avoid a few key mistakes.

  • If your bag is too heavy, it puts a lot of strain on your hips and shoulders. Similarly, if you carry your heavy bag on the same shoulder every day, it can put a disproportionate strain on one side of your body. The simple solution to keep the weight of your bag at a reasonable level, and to alternate between shoulders as you carry it throughout the day. 

  • Another common mistake that leads to pain and discomfort is using a bag with little to no support. Experts recommend avoiding skinny straps that dig into your shoulder and instead opting for a thick, padded strap that provides some support. 

  • If you regularly carry a very heavy bag, experts say that a backpack may be the right move because it will help distribute the weight more evenly and relieve body aches. However, shoulder bags are not inherently harmful—if worn correctly, you can absolutely carry a shoulder bag without fear of hurting your body.

Shoulder Bags vs. Backpacks

There is another bag style that rivals the range and popularity of the shoulder bag—the backpack. These days, backpacks are almost as ubiquitous as shoulder bags. While once associated with kids on their way to school, backpacks seem to have risen to popularity in both fashion and the corporate world.

Both backpacks and shoulder bags come in a vast range of colors, sizes, and materials. Similarly, both allow for plenty of storage space and accessibility. From casual to formal, it seems as if there is both a shoulder bag and a backpack for any event or purpose.

This raises the question: which one is better? Are backpacks better than shoulder bags, or vice versa? If you can’t decide which type of bag to invest in, keep reading as we explore the pros and cons of each.

Let’s start with the basics. The names of these two styles summarize the basic difference between the two: you wear one on your shoulder, and the other on your back. More specifically, shoulder bags have one strap that is worn on one shoulder, while backpacks have two straps that rest on both shoulders. 

Of course, the backpack itself rests on your back when you wear it, giving a bit of extra support for heavy loads.The weight of whatever you are carrying is spread out across two shoulders as opposed to just one, which sometimes makes the user experience more enjoyable. This is one of the major appeals of backpacks, especially for long commutes or days of travel.

Despite this additional support, the design of the traditional backpack comes with a few downsides. With your bag on your back, putting things in or taking them out can be slightly inconvenient. By contrast, shoulder bags offer quick, easy accessibility for moments like this. 

Regardless of the practicalities, you should also keep in mind the overall look of a backpack versus a shoulder bag. Both are trendy and fashionable options, and ultimately, your choice depends on your own personal taste. 

If you can’t decide between a backpack and a shoulder bag, why not consider one that does both? Our bestselling SENREVE Maestra Bag can be worn as a backpack, a satchel, a crossbody, or a tote, giving you options to fit every mood and every outing.

SENREVE Alunna BagAlunna in Pebbled Merlot

Wrapping Things Up

Shoulder bags are one of the most varied and versatile handbags on the market. You can find almost any color, shape, and size, imaginable. When compared to other styles like backpacks, shoulder bags offer the unique advantage of easy accessibility.

Ready to find your new favorite everyday shoulder bag? Come explore SENREVE’s Bestsellers, with cult favorite shoulder bags like the SENREVE Maestra and the SENREVE Doctor Bag.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, CNET, Healthline