How To Choose The Right Bag For Your Body Type: A Definitive Guide
12 October 2020

How To Choose The Right Bag For Your Body Type: A Definitive Guide

You may have been faced with the situation where you really love a particular bag so much that you’re determined to score yourself one, but after trying it on, you realise that it doesn’t look as nice on. But then, you see someone with that very same bag and wonder, “but why does it look so good on her?!” Baffling, isn’t it? Well, truth of the matter is, it probably boils down to your body type. We probably never think enough about this, but it also applies to bags too, and not just clothes! Also, what if I told you that choosing the right bags could make it seem as if you’ve shed some pounds or kilos? Because, like everything else when it comes to fashion and style, it’s all about the play on proportions and bags certainly can help to flatter your figure simply by using them to either accentuate or take attention away from certain bodily characteristics.

Yep, there’s definitely a science behind these things, even when it comes to choosing the right bags! So, without further ado, here’s our definitive guide to choosing the most appropriate handbag styles that would most certainly flatter your figure, no matter what body type you may have. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether you fit into these 5 body types, yep, you will, because there are petite and plus-size versions of all of these! I know that there’s a common misconception that bigger or plus-sized women are usually “Apple- or “Pear”- shaped and this is grossly incorrect because there are also petite women who have both these body types! Remember, don’t let society or the media try to tell you what your body type should or shouldn’t be, because beauty comes in all sizes, colours, ethnicities, and races, so you do you! 😉

Bags for Rectangle Body Type Bottega Veneta Jodie Pouch and Fendi Baguette Rectangle

Most commonly known as an athletic body type, the Rectangle is typically characterised by shoulders, waist, and hips that are all of the same width. Because your silhouette is generally “straight”, what you need to do, is create the illusion of curves.
Bags you should go for: clutches that are tucked under your arm, or slouchy hobo bags worn on the shoulder that create dimension and curves, such as the Jodie or Pouch by Bottega Veneta, and the iconic Fendi Baguette.
Avoid: bags that rest on the hips, or those that fall below the hips as these tend to accentuate your “boxy” frame.

Bags for Apple Body Type Louis Vuitton Gucci Ophidia Celine 16 BagApple

For the Apple, the waist is the widest part of the body, while shoulders and hips are narrower and around the same width. Depending on individuals, you may or may not have a big bust. Regardless of this factor, what you want to do is to de-emphasise the midsection to create the illusion of a smaller waist.
Bags you should go for: structured/boxy bags with short handles which means you can basically pick either wide rectangular totes, bowlers, or top handle bags, as long as you don’t wear them with the long shoulder straps! Here, Céline’s 16 Bag, Louis Vuitton’s All Set Bag, or Gucci’s bowler-styled Ophidia bag would work best!
Avoid: sling/crossbody bags because they tend to accentuate the midsection instead when worn across the body. Also, small bags are a definite no-no because they’d make you appear larger than you actually are.

Inverted triangle body type bags Saint Laurent Kaia Valentino Logo Prada Cahier Belt Bag

Inverted Triangle

Just like an inverted triangle, this body type is characterised by shoulders which are broader in comparison to waist and hips. Since your bottom half is generally narrower than your shoulders, the aim is to draw attention away from your broad shoulders, and direct the attention instead, to the lower half of your body, to balance everything out.
Bags you should go for: long straps so that your bags rest on or against the hips. So, whether you prefer satchels, shoulder bags, or crossbody bags, they’d work as long as they come with long straps. Belt bags work too, but make sure they’re only worn on the hips or waist, instead of across the body as this would accentuate the top half of your body, which isn’t what you want! Prada’s Cahier Belt Bag would be an attention-grabber thanks to the ornate buckle, while Valentino’s V-Logo bag and Saint Laurent’s Kaia bag show us that crossbody bags can come in different shapes and sizes and still be figure-flattering!
Avoid: bags with short straps, clutches

Bags for Pear Body Type Balenciaga City Boyy Bobby Bag Prada Studded Nylon Belt BagPear

Those with a Pear silhouette are usually regarded as “bottom-heavy”, due to a gradual “flaring out” from the shoulders to the hips and thighs, which are the widest parts of your body. Because of this, you should aim for bags that de-emphasise your hips and thighs, and instead focus on the upper-half of your body.
Bags you should go for: bags that fall between your waist and hips, to create the illusion of narrower hips. Go for bags with longer straps, or belt bags that are worn across the body (make sure you don’t wear them on the waist/hips because it would add girth to the lower half). The edgy stud details on Prada’s nylon studded belt bag is great for drawing attention to the top half of your body, while Balenciaga’s Classic City and Boyy’s Bobby (in the bigger sizes) work well to conceal the width of your hips.
Avoid: bags with straps that are too long, slouchy bags, or bags that fall on your hips (this includes crossbody bags and belt bags when worn on the waist) because they’d direct the onlooker’s eyes to your hips. Small bags too, because they would make you appear larger than you are.

Bags for Hourglass Body Type Dior Book Tote Delvaux Tempete Bulgari Serpenti Loewe Puzzle BagsHourglass

Those who are Hourglass are traditionally considered the most “blessed” because generally anything looks good. While this may be true, you still need to remember that the size of your bag still needs to be proportionate regardless whether you’re a tall, petite, plus-sized, or busty hourglass. Whichever you may be, you should draw attention to your best feature – your defined waist.
Bags you should go for: anything really, as long as it’s proportionate to your stature and physique. So big or oversized bags like Dior’s Book Tote would work best for tall women (I know there are a lot of Book Tote fans but sorry, they really just don’t work on petite or shorter women because the bag ends up weighing you down, and you end up looking terribly short and stumpy!). If you’re short(er), aim for smaller bags like Delvaux’s Tempete. Bags like Bulgari’s Serpenti or Loewe’s Puzzle Bag would work well for Hourglass women too, and since they come in various sizes, just remember to choose a size that’s proportionate to your height!


There you have it, now, go forth and put this guide to the test. I hope that the tips in this guide help you find a more confident YOU by accentuating your best physical attributes!


Illustrations by @weimun_draws