clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Your Handbag Says About You at a Bar

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

If style is a way to say who you are without speaking, then your handbag is the absolute headline. Especially at a bar, where impressions are made instantly and almost always in the dark. It's the one accessory that says why you're there without you having to speak. Hands-free crossbody? I came to party. Oversize tote? I was dragged. It's the ultimate statement of intention, a way to say tell others, "back off" or "come close". Ladies and gents, take notes: We've broken down your basic bar bag archetypes below, although you never know what could happen after a few extra rounds...

The Statement Clutch

Ah, the statement clutch. You'd been stalking Net-A-Porter for months and finally scored it on sale. Or maybe you bought it full price? Who knows. But damn girl, you look good. And so does your army of It girls, all wearing various lace-up stilettos and bodycon dresses. Your clutch doesn't just say, "I love fashion!" It says, "I have my shit together enough for a hand-held bag...but let's see what happens after a few glasses of Moet."

The Oversize Tote

Does anyone at this place have a Tide To Go pen? Yes. This girl does. Your giant designer tote is like a Mary Poppins bag of wonders; inside you'll find hair ties, pain killers, a pack of gum for when your pack of gum finishes, maybe even an extra pair of shoes because you never know. You're the girl who was dragged out by her best friends for a happy hour that's gone on far too long. Let's go out, they said. It will only be an hour, they said. You're content where you are — propped up on the nearest bar stool sipping a vodka tonic, respectfully denying advances from wingmen everywhere, not because you find them unattractive, but because you have alternate plans. Like Cinderella, you'll be gone before midnight, because this pumpkin has a date with her Netflix account and a bottle of wine.

The Backpack

Dora? Is that you? Your backpack could be the ultimate hipster statement. "Back away, basic," you say through thick-rimmed glasses. This could also just be your last stop after a full day of adventures, and a gal like you has no time to head home for vanity touchups. We can't be certain, for backpack personalities are very diverse. Props must be given for a ballsy accessory choice in a sea of crossbody bags and clutches; but points must be taken away for the bar-wide bewilderment your causing. For as cute as you may look, it's just too much uncertainty to ponder when we're three whiskey gingers in. Please. Make. It. Stop.

The Classic Crossbody

You need your hands free to BREAK IT DOWN, and neither holding a clutch nor a craft cocktail is going to stop you. You're strictly here to party, which is blatantly apparent by the leather crossbody you're touting. It's not flashy. It's not there to make a statement. It's simply there to hold your essentials while you whip and nae-nae the whole night through. This side-strung companion has seen you through countless nights of debauchery at dive bars, clubs, and lounges, all the while keeping you true to your mantra: I came here to party, and ain't no one slowing my roll. Now, down that umpteenth tequila shot and get back to the dance floor.


What's your go-to handbag at the bar?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    The Statement Clutch
    (89 votes)
  • 13%
    The Oversized Tote
    (59 votes)
  • 2%
    The Backpack
    (10 votes)
  • 62%
    The Crossbody
    (265 votes)
423 votes total Vote Now