Satchels were primarily associated with men’s bags, which had a flap and were often worn across the body like a messenger bag. Satchels, in handbag terminology, had a special connotation when women emerged into their own, and fashion defined the purses that women wore. 

Satchels are usually structured bags that resemble a briefcase. However, they can now refer to any bag with a strong felt construction, and satchels can often stand on their own.

Keep on reading if you want to learn more about the satchel, its history, design, and features. 

What is a Satchel?

A satchel is a bag with a long strap that can be slung over the shoulder and a flap to close it. The shoulder strap allows for hands-free use, while the flap protects the contents of the bag by covering the entrance. Today, satchel straps can be long or short, depending on their design.

Satchels are more formal purses that may easily shift from the office to a night out. These bags have a structured shape that adds to the chicness factor and is often embellished with hardware and buckles. Unlike totes, satchels can be worn closed and often have a zipper, clasp, or drawstring closing. You can match your Camo purses or satchels with a slim-fitting pantsuit, jeans, shirt, or even a little black dress.

History of Satchel

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Who invented the satchel bag is still unknown till today. Leather was used in some of the first satchel bags. Around AD300, documentation of Scottish monks carrying their bibles in leather satchel bags was discovered, proving that such a bag existed in the past.

However, satchel bags became popular among students in the 1700s to transport books and other essentials. The first satchel bags were created in Oxford and Cambridge, and they had extremely basic characteristics like a front flap. 

Today, a satchel is not just for carrying your books. Many designers create satchels for men and women perfect to put all the essentials for daily work. Now let’s delve into what makes satchel popular in terms of their designs. 

Design Of The Satchel


A satchel is distinguished by its flap design. It has one side that is longer than the other. The longer side of the bag stretches over the bag, providing a flap that folds and serves as a cover. In addition, each design will have a different closing mechanism behind the flap. Some designs employ magnets to seal the flap, while others, like a belt, use fasteners.


Like a portable briefcase, a satchel has either a long strap to sling the bag on one’s shoulder or two short handles on the top. Most modern designs, on the other hand, include both. For convenience and function, it incorporates two short handles and a long removable strap.


Leather satchels are the most common type of satchels. Leather is tough and long-lasting, and it can usually handle heavier loads without tearing. Modern satchel bags, on the other hand, are not entirely made of leather. These bags are made out of canvas or robust, thick textiles in some cases. This is because non-leather satchel bags are less expensive than leather satchel bags.

Key Features

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Strong and durable material: Because a satchel is used to transport heavy items such as books and laptops, it must be made of a fabric that can endure the stresses of the contents inside. This is where leather enters the picture. As mentioned above, most high-quality satchel bags are made of leather, which is natural and pliable.

Adjustable strap: The adjustable strap is another distinguishing element of the satchel. Like the buckle fastening, the adjustable shoulder straps can be adjusted for comfort or any body size to secure it on your body effectively.

Can wear as crossbody: Although some satchels have two over-the-shoulder straps, crossbody satchels are usually worn diagonally across the front of the chest and lower back. As a result, the satchel has distinct characteristics. Don’t believe anyone who tells you anything is a satchel unless they show you these important characteristics.

Satchel vs. Tote

A satchel and a tote are similar in that they are both designed to hold daily necessities. Both may be worn over the shoulder and feature handles. These bags, however, are not the same. A tote is more of a carry-all, but a satchel is smaller. You can check out David Jones bagsThey have satchel handbags with enough room to carry your daily essentials in a sophisticated and comfortable manner without taking up extra room.


The shape and design of the satchel have made it popular among both men and women, with the advent of the ‘man bag’ in fashion being a clear influence and effect of the satchel’s appeal. Large designer companies have continued to make satchels in their latest collections, and satchels may be seen on the shoulders of passers-by in most workplaces, school playgrounds, and high streets.

Regardless of how you look at it, the satchel bag’s design is based on usefulness, which has given it a worldwide appeal that is here to stay.