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Article: Hobo, Tote or Satchel - What's the Difference?

Hobo, Tote or Satchel - What's the Difference?

When shopping for the perfect Italian leather handbag, you will come across a variety of terms describing the styles available. Here is our guide to select styles to help you make an informed decision on the perfect bag for your needs.


A hobo is characterized by its crescent shape and tends to slouch when set down.

Usually rectangular in shape, a tote often has an unfastened top, parallel handles up top, no inner pockets and is valued for its large size.

A satchel has a flat bottom, two short handles on top and typically has a strap that is worn diagonally across the body with the bag resting on the opposite hip.


The hobo is derived from post-Civil War migrant workers who often travelled between temporary job sites via rail holding their belongings in a sack tied around a stick.

An early popularized version of the modern-day tote dates to L.L. Bean ice tote of the 1940's.

Satchels became popular in the 1700's as a way of carrying books.

Size & Suggested Uses

One literal meaning of tote is "haul" - as in a lot of stuff. Totes tend to be large. Hobos tend to be medium to large. Satchels are usually in the medium size range.

Able to port books or laptops, satchels are standard fare in the office for women and men, alike. Hobos are good for carrying assorted odds and ends while including closures and compartments, offering a bit more organization than a tote. Totes are often used in shopping, travel, lugging baby items or for beach / picnic outings. Toiletries, towels, water bottles, camera, snack, change of shoes or extra clothes aren't typically in the daily mix of items. When the need is to carry the most daily essential and sundry items, totes are the go-to option.


Totes and hobos used to be made of modest material such as canvas. Now with leather in striking colors as an option along with playful adornments such as fringe, grommets or rhinestone, these two silhouettes are suitable for work or play. Probably hobos have a little more fashion cachet for evening events than totes. Satchels are versatile, but don't quite blend in as easily at social functions; they may be the best option for work or travel.

Bags say a lot about your style but also must do double duty accommodating your needs. While helping you be on trend or appearing put together, every element - from length, material, size, and shape - impacts functionality and aesthetics. Students or working women, daytime or evening, professional or social, traveling light or carrying items for another all factor into your selection for a particular outing.

Pick a style that will effortlessly match yours at Bolsa Nova Handbags. Even a basic shape could be spruced up with a statement piece such as a fun crossbody strap or colorful scarf. While you may always consider the occasion when selecting a bag, what if you have multiple events following one another? You may opt for versatility if you need to seamlessly transition from one place to the next. Small details matter - especially in coordination with other parts of your ensemble such as belts or shoes. And of course, durability is primary since the best Italian leather handbags are never "throw away." It is worth investing in the kind of bags that will look good for a long time and you might even pass down to your daughter!

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