What Is The Difference Between A Shoulder Bag And A Crossbody Bag?

Women use different types of purses and bags to carry their routine essentials. Two of those bags are the shoulder bag and crossbody bag, which are often confused due to their similar design and strap structure. However, these bags are different so many ways that if you get one with the wrong requirements, you won’t get the best experience. So, if you want to buy one of these bags, this comparison will help you decide which one to buy.

What is a Shoulder Bag?

shoulder bag for women

The shoulder bag is carried over your shoulder and sits between the body and the arm on the same shoulder. The shoulder bags have different strap lengths, sizes, and shapes. The good part about these is that they can carry more and bigger items due to their size. These bags can have one or two straps and are good for formal events.

What is a Crossbody Bag?

Crossbody Bag for Women

Crossbody bags, as the name says, go across the body. It means the strap goes over one shoulder, and the bag sits under the other one since these have only one strap. This bag hangs diagonally, which gives a unique casual look. Due to having a single strap, the experience of carrying these bags significantly differs from the shoulder bags.

All the differences you need to know between a shoulder bag and a crossbody bag

Difference Between A Shoulder Bag And A Crossbody Bag

Now that you have the basic overview of these two bags, here are all the key differences in these bags that you must understand before selecting one.

1. Wearing style and position

The first difference between these two bags is the style of wearing them and their positioning on the body. Both can be worn on either shoulder, but the shoulder bags always stay under the same shoulder. On the other hand, positioning is not an issue for crossbody bags. It is because you can wear them under the other shoulder, on the front, on the back, against your hip, or in any other position you like.

2. Accessibility and convenience

The accessibility and convenience of getting stuff inside the bag differ significantly. The shoulder bags come with small zippers, and their positioning on the body makes them difficult to reach inside without removing them from your shoulder.

On the other hand, crossbody bags are easy to access without removing, and their zip length makes that even better. Crossbody bags offer you the hands-free convenience of getting things out.

3. Wearing comfort

Wearing comfort is an important consideration when you need to carry a bag for a long with heavy stuff inside it. When you wear a shoulder bag, the whole weight stays on one side of the body, which increases strain on that shoulder. So, carrying that bag over time can cause problems. Meanwhile, crossbody bags evenly distribute weight across your body, which reduces the stress on one shoulder. In either case, you can switch shoulders for better comfort.

4. Size of the bag

If you want a bigger bag with more capacity, go for the shoulder bags. It is because of their bigger size and higher capacity than crossbody bags. Shoulder bags can help you carry books, tablet computers, and other things.

Meanwhile, crossbody bags are designed to carry smaller things like keys, phones, wallets, etc. Even if you go for a bigger-looking crossbody bag, shoulder bags have better capacity.

5. Security and peace of mind

Security is an important factor since you will be carrying your valuable belongings in your bag. Unfortunately, security is not the best with shoulder bags. These can be snatched or looted easily due to their bad positioning.

Crossbody bags, on the other hand, offer better security with peace of mind thanks to their diagonal positioning. Nobody can get them off you as easily as the shoulder bags.

Moreover, you can position the crossbody bag in the front so nobody can sneak into it from the side or back.

6. Fashion and styling versatility

Shoulder bags are better for styling versatility since they go with casual and formal attire. These look more elegant in comparison. Crossbody bags, on the other hand, do not go that well with different types of attire.

These are better for casual wear. So, crossbody bags lack the versatility of styling, while shoulder bags win in this aspect. In terms of adapting to the latest fashion trends, both bags are exceptionally well.

7. The functionality of the bag

Everyone can have different requirements for their bag, and both these types of bags have very different functionalities. Shoulder bags are good for carrying work supplies, gadgets, travel essentials, study supplies, and your daily essentials, including makeup, phone, wallet, etc.

Crossbody bags, on the other hand, are only good for small items. So, there is a huge difference in their functionality.

8. Differences in these that are subjective

Finally, there is a list of other differences that you may find between these two types of bags. However, these differences are subjective, meaning the user may not value them when selecting a bag. These differences include:

  • Price
  • Brand
  • Material
  • Style and trend
  • Other personal preferences

Even when these differences are subjective, you cannot ignore them while choosing a bag.

How to select one between a shoulder bag and a crossbody bag?

select one between a shoulder bag and a crossbody bag

Knowing the difference, selecting one bag among the two can be easy. However, if you are still confused, remember to follow your requirements. When you select a bag according to your requirements, the experience will be great and a perfect fit for your daily usage. Additionally, knowing the requirements helps you select one from the options available in crossbody bag or shoulder bag categories.


While a shoulder bag and a crossbody bag may not seem very different, they have certain qualities that set them apart. Both bags have pros and cons, but when you select one according to your requirements, the pros outweigh the cons. So, we hope this comparison was helpful enough to help you select the one you need per your requirements.

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