Shoulder straps, whether they’re one option or the only option, are one of the most important details I look for in a bag. Years ago, when I began buying more and more handbags, I tended to buy bags purely based on how they looked, instead of their functional details. As I began to delve into the handbag world more and review bags more closely, I realized the importance of a good shoulder strap.

Maybe my obsession with finding a great shoulder strap that’s usable and comfortable isn’t as important to others, though; some of the most popular handbags on the market have unusable straps.

I know this is a problem with so many more bags than the two I’m going to talk about here, so please let me know which bags have given you problems in the comments below. This issue reared its head when I did a purseonals on my Givenchy Antigona; it’s a bag I adore that happens to have a short shoulder strap.

Balenciaga-Giant-City-1-600x400

The strap on my Antigona is so short that if I try to put it over my shoulder. the top handles poke into me. And if I push the handles back, it just looks awkward. Another bag that I know has this issue is the Balenciaga City Bag. I also love this bag, but the shoulder strap is tight and really doesn’t sit on my shoulder comfortably. A friend of mine recently told me that the short strap is the reason she’s never bought a City Bag. Instead, she prefers the Balenciaga Town, which has a longer strap.

So what’s the deal? Why do some of the most popular bags not have shoulder straps that are comfortably usable? I can’t think of a good reason, and that bothers me. I can sometimes look beyond it because the design of a particular bag is something I adore overall, but I can’t deny that a short shoulder strap is a major purse peeve.

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Winn
Winn
8 years ago

One of the reasons I love my Celine Trapeze is that the shoulder strap is the perfect length and totally comfortable and wide. A lot of shoulder straps, even if long enough, are way too thin and uncomfortable to wear.

Maybe one of the reasons for these crappy straps is its often not something most people think about at all when making a purchase (or at least, not a top priority for most), but rather something that bothers us as we spend more time wearing a bag once we own it. If a bag can sell well with a whatever shoulder strap, why put time and money into improving it?

anon
anon
8 years ago
Reply to  Winn

Yes! It would be great if other brands would adopt how Celine does their straps on the Trapeze.

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  Winn

Yep! My Trapeze strap is really nice in length and width as you said. I like something that feels like it will sit on my shoulder comfortably and not budge.

I do agree – brands probably aren’t too concerned because people are still running out and buying the bags, so that kind of makes it a moot point for them

Emma
Emma
8 years ago

I love the Celine Trapeze..but the ‘buckle’ is really impossible!Sob!Sob!

anon
anon
8 years ago

I never saw the Balenciaga City bag’s strap as difficult at all. The bag is so slouchy that the straps never feel tight and are loose or have the handles hit my underarm.

Karen
Karen
8 years ago
Reply to  anon

I too have the city and it was never a problem. I pull the handles down whenever I use the shoulder straps so it doesn’t hit my armpits.

kemilia
kemilia
8 years ago
Reply to  anon

Ditto for me. I had a City (sold it because I didn’t care for it due to other reasons) but loved the shoulder strap option, never slipped off my shoulder either, and so light weight too. I do feel there are often small variances in bag sizes/straps year to year that affect how they sit/hang, just my thought on that, no proof!
Megs–I love that pink bag no matter what though.

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  anon

Ya it’s definitely not as big of a problem as the Antigona for me, but I still find it a tad too snug on me. I just get really annoyed at a bag that ends up rubbing into my armpit.

anon
anon
8 years ago

I see what you mean. I know you’re on the taller side, so it must affect you a lot more than it does for me. If only the Antigona handles could go down-it would be perfect. Haha!

Emma
Emma
8 years ago
Reply to  anon

Firstly,Givenchy shud hav produced the Antigona in a size inbetween der small and medium.Iv had both and sold dem off.Small is a tad too small,with straps too short(and yes the handle irritates my armpit!) and the medium is a tad too large!The same with der Lucrezia!

Ellejays11
Ellejays11
8 years ago

The only reason I can think of is that the inclusion of the shoulder strap is for consistency in “look” across sizes, or its more of an aesthetic, design feature, than a practical feature? I can’t really think of a bag where that would sincerely be the case, but with the Small Antigona, when you hold it through the handles and the strap drapes across, it is kind of a nice look (IMO).

The Medium Givenchy Antigona strap is pretty perfect, in my opinion. I had initially purchased the small smooth-leather version of the bag and returned it after trying to wear it around the house. Same reasons: stubborn zipper and short, impractical, shoulder strap. I thought maybe the zipper issue was due to the stiff nature of that type of leather, but maybe not. The medium has become my everyday bag, and not zipper issues with this sizing!

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellejays11

YES! The Medium doesn’t have this issue, I tried it in store recently and was lamenting that I have a small not Medium!

kindled
kindled
8 years ago

obviously this isn’t a real solution and I don’t truly advocate it, but it sure would be tempting to pick up a medium in the same color, swap the straps, and return the medium with the dinky short strap.

B
B
8 years ago

I tried on the Chanel GST and had that issue. For my build/height it was too short. It didn’t sit comfortably and the bags bulk was uncomfortable as well.

anon
anon
8 years ago
Reply to  B

Are you on the taller side? I’m on the shorter side and although I didn’t find the problem to be too terrible, its definitely not the most comfortable bag for shoulder carrying. It also had the problem of the strap falling down, so I ultimately skipped on putting this bag on my wishlist. I don’t like it when a bag is all up in my underarm area, you know? lol.

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  B

I was curious about the GST fitting on me. I’m guessing it won’t work on me well either

ellavanw
ellavanw
8 years ago

Hm, I posted above; I am 5’8″ and the GST fits me fine. It’s very comfortable; my workhorse bag. The straps totally stay on my (narrow) shoulder and their length is proportionate to the size of the bag. Love the GST.

Emma
Emma
8 years ago

The GST straps r worse!Dey never stay on ur shoulders!Besides,i like my bags to retain der shapes..if u carry it on ur shoulders,dey flatten up real fast.Iv had 3GSTs before n sold dem all before dey lose der shape..sad but true!

Karen
Karen
8 years ago
Reply to  Emma

I have a GST and the straps were never an issue. I just put one strap over the other on my shoulders.

Bipasha
Bipasha
8 years ago

Is it because a man who does not carry a handbag designs it?

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  Bipasha

Always my first thought! Or their fit model is much smaller than me. I am tall (5’11”) and not model frame, so it could very well be that!

renyoj
renyoj
8 years ago

Here’s my question: Why don’t companies make optional adjustable crossbody straps for their lines? I would gladly pay extra for a better strap for some of my purses to make them more useable.

anon
anon
8 years ago
Reply to  renyoj

I’m thinking that, besides aesthetics, it costs more for the company to make longer straps(?). Since it’ll be more leather and hardware and whatnot. So of course, companies will be in favor of non adjustable straps for profit. I’m just guessing thoughX)

Megs Mahoney Dusil
8 years ago
Reply to  renyoj

Some companies do – but it’s very few!

renyoj
renyoj
8 years ago

Would you provide a list in the future? I only know of Louis Vuitton.

Kett
8 years ago

I find the Antigona medium to be the perfect length, so I’m sorry the small doesn’t live up to that, but I just have to say that your face in the lead image is PERFECT! That is exactly the face I make when I find myself hoisting my stupid YSL duffel up for the umpteenth time. Curse skinny straps!

justa9url
justa9url
8 years ago

It’s funny you chose these two for this particular purse peeve because the strap is basically what has been stopping me from acquiring these two bags. Fortunately, Balenciaga came out with the Velo, which is more squared than the City, but I prefer that, and it has a long strap that can be worn cross body. As for the Antigona, I’m still waiting.

Rumbabird
Rumbabird
8 years ago
Reply to  justa9url

Yes, I love the Velo too – in addition to the crossbody/shoulder option, it’s also a very comfortable, removable strap.

anon
anon
8 years ago
Reply to  justa9url

I love the Velo, very much prefer that over the City and you can also somewhat adjust the Velos now to make the strap either long or more similar to the shorter City strap. I used to debate over the Antigona too, its because of this reason (and the fact that I have enough top handle bags) that I’ve put it off my wish list. If only the straps could go down like the Lucrezia. *sigh*

AAAA
AAAA
8 years ago

I actually find the Balenciaga strap to be perfect for me, but I am petite. I tend to have more of a problem with straps that aren’t long enough to hit my hip/be cross body bags, but are also too long for me to be able to kind of clasp them near my body with my elbow (if that makes any sense). I guess these are short vs. tall person issues.

anon
anon
8 years ago

The Antigona would be the absolute perfect bag if the handles could just go down like the Lucrezia.

GG Pastel