Grab Bags in Fashion

You can’t go wrong when you shop from our large collection of Radley grab bags, which are available in both classic and contemporary styles. Whether it’s a fabric or leather grab bag you're after, your new buy will feature unique handcrafted details and pattern work.

The classic design of our top handle bags means that they are easy to grab and go, with the option for a long shoulder strap if you need to keep your hands free. From small boxy handbags to large slouchy grab bags, you can find the perfect top handle bags to accessorise off-duty casual and complement your smart work outfits. Explore our range of leather top handle bags to find a beautifully versatile and wearable accessory to add to your wardrobe. We can guarantee with one of our grab bags, you’ll have a wardrobe staple that you can’t live without.

What is a Grab Bag?

The essence of the classic grab bags is the two larger handles at the top of the bag. These handles are big enough that you can either hold with your hands or rest on the crook of your arm. Increasingly grab bags come with an adjustable removable cross body strap to allow a hands-free approach. The multiple straps allow the user multiple styling options.

Grab bags are a popular choice of bag for any and all occasions. The reason for the grab bags popularity is the variety in designs, shapes, materials and colours offered, this coupled with the grab bags multi functions straps allow the user to wear it across all events, the grab bags makes the perfect evening bag and larger sizes allow for the perfect everyday bag.

Don't confuse the fashion grab bag with an Emergency Grab Bag

A fashion grab bag and an emergency grab bag are two completely different things. An emergency grab bag is a rucksack full of important, emergency items in case you need to flee your home immediately without time to pack.

Items you should back in your emergency grab bag should be a first aid kit, any medication you need, cash, important keys (spare car or house keys), a torch, spare basic clothes, toiletries such as a toothbrush and tooth paste, batteries, bottled water, emergency unperishable food, phone charger, pen and notepad and important documents such as a photocopy of your passport etc. The government and met police advise you create an emergency grab bag just in case.

Where did grab bags originate?

The grab bag is one of the most recognisable and iconic handbag shapes ever, second only to the generic tote bag. Before the creation of handbags as we know them today, women would have to carry their possessions in a small purse or ‘clutch’ or even in a tied-up piece of material. The concept of a handle was created to make it much easier for women to carry their possessions.

Originally, the term ‘grab bag’ was used in connection with a game a lot like today’s lucky dip, the user would put their hand in a ‘bag’ and ‘grab’ a prize. However, the term was later adopted to todays fashion grab bag because the practical style and functional handles allow the user to literally grab and go.

Global grab bag Trends

The versatility of the grab bag has increased its popularity amongst both consumer and designers. The grab bag is considered the be one of the original handbags. They originally started as just a practical way for women to carry around more items, nowadays with ever changing styles and trends grab bag designs have developed and the grab bag can now be worn for every and all occasion from work to evening or day events.

One of the most memorable moments in grab bag trends was in 1954, when actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly was pictured using a Hermes bag to cover her pregnant stomach. Grace Kelly was a fashion icon, which meant that the bag gained a huge following and almost overnight instant popularity, with many people not being able to afford the actual bag she was photographed with, many designers decided to create their own versions of the grab bag.

Although many grab bags were aimed at women, there are also grab bags for men which allow them to carry their possessions around with them. Popular bags for men included briefcases and weekender bags for work and travel. Often these bags needed to be quite large which made them awkward to carry around with them. The addition of the grab bags handle makes the bag much easier to carry and therefore extra practical and functional.

Later, to the 1990’s and box bags became extremely popular for their classic design and ease to carry. Fast-forward to the 21st century and nearly every designer has a range of grab bags. It’s unlikely that this style of bag will ever go out of fashion, as there are so many different shapes, sizes and colours it can be designed in.

“I think handbags, not so much clothes anymore, but I think you can tell a fashion victim by their handbag.” - Joanna Lumley

Radley grab bags for Women

Liverpool Street- Medium Zip-Top Multiway Bag


Liverpool Street is a leather grab bag that is the perfect sophisticated touch to your office outfit. The spacious interior offers the perfect amount of space for you to locate all your daily essentials.

Arlington Court- Small Zip-Top Multiway Bag


This dark red grab bag is the most on trend must have of the season. The red faux croc grab bag will elevate any outfit to a next level of style thanks to its woven handle and deep merlot leather design. The multiple interior pockets allow for maximum organisation too.

Johanna Konta Tote- Large Zip-Top Tote Bag


The large spacious grab bag was designed in collaboration with Radley ambassador Johanna Konta. The functional tote offers an athletic touch to your outfit and the padded interior ensure you’re most prized belongings are extra safe. As a gym bag, weekend bag or even just for those days when you need extra space this hands-free tote is a must have.

Baylis Road- Medium Multiway Grab Bag


This leather grab bag is the perfect transition bag for those work to date days. The stylish leather and suede combination coupled with the multi compartment design and functional adjustable straps is the perfect mix of practicality and style.

Maddox Street- Medium Zip-Top Multiway Bag


Maddox Street is an investment you’ll never regret. The grainy leather grab bag will last you forever and the removable adjustable straps over endless styling options. In fact the only thing that makes this timeless grab bag even better is the spacious interior couples with additional exterior zipper pockets.

Radley Grab Bags for Men

Redchurch Street- Medium Zip-Top Tote bag


The Redchurch Street Tote features an oversized strap enabling a cross body use and the classic grab bag leather lined straps. The canvas exterior offers this mens grab bag an edge and the room interior makes it the perfect travel grab bag for weekends away or just those days when you need some extra space.

Cannon Street- Large Zip Around Multiway Bag


The Cannon Street Sling bag features a smart and removable strap for when you want more than just a classic grab bag and for when you’re after those crossbody moments. The interior is split into multiple sections, so all your technology is padded and safe and keeps you organised. There’s enough interior space for a 15 inch laptop too! This mens grab bag is so stylish but also has that professional feel perfect for the office.

Different Types of grab bags

Frame Bag


A frame bag is style of grab bag which has a firm bottom and stiffer sides allowing it to stand upright. It is trapezoidal in shape which makes it somewhat unique and provides straight lines to provide for both business and casual wear.

Duffle Bag


The duffle grab bag is a large cylindrical shape often used for travel or sports gear. It is sometimes considered a ‘weekend bag’ as its size allows you to pack enough things for a weekend away. Some people often use these bags as gym bags.

Baguette Bag


A baguette bag is a grab bag that is long and narrow, and similar in shape to a French loaf of bread.

Doctor Bag


A doctor’s bag could be described as a type of grab bag is quite simply a bag that is used by doctors. It is used to carry medical equipment. The opening of a doctor’s bag is usually quite large. This is so that everything inside the bag can be seen without having to take everything out of it. It is designed like this so the contents can be accessed easily in an emergency.

Tote Grab Bag


The main feature of a tote grab bag is that the bottom of bag sits flat on the ground with the sides rising high. Sometimes the sides of the bag will be stiff to give it a more rigid look.

How to choose the right grab bags for you

What are you using your Grab Bag for?


If you are going to be using the bag for work or school, then it is best to get a grab bags that is slightly bigger and has more compartments in it. This is so that you can carry more but also be able to separate and locate the contents of your bag with ease. It is also better to go for a more durable material such a leather. Grab bags that have detachable cross-body straps are good for shoppers who only want to take a couple of things with them and use their hands to look. They are also good for mothers who have children with them and need to hold their children as well as their essentials.

How much will you need to put in your Grab Bag


The more you need to put in the grab bag the larger it will need to be. If your bag it going to be heavy, it’s always better to go for a grab bag that has flat handles rather than rounded as they are more comfortable to carry. Purchasing a grab bags with a detachable, thick, cross-body strap would also be beneficial because the weight of it will be distributed more evenly across your shoulders and be a lot comfier for you.

Try it on


Take what you will carry in the grab bags with you and try it on with everything inside. That way you can see how heavy the bag will be when it’s on you are carrying it. You will also be able to work out if it the handles are comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Where are you taking it?


If you’re going to be taking the grab bags outside, it would be better to go for one that is made of a waterproof or water-resistant material to protect it from rain or snow.

How to wear a grab bag

Designed to be held with one hand to the side of your body.

You could also hold the handles with two hands in front of your body for a more stylish look.

For on-the-go, wear the bag in the crook of your arm for security.

Attach the cross-body strap to go hands-free!

Fun Facts about grab bags

Grab bags come in all shapes and sizes, for example you can have a bracelet style grab bag, a barrel-shaped grab bag, a doctor’s bag or a laptop bag.

Although the main function of a grab bag is to be able to hold it with your hand or on the crook of your arm, many grab bags now come with a detachable cross-body strap to give the option of being hands-free!

Grab bags are popular with the royals. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle often opt for a grab bag to complete their outfit.

Wearing a grab bag on the crook of your arm indicates priority on status and position, whereas, holding your grab bag with your hands is suggested to be like wearing a briefcase and communicates the importance of the woman's job.

grab bags for Different Occasions

The classic design of top handle bags means that they are easy to grab and go, with the option for a long shoulder strap if you need to keep your hands free. From small boxy handbags to large slouchy grab handbags, you can find the perfect top handle bags to accessorise off-duty casual and complement your smart work outfits.

A grab bag is a great evening bag and has the potential to really compliment and outfit. Grab bags can come in all shapes, sizes and patterns. The purpose of the evening bag is to be a small accessory to your outfit. It can be metallic, have beads on, be covered in jewels, smart, sophisticated, must most importantly glamourous, everything that can be found in a grab bag.

It is also great to use grab bags as your everyday bags. They are usually bigger than a grab bag that you can take out with you in the evening, as it is likely you will carry much more with you throughout the day. Compartments and interior pockets help you to organise your things inside. They have become popular office bags, because it is much more stylish to take in a smaller bag containing a laptop or tablet with a few papers than an overflowing shoulder bag mostly containing items that you don’t need.