These Totes are Totes Amazing
I once spent upwards of $2,000 on a canvas bag. Yes, it’s Louis Vuitton. Yes, it was made in France and has my initials custom painted on it (KOE!). But: when you really think about it, it’s a canvas bag, non?
Still, it was worth it. I drag the thing everywhere. If grownups had the equivalent of a diaper bag to carry around for themselves, this thing is it—filled with everything I need (wallet, keys, sundry technology chargers), and plenty of stuff I don’t (like five bags of Goldfish snack baggies). I guess that’s why they call it a Neverfull. And though I fully intend to carry this thing for a decade or more, there are plenty of other fantastic tote options out there for when I need a pinch-hitter. These ones are particularly beloved by SwearBy’s community of glamazons; each one has gotten raves from a handful of fans.
Madewell Transport Tote
No less than eight SwearBy members as of press time have sung the praises of this supple leather tote bag. “It looks much more expensive than it is, plus, it fits more than you can imagine inside,” says Kristi McCormick. “I bought mine almost 5 years ago, and it still looks new.” Equally a longtime fan, Mary Evans Callahan says: “I’ve had my tote for 6 years and I still get so many compliments. It’s a classic and has worn really well.” Yelena Dasher admits she has a whopping SIX versions of it, in various colors. “This bag fits everything. Rent the Runway return? Check. All my gym paraphernalia? Check. Packed lunch from home plus RTR return plus gym stuff? Check, check, check. It’s always my “purse” carry-on for flights because if, for example, I’m using my backpack to cart photo equipment, I can actually stuff enough clothing in this for a week someplace warm. And have I mentioned it’s a leather bag for well under $200?”
MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote
When I lived in New York City, I saw this stunning number on the daily, typically carried by an effortlessly stylish woman with a blow out. Tori Johnston calls it “The most versatile carry on of all time. It’s amazing how much I can fit into this bag for a cross country flight. The design is minimal but the material is durable and this bag goes everywhere with me!” Alyssa Hertzig owns three of them: “I love that they’re sleek and cute, but not flashy or trendy.” Says Cheryl Kaplan: “No one really NEEDS another black bag, but this one us special. Lightweight, easy to clean and comes with internal pockets and pouches. I love using this bag when I travel. It has become my go-to!”
Cuyana Classic Leather Tote
If you’re headed back to the office, this pebbled Italian leather tote is a contender. “I love a big leather bag that I can put my laptop in but that I can also use as a purse,” says Jamie Grobecker. “It’s not realistic for me that I can carry a purse that doesn’t hold a laptop! The best part about this is that it has an organizational insert that has compartments for everything. I have it monogrammed, which I always love.” (Girl, me too.) Samantha Denis adores hers: “So floppy and perfect and fits everything. If you like a more structured bag, this may not be your thing. I carry my laptop, planner, notebook, pen case (am I 12?), phone, wallet, OWYN protein shake, etc. It fits it all. I also don’t feel so bad stuffing it and tossing it all around town because the price is right.”
Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote
There’s a reason these are classics. “I’ve used this as a gym bag, a carry-on, a new mama pumping bag (it’s fits everything, including the pump!), and more,” says Loni Venti. “You can fold it up and stash it when you don’t need it, wipe it down if you have any spills, and it always looks polished and put-together.” Jokes Molly Karrasch: “I am walking around with a Longchamp inside of a Longchamp 70% of the time. They are so lightweight & compact, if I’m shopping, I sometimes have two. They are stylish & sturdy, perfect for a quick trip to the store or as a carryon. And timeless, which is important, because I keep buying more colors. (SO many colors!)”
Givenchy Pandora Bag
When in doubt, and deeper pockets allow, go French. “I’m obsessed with this bag and am never getting rid of it,” says Meryl Van Meter. “The crinkled leather wears well and consistently looks awesome. It’s a cross-body, but has a ton of room for everything, even stuff for the baby. I think every woman deserves to splurge on a beautiful, versatile bag that can make an outfit.” Alexandra Loeb says it gets even more gorgeous with age. “The distressing only looks better the more you use it. And, Givenchy will repair whatever you need if you wear it too hard. Worth the investment (it’s hiked with me, attended events, been on set and all over cities).”
Hi! [Insert waving blonde emoji here] I'm a Colorado-based freelance writer, and I'm Niles Crane-level picky about everyyyyything.