23 most excellent totes

23

If a tote can’t fit a laptop, I refuse to see the point of it existing, so I’ve only included ones that are on the bigger side here. This croc-embossed one is especially sophisticated.

A cool quilted tote from MZ Wallace, who I know a lot of you are fans of.

Everlane’s Day Market Tote is just a good classic bag at a decent price.

This wool tote from Lauren Manoogian is so damn chic.

This one from outdoorsy brand Fjallraven converts into a backpack, which is nifty.

I like the safety orange carabiner attachment here for your keys and such, and the contrasting straps as well.

Clare V’s Simple Tote is just fantastic in navy with black stripes.

I am crazy for this woven leather number—it’s a little bohemian, but still polished.

And how cool is this pleated leather tote from Mansur Gavriel?

This metallic nylon tote is well-priced and even kind of edgy, in a Missy Elliott kind of a way.

Such a good slouchy tote that’s also quite nice in the olive.

I really dig the striped strap on this zipper tote: so sportif.

Here’s a sturdy and tomboyish canvas tote that’d be good for travel.

The exterior pocket here is actually a pouch that is attached to the bag magnetically.

This denim tote from Baggu is so super-sized that you could fit a weekend’s worth of stuff in it.

And here’s another one that would be good for travel—due to the proliferation of interior pockets—from Tumi.

I still really want a Longchamp bag, and this one’s a pretty ideal size for lugging around all my stuff.

I usually prefer a tote that’s narrower than it is wide, but the wideness of this one is what makes it appealing.

Madewell’s Transport Tote is just a good, basic, well-priced everyday bag. I also like it in the canvas.

Here’s a nice solid vegan leather option.

I really like how narrow this one from Cos is.

This bag is waterproof, which is cool, and it comes in a few good neutral hues.

And finally: this army green bag from Andi just looks super-versatile.

 

 

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23 Thoughts on 23 most excellent totes
    anna
    24 Jan 2020
    12:02pm

    would be nice to see stylish backpacks. I can’t have purses because i carry too much stuff and finding a nice backpack is real challenge

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    Jax
    24 Jan 2020
    11:27am

    Kim, for your next week of requests, I’m requesting a post of sophisticated but durable belt (bum/fanny) bags, please. Both leather and synthetic. And they have to fit a smallet (small wallet), phone, keys and sunglasses. Adjustable strap and buckle, so I can wear across back or front torso, as well as waist. Long-time cross body bag wearer, but want something that I can be truly handsfree with. And something that I could take wear on an afternoon hike, then stop at a nice (not super fancy) restaurant and still look city grownup.
    I’ve seen some promising ones from Rebecca Minkoff, etc, but would love to see what the ultimate cool hunter can dig up!

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    Meg
    24 Jan 2020
    11:36am

    I am the biggest fan of MZ Wallace handbags and totes since their launch way back when. That mid-size quilted tote is by far the biggest workhorse bag I’ve ever owned. Splurged on The Row’s leather tote last year and absolutely love, but it cannot take the wear and tear of the MZ nylon on my commute.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    24 Jan 2020
    2:37pm

    I’m so particular about what I want/need in a tote – not that these aren’t all great, but I’d love one that checks ALL of the boxes: Black leather, zip top, long enough (sturdy) straps to carry on my shoulder, no logos, feet on the bottom, lined inside, with interior pocket(s). Specific enough?!? *The Madewell comes the closest.

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      AK
      27 Jan 2020
      10:43pm

      ZIP TOPS. Yes. Please. I refuse to subway-commute or travel without them.

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    Kirstjen
    24 Jan 2020
    3:22pm

    That Tumi bag looks like it’s the only one that has the band that slides over your carry-on handle. I’m in the market for a good travel tote, and I’m never buying another travel tote that doesn’t have this. It’s too much of a pain in the ass when I’m running through an airport to feel like I’m a human pack mule…

    3

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    Elizabeth
    24 Jan 2020
    10:30am

    Speaking of laptops, which one do you use/like? I desperately need to upgrade my MacBook Air, but have been wary to do so because of the butterfly keyboard issue.

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      Kim France
      24 Jan 2020
      10:33am

      I got a new MacBook Air over the summer, and like it fine. The keyboard is a little smaller than it was on my last MacBook, however, which can be frustrating. What is a butterfly keyboard?

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        Elizabeth
        24 Jan 2020
        12:50pm

        Thank you! Also, not quite in the target demographic, but loving the new podcast.

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          Kim France
          24 Jan 2020
          3:43pm

          Thanks, Elizabeth!

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    c.w.
    24 Jan 2020
    8:02am

    Okay, there are three here that I need. The Fjallraven, the Feed and the Tumi.

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    Eloise
    24 Jan 2020
    8:53am

    The Cos shopper was going in my cart butnit’s sold out in black. May pay a visit to the olive one on my way to work this am.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      24 Jan 2020
      2:39pm

      I love the look of the olive one, too. They’ve got some good ones.

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    JB
    24 Jan 2020
    10:04am

    You’ll never regret the Longchamp. Get one that can hold your everyday purse as well as your tech stuff. Its only issue is lack of interior pockets. Besides that, they’re the best. And most fold up for storage/travel.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      24 Jan 2020
      11:28am

      While I have a black leather Longchamp handbag (a non-tote), I’ve wondered about the nylon totes that fold up. However, I’m never sure about the cleaning/maintaining of a bag that has nylon and leather trim With my leather bags, every year I make a point of cleaning and conditioning with Lexol stuff that I got from my leather repair guy. Any insight into cleaning and maintaining mixed material bags?

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        MaryAlice
        24 Jan 2020
        12:55pm

        Just a thought: When my daughter was at NYU, her friend was on the subway and had her Longchamp nylon tote slashed and her wallet stolen. After I heard that I do leather totes only

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      AK
      27 Jan 2020
      10:42pm

      I tried a Longchamp a few years ago and returned it. Between the useless foldover flap and the total lack of pockets, it was maddeningly inconvenient for my subway-commuting life. Also, the corners started to fray almost immediately. I’m baffled by their popularity.

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    Tally
    24 Jan 2020
    11:14am

    Halp! Totes are my kryptonite!

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    Jax
    24 Jan 2020
    11:18am

    That super wide one is stylin’, but would be annoying on the subway or bus. For the carrier and the other passengers!

    The super narrow Cos one — I could see so many of my designer/creative coworkers and friends carrying that! It screams thoughtful, minimalist brand director, haha.

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    Colleen
    24 Jan 2020
    11:03pm

    Anyone else out there mystified by the general love of the Madewell Transport tote? Or Madewell bags in general? Sure, they look great, but the reality is that they all seem to have straps made of, well, leather’s version of particle board. The least bit of use causes areas to curl, split apart, and chip away. I’ve tried two different bags and had the same issue. Extremely shoddy construction. Avoid at all costs.

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    Kim France
    29 Jan 2020
    11:44am

    Thanks for the reminder, Suzie. I will say I’ve carried my laptop in totes by some of the brands you mentioned—Clare V among them—and have never had any problem.

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    Suzie Q
    29 Jan 2020
    9:37am

    Time for my semi annual reminder that just because a tote CAN fit a laptop, doesn’t mean it SHOULD! I sell handbags, so I get that everyone wants a good looking bag that doesn’t scream ‘computer case’. The Tumi is obviously built for work, and the Madewell is popular as well. MZ Wallace is also great, but the nylon doesn’t lead to ‘structure’, so it doesn’t stand up on its own, if that is important to you. The Longchamp is better as a regular tote vs. laptop tote; it is thin and unless it’s a tiny laptop, really isn’t meant to carry the weight. The Rag and Bone is heavy without any stuff in it, and the Clare V also is iffy with the weight of the computer, IMO. Bring your laptop when you go shopping!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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