I don’t buy bags very often–in part because we don’t have the storage space, and because I don’t usually crave variety in that area–but I’ve added three new bags to my closet in 2019 and have found myself reaching for all of them regularly! The first was this Lo & Sons bag that I use everyday (the shoe pocket is a game changer), the second was my big girl purchase from London, and the third was this Cuyana tote a couple of weeks ago. I’ve admittedly used the Mulberry less because it still feels new and delicate, plus we traveled so much this summer and I don’t usually like taking my nicer stuff on the road. Larger bags are what I use most so I wanted to do a roundup of cute totes for fall in case anyone else a) relies on them as much as I do and b) is in the market for a new one this season. I get a lot of questions about everyday bags so hopefully this is helpful!
WORK WARDROBE: CUTE TOTES FOR FALL
A quick note: I wanted to feature different retailers, so note that the brands listed in the graphic above actually have several tote options on their sites. I’ve included some more picks from each in the widget below, so you can shop them there even though they aren’t pictured above!
My first “adult” work bag post-college was Kate Spade! It was more of a purse but I squeezed in my laptop and used it almost daily for two or three years. This style is an appropriate size if you’re regularly carrying a laptop, folders, notebooks, etc…it’s definitely more of a “work tote” than an everyday bag, but would work well if you’re in a professional environment where you need to be more dressed up.
I wanted a smaller tote that both fit my laptop but didn’t feel huge or too formal for weekends. I’ve heard countless people rave about Cuyana’s tote quality and saw this one in store when we were in NYC last month. The size was perfect and it fits my 13″ laptop, so I ordered it a couple weeks ago and have been impressed so far! It comes in a few good neutral colors and while I was really tempted by the forest, went with the caramel since it goes with so much of my wardrobe and works well year-round.
I’ve had this tote awhile (see it here, here, here, and here) and love how simple it is. It has one small interior pocket but fits so much…the downside is no laptop sleeve or additional compartments, but I like having a roomy option like this especially since I tend to organize my bags with pouches and don’t just drop things in arbitrarily. The one thing I wish it had was a key hook! The quality is incredible and if you’re looking for something sleek, structured, in leather, and with no-frills, this would be my pick.
This has become my everyday work bag and personal item while traveling for so many reasons including: it’s water-resistant, has a separate compartment for shoes or a wet umbrella, has a designated laptop sleeve, has endless pockets, and is professional-looking so can kind of be dressed up when needed. It also has a sleeve that goes over a rolling suitcase handle–essential for me when it comes to traveling–and it fits perfectly under the seat on airplanes. The interior capacity size is impressive, too! It seems like Lo & Sons is phasing out this style and I really don’t know why, because it’s what put them on the map! Hopefully they’re just coming out with a new version but in any case, the styles that are left are 30% off.
I haven’t tried Dagne Dover but know a few people who have and speak very highly of their totes. Their signature style seems to have some mixed reviews but the Allyn has more consistent praise. The price point is a little higher but I wanted to include it since they’re a smaller company (something I love supporting) and have such a loyal fan base. The pockets and interior capacity stood out to me and it looks like it’d work well as a personal item as well, since the exterior fabric is durable vs. a softer leather.
If you’re looking for a leather alternative, I have a vegan leather bag that I really love! It looks equally sleek and professional and also typically comes with a lower price point. This one from Mark & Graham is gorgeous!
P.S. Two sort of obvious retailers that are missing from this: Madewell and Old Navy. The Transport Tote has a loyal following but I wanted to highlight some lesser known alternatives, plus the style is a little rustic for me. I personally think Old Navy’s bag quality is very average so wouldn’t recommend them. I had one basically shed faux leather everywhere within six months!