Carry It ALL: The Best Designer Tote Bags

Carry it all in style!

Yes, we all love our mini bags, our flap bags, and satchels, but sometimes you just need a bag that can hold EVERYTHING. A traditional tote bag is a quintessential part of any collection. Although the idea is a simple, finding the perfect tote for your needs can be a challenge. Totes are generally just rectangular bags with wide interior compartments. However, little details of the bag such as  whether it is an open or zip closure, or whether there are pockets and detachable pouches can totally change your experience with the bag. PurseBop is here to help you navigate through the subtleties of a few designer tote bags you are probably familiar to you. Below you will find mini reference guides for each tote style that include material information, sizes and pricing, features, and popular colors.

Versatility and Functionality

Before diving into specifics, let’s think about totes on a broader level. Totes can be life savers. You may be the type that loves haphazardly throwing their things into a cavernous, mighty bag. Or, you may appreciate how totes help you stay organized and put together in the busy world. No matter what the case is, you can easily find a particular tote that will accommodate your needs and complement your style. Here are a few checkmarks and questions to keep in mind when shopping for a tote…

  1. Where and when will I be carrying this bag? Do I need to consider a more durable and damage resistant material like canvas?
  2. Am I worried about the security of my belongings? Am I better off with a zipper closure or open top?
  3. How separated and organized do I want my items to to remain within my bag? Do I want it to have interior divisions?
  4. Do I want exterior adornments or features? (such as decorative and/or functional pockets and zippers)
  5. How much can this tote fit? Will the shape change when packed to capacity? How easily can I carry the tote on my shoulder, in the crook of my arm, or by hand once it is filled with my items?

Although the list could go on forever, totes can serve many helpful purposes…

  • Work bag
  • School bag
  • Diaper bag
  • Beach bag
  • Errand bag
  • Carry-on bag
  • Nesting bag for secure travel (PurseBop demonstrates this use of a tote in her How to Pack a Birkin guide)
  • Everyday Bag

CULT FAVORITES

Goyard

Goyard Saint Louis Tote

PurseBop recently proclaimed the Saint Louis may just be the tote of all totes. It is Goyard’s most iconic bag, and it has rightly earned its ranks as a crowd favorite because of its simplicity and lightness. It has almost no structure, so it can expand to fit bigger items and be stored compactly in another bag if needed. It is waterproof and can transition to any situation.

Material: Canvas (mixture of hemp, cotton, and linen)

Sizes (length x height x width) :

  • GM (19 x 11 x 6 inches) – Classic Colors – $1,375/Special Colors: $1,795
  • PM (12 x 13 x 7 inches) – Classic Colors – $1,200/Special Colors – $1,560

Features:

  • Detachable Pochette
  • Can be customized with initials and patterns

Popular Colors:

  • Classic Colors: Black/Black, Black/Tan
  • Special Colors: White, Grey, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Navy, Burgundy

Read more on the Goyard Saint Louis in the Grab & Go: The Goyard Reference Guide
Read about GM versus PM sizes in The Goyard Saint Louis: The Tote of All Totes feature

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Neverfull

The Louis Vuitton Neverfull was first introduced in 2007, but quickly joined the family of LV staples and has been tremendously successful since then. The Neverfull’s aim is to live up to its name. It is meant to be spacious without being bulky, and still maintains a little bit of structure especially when cinched. Many fashionistas suffer from the Goyard Saint Louis versus Louis Vuitton Neverfull dilemma. While both bags essentially can serve the same purposes, the Neverfull is a little more handbag-esque and not as casual looking as the Saint Louis. Unlike the structureless Goyard, you can adjust the Neverfull to tighter shape. If you enjoy a slightly more formal look, this bag will serve you well. A word of caution though, continually cinching the bag on the sides may create wear in that region.

Material: Coated Canvas and Natural Cowhide Leather Trim

Sizes (length x height x width):

  • GM (15.7 x 13.0 x 7.9 inches) – $1,340
  • MM (12.6 x 11.4 x 6.7 inches) – $1,260
  • PM (11.4 x 8.7 x 5.1 inches) – $1,180

Features:

  • Inside Pocket
  • Removable Zippered Clutch
  • Side Laces to cinch the bag for a sleeker, slim structure
  • Can be customized with initials and patterns

Popular Colors: Damier Ebène, Damier Azur, and Monogram

Longchamp

Longchamp Le Pliage

The Le Pliage bag is Longchamp’s icon. It is inspired by Japanese Origami and is truly inventive because it can fold down to the size of the notebook when not in use. The LePilage is lightweight, yet still durable enough to hold your items without strain on the bag. The LePliage line is extensive and comes in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. The nylon LePilage collection is pretty accessibly priced with bigger pieces retailing for even below $200.

Material: Nylon Canavs, Leather versions available

Sizes (length x height x width):

Features:

  • The entire bag is extremely lightweight and flexible. It can be folded down into a compact shape.
  • Can be customized with initials and preferred color scheme

Popular Colors: Beige, Black, Navy, Red, Purple

See PurseBop’s travel Longchamp Le Pliage in action in the How to Pack a Birkin feature

Chic Choices

Totes like the Saint Louis, the Neverfull, and the Le Pliage are popular because of their simplistic designs and abilities to serve as bigger, more functional bags. If you are looking for a tote more akin to a handbag, check out these picks from other designers below.

Valentino

Valentino Rockstud Tote Bag

Material: Leather

Sizes (length x height x width):

Features:

  • Removable Shoulder Strap
  • Flip Lock Closure (with the exception of the large size)

Popular Colors: Black, Red, Beige

Chanel

Chanel Cerf Tote Bag

Material: Calfskin

Sizes (length x height x width):

  • Original (8.9 x 14.5 x 7 inches) – $3,400

Features:

  • Shoulder Strap
  • Front Pocket Compartment
  • Lock Closure

Popular Colors: Black, Beige

The Chanel Shopping Tote (varies across collections) but is another Chanel staple. Peek at the recent styles below.

Chanel-Calfskin-Shopping-Tote-4600

Chanel Large Shopping Bag – $4,600 (Cruise 2015/2016)

Chanel Large Shopping Bag – $4,100 (Summer/Spring Pre-Collection 2016)

Gucci

Gucci Swing Tote

Material: Leather

Sizes (length x height x width):

  • Mini (7.9 x 8.4 x 4.3 inches) – $940 – no longer available
  • Small (10.6  x 9.5 x 6.3 inches) – $1,110 –  no longer available
  • Medium (13.5 x 12 x 7 inches) – $1,350 – no longer available

Features:

  • Magnetic Closure
  • Zip Pockets
  • Smart Phone Pockets
  • Pocket big enough for an iPad
  • Removable ID tag

Popular Colors: Black, Red, Pink, Navy

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent Shopping Tote

Material: Leather

Sizes(length x height x width):

Features:

  • Hanging YSL logo tag
  • Leashed Zipper Pouch

Popular Colors: Tan, Silver

Givenchy

Givenchy Antigona Tote

Material:  Leather

Sizes:

Features:

  • Removable Zip Pouch

Popular Colors: Black

Tory Burch

Tory Burch Ella Tote

Material: Nylon with Synthetic Trim

Sizes (length x height x width): 

Features:

  • Magnetic Closure
  • Exterior Snaps
  • Interior Zipper
  • Cell Phone Pockets

Popular Colors: Black, Blue, Red, Color

Tory Burch Robinson Tote

Material: Leather

Sizes (length x height x width): 

  • Mini (7.5  x 11  x 5 inches) – $450 – no longer available
  • Small (10.75  x 8 x 3.5 inches) – $495 – no longer available
  • Large (13.5  x 10  x 5.25 inches) – $595 – no longer available

Features:

  • Top Zip Closure
  • Adjustable Crossbody Strap
  • Interior Zipper
  • Wall Pockets

Popular Colors: Black, Beige, White, Tan, Pale Pink

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What’s your favorite designer tote?

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