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Each bag in our closets serves a different purpose — a casual crossbody for the weekends, a cool clutch for going out, a weekender for short getaways. But perhaps the most important bag in our arsenal is that go-to carryall tote bag. Totes tend to get more mileage than any cute yet unpractical crossbody or clutch, and they need to be able to stand up to the challenge. Forget snapping handles, breaking zippers, or fraying holes — ain’t nobody got time for that.
We all have enough standard canvas totes lying around from this or that, but we’re talking about a grown-up tote here — not the one you got at your cousin’s wedding. A good tote needs to be sturdy, versatile, practical, and good-looking to boot. After all, if you’re going to be carrying it to and from work every day, it can’t be just any raggedy old thing. And often, what you’re holding inside is more expensive than the bag itself — like your laptop, first and foremost — and needs to be protected.
So to help you find the tote that perfectly suits your lifestyle, we’ve broken them down from top to bottom. Click on for our picks and to formulate the bag that works best for you.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.