7 Perfect Work Totes for All Budgets

Sunday, February 04, 2018 • Permalink • 

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The need for a really great work tote is one of the ties that binds women together. We seem to have a universal need to carry our entire lives around with us daily. Once you start factoring in workday necessities like notebooks, a laptop, and lunch provisions, a mere handbag will not do.

I was reminded of this universal need while having dinner with a good friend recently. At the top of her current to-buy list: a perfect work tote. “Perfect” is in the eye of the beholder, but I put a secure top closure, lots of organizational features, and a look that will play well with most workplace wardrobe options at the top of my must-have list. Here are seven work tote options that check all the boxes, and have a little something special about them.

Let’s get things started with my personal top pick. Not only is this classic Aquatalia box tote gorgeous and practical, it’s literally marked half price right now. The standout features are the supple pebble leather and zip closures for the top and both the interior and exterior pockets. It’s also available in brown.

Aquatalia Medium Soft Box Tote


→ But the Aquatalia Medium Soft Box Tote, $398.00 (was $795.00), at aquatalia.com; this item ships for free.


If you are in the market for a vegan option, you can’t do any better than Matt & Nat. The label is known for being the place to go for luxe vegan handbags and accessories. This Tamara tote comes in eight richly pigmented colors and features a magnetic snap closure, multiple exterior pockets with magnetic snap closures, and a detachable zipper pouch. It will fit a 15” laptop.

Matt and Nat Vegan Tamara Tote


→ Buy the Matt & Nat Vegan Tamara Tote, $155.00, at mattandnat.com.


Madewell’s best-selling Transport line of totes recently got an upgrade – a zip top! This tote is now practically perfect in every way. It includes three interior pockets for keeping smaller items close at hand, and it can be monogrammed for an extra $10.

Madewell Zip-Top Transport Carryall Tote


→ Buy the Madewell Zip-Top Transport Carryall Tote, $188.00, at madewell.com.


This slouchy BR tote mixes soft leather and suede on the exterior for a little more visual interest than your usual work tote. It also comes in black, and both are deeply discounted right now.

Banana Republic Portfolio Slouchy Convertible Tote


→ Buy the Banana Republic Portfolio Slouchy Convertible Tote, $94.80 (was $158.00), at bananarepublic.com; this item ships for free.


If you are travelling for work, or would just like a little extra protection for your personal information, this Lodis tote is ideal. In addition to the zip top and super organized multiple interior compartments with zip pockets and a padded laptop compartment, it also includes built-in RFID technology to protect items from electronic scanning. It comes in red, brown, and black.

Lodis Audrey Under Lock and Key Milano Tote


→ Buy the Lodis Audrey Under Lock & Key Milano Tote, $328.00, at nordstrom.com; shipping is free.


For a more creative work style, I suggest this very fun colorblock tote from 3.1 Phillip Lim. It has a snap top and interior patch pockets.

3.1 Phillip Lim Accordion Shopper


→ Buy the 3.1 Phillip Lim Accordion Shopper, $795.00, at shopbop.com; shipping and returns are free.


When I think of Tory Burch, I instantly picture the logo-bedecked bags and shoes. This ultra-minimalist Tory Burch tote is a welcome departure from that formula. It’s crafted from aged vachetta leather and features very subtle branding, including the t-shaped paneling and tiny Celine-like gold logo. It comes with an interior zip pouch that can be removed and carried on its own – perfect for lunch hour – and has a top toggle closure.

Tory Burch Block-T Leather Tote


→ Buy the Tory Burch Block-T Leather Tote, $458.00, at nordstrom.com; shipping is free.


What do you think? Is your perfect work tote in this bunch? Or have you already found your ideal carryall? If you have great suggestion, let us know in the comments!