Work bags aren’t one size fits all—figuratively and literally. Some of us make the trek to work with just phone, keys and wallet (how do you do it??), while others don’t leave home without gym clothes (and sneakers), a water bottle, laptop, lunch and a hefty makeup bag. So what makes a good weekday carryall? Here are 15 of the best tote bags for work, categorized by your needs and your budget (whether that’s $45 or $700). Yeah, you’re welcome.
The 15 Best Tote Bags for Work at Every Price Point
The Best Weekender-size Tote Bags
Sometimes bigger is better, especially for those days when we leave the house at 7 a.m. and don’t return until 8 p.m. When we need to fit everything and the kitchen sink, these Mary Poppins-esque bags make our lives easier by saving us the annoyance of carrying two bags at a time. Bonus: They can actually be used as weekender bags when long weekend plans call. Here are three large tote bags we love.
1. Rains City Waterproof Tote
No one likes being caught in the rain. But even worse is a downpour that’s strong enough to send a soggy laptop to the IT department for replacement. Luckily, this extra-large tote nips that situation in the bud. Made from the Danish brand’s signature waterproof material and weather-resistant hardware (read: no rusting), it has a zip closure to keep precipitation out. But that’s not the only reason we love it. At just over one pound, it’s super lightweight and the soft material makes it easy to stuff to the brim.
2. Beis Work Tote
If you like your work bags structured, then you need to invest in this large Beis Work Tote. Designed by actress Shay Mitchell with the intention of helping people who are always on the go, it’s thoughtfully designed to hold a day’s worth of essentials…and then some. There are two zippered pockets on the outside for easy access to your absolute essentials—like subway cards, keys and your cell phone—plus a removable interior pouch and padded laptop sleeve with Velcro closure to keep your beloved MacBook safe and sound. Plus, the croc-embossed faux-leather adds a luxe touch to this practical everyday bag.
3. Mz Wallace Large Metro Tote
This popular MZ Wallace quilted tote is made even more stylish thanks to subtle color blocking and a glossy finish. But there’s more to this beloved bag than just good looks: It holds an entire day’s worth of clothes, work necessities and toiletries, without looking clownish. Inside, you’ll find enough card slots, detachable pouches and pockets to make even the most organized person excited. You won’t even have to dig to find your keys—they’ll be attached to the handy keyring strap, obviously. MZ Wallace, never change.
The Best Small Tote Bags
Where our minimalists at? If you fall into the “less is more” camp, a compact tote bag will provide just enough space for your can’t-leave-home-without-it essentials. This is an especially good option if you commute by foot, so your daily route will feel less like schlepping and more like a stroll. Here are three small tote bags to kick your organizational skills into overdrive.
1. Dagne Dover Petite Signature Coated Canvas Tote
We get it, handbags go through a lot, so investing in one that can withstand a beating is paramount. Though small, this Dagne Dover tote is mighty thanks to scratch-resistant crosshatched canvas that won’t show even the slightest ding. Its petite frame is ideal for the light traveler who would never dream of lugging their laptop home, because they never leave the office without finishing their to-do list. Plus, the optional crossbody strap makes going hands-free an absolute breeze.
2. Uri Minkoff York Leather Open Top Tote Bag
If bulky bags feel like too much, opt for this slim-profile tote instead. The Italian leather was not made to be stuffed to the brim, but rather filled with a very edited selection of everyday items. But don’t worry, because the two interior pockets and single exterior pouch will still keep everything organized. The drop handles help the bag sit at the perfect spot under your arm, which is a huge feat in itself.
3. Staud Frida Leather Tote Bag
Want a work tote that doesn’t really look like one? Staud’s circle-handle tote is it. But it’s not all about the aesthetic. Inside, you’ll find a removable zip pouch crafted from leather that keeps all your belongings from spilling out. We’ll be carrying this to and from work and all weekend long.
The Best Zippered Tote Bags
Sometimes we just like the security of knowing all our possessions are safe and sound. Other times, we just don’t want to look at all the junk in our bags. Either way, a bag with a zipper is the best way to go. It helps safeguard valuables and keeps everything secure if the bag inevitably rolls off the passenger seat and onto the floor during rush hour. If you can relate to either of these scenarios, a zippered tote is the way to go. Here are three of the best.
1. Topshop Taz Croc Embossed Faux Leather Tote
When looking for a bag that doesn’t break the bank, this Topshop tote makes it easy to stay on-budget. From the croc-embossed faux-leather and gleaming gold-tone accents to the spacious interior that fits everything you need for the office and beyond, it’s almost too good to be true. Except it’s not, because this carryall is yours for the taking.
2. Ted Baker London Large Narissa Leather Tote
Like the idea of a top zip, but still want to be able to reach for your lipgloss with ease? This Ted Baker leather tote bag is about to blow your mind. Complete with two zippered sections and three open compartments, it offers the best of both worlds. Zip valuables for safe-keeping, and stash everything else in the open sections. Genius.
3. Kate Spade New York Large Margaux Leather Satchel
Kate Spade has the ability to make even a work tote feel like a beautiful treat. The pebbled leather adds a sense of durability, while the abundance of pockets keeps everything effortlessly organized. The good news: It comes in six colors. The bad news: We want them all.
The Best Leather Tote Bags
There’s no reason our work bags can’t also make a fashion statement. After all, they’re part of our outfit five days a week and usually make an appearance at happy hour. Leather is not only a chic choice, it’s also one of the most durable and stain-resistant materials that gets better and more supple with wear. Plus, you can always be sure that a black or brown bag will never go out of style and works with every outfit imaginable. Here are three leather tote bags we’d happily carry to the closest glass of white wine.
1. Madewell ‘the Transport' Leather Tote
This Madewell bag is a fan favorite for many reasons—230 of which can be found in the comments on Nordstrom. The leather is soft yet sturdy and ages like a fine wine, looking even better as time goes on. There’s a zippered interior pocket to stash your lip balm at arm’s reach and plenty of space for a laptop and a charger.
2. Everlane Day Market Tote
At first glance, you probably don’t think this tote is fit for royalty. It’s simple, minimal and offers no frills to speak of. But what if we told you that Meghan Markle has been spotted carrying this exact handbag? Well, we’re serious. The Duchess of Sussex is a fan of Everlane’s polished leather tote. We’d venture to guess she keeps a whole arsenal of baby Archie’s favorite toys and pacifiers in there, which means there’s certainly enough room for a laptop, lunch and a sweater.
3. Allsaints Nina Leather East/west Tote
It’s no surprise that all the cool girls adore this British fashion label. We mean, just look at this Nina Leather East/West Tote. The sleek silhouette, inky black calfskin and embossed logo just oozes sophistication in a way that confidently states: “I have my sh*t together.” You could literally throw anything in it haphazardly on your way out the door and people would still think you were the most organized person in the office.
The Best Convertible Tote Bags
Sometimes we’d rather carry our bag on our shoulder, and other times we rely on a crossbody strap. That’s where these bad boys come into play. Made to be held a variety of different ways—from tote to backpack to crossbody—they’re the most convenient things to happen to our morning routine. Need both hands for a coffee run? Done. Shoulder getting tired? Problem solved. Here are three of the best convertible tote bags for all your carrying needs.
1. Beis The Everyday Convertible Backpack
Some days you want a tote. Others you want a backpack. And then still others you want a crossbody. Why not get this bag that transforms effortlessly into all three styles? Made with sleek, water-resistant canvas and a trendy croc-embossed trim, it’s functional fashion in every sense of the phrase. As if that’s not enough, it even boasts a convertible back pocket that slips over the handle of your carry-on, making work or weekend trips that much more seamless. Oh, and you can get all that for less than $80!
2. Madewell Leopard Genuine Calf Hair Medium Transport Tote
It’s a tote. It’s a satchel. It works for the office and weekend adventures. This bag is truly a game changer. Complete with an interior zippered pocket, comfy leather shoulder straps and optional crossbody strap, bringing it along is the easiest decision you’ll make all day.
3. Ganni Leather Tote
Pretty enough to show off on girls’ night, but spacious enough for all the essentials, this Ganni tote is exactly what our handbag lineup has been missing. The structured, boxy shape won’t collapse in on itself, so you can ensure all your essentials remain upright and tidy. Loop it around your arm for quick trips or slip on the striped shoulder strap when you need a little more support.