Tote bags aren’t just great for carry-ons and hauling your library books, they’re an established fashion staple that should absolutely have in your handbag wardrobe. In the last thirty years, tote bags have taken their rightful place on the fashion scene as a useful and beautiful carryall bag that’s as multipurpose as it is gorgeous. What was originally a canvas utility bag developed for camping and travel has evolved into one of the biggest workhorses in a wardrobe, and you shouldn’t be caught without one.
If you’re thinking of adding a tote bag to your collection, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting one.
Many people love tote bags because they’re so multifunctional. Large and roomy, a tote bag can be everything from an everyday purse to a multipurpose grocery tote and baby bag, so consider what niche your tote will fill in your wardrobe before you buy one.
While a tote might seem like a purse that’s inherently gigantic, the style actually comes in a wide range of different sizes. For example, if you want one to carry your lunch and wallet to work every day, then you probably don’t want a really large tote or your things will jostle around.
That said, if you’re looking for a bag that can hold your laptop, tablet, encyclopedia, and roller derby equipment, you may want to consider getting a tote on the larger end of the spectrum. Or possibly a duffel bag.
Looking at intended use leads right into an examination of materials. Commonly used materials in totes are leather and canvas, but you have to consider what you’re going to use it for before deciding on what’s right for you. Leather and canvas are both really sturdy materials that work well for carrying lots of stuff, but they’re also stiff, bulky, and not machine washable, so they come with some overhead.
When we were designing our MK Market Tote, we decided to use Ultrasuede for the material. It’s soft, durable, and really easy to care for, so for a working bag like a tote, it seemed like an obvious choice because it’s beautiful and sturdy. It’s also not as thick and bulky as canvas can be, but it still has the same look as leather.
Pockets and Dividers
The original design of tote bags was essentially a bucket made of canvas. Sturdy and no-frills, this design was well suited to a simpler time, but the modern woman typically needs a little help organizing her gadgets and tools.
Because tote bags are so deep and large, be sure you get a bag with the right amount of organizers, compartments, and pockets for your lifestyle. If your bags typically have a large number of dividers, be sure you find a tote that has a pocket in the side. It can be jarring to make the switch from a tidy little handbag with many pockets to a larger tote with only one compartment, so use caution when shopping.
The tote bag is a great addition to any purse wardrobe, so have fun picking one out!
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