Welcome to The Essentials, our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.
Let's be honest, no matter how many chic bags you own, day-to-day, the bag you reach for most often is a sturdy leather tote. It's the unsung heroine of our bag collection. It's not trying to get the glamorous attention, but it is actually the most user-friendly bag you'll own. With a busy life and career, everyone needs a leather tote to just dump all their daily essentials into. I enjoy a tiny clutch with a complicated closure as much as the next fashion-loving woman, but a leather tote just does the trick most days when I'm carrying a laptop, gym gear, and a million other things. This purchase will last for years to come.
1. BEIS Mini Work Tote
This cognac-colored bag from BEIS comes with a removable matching laptops sleeve so your MVP (Most Valued Possessions) will stay safe during the commute to and from the office.
2. Street Level Structured Faux Leather Tote
This faux-leather tote from Street Level covers all the First Big Job bases: It comes in two neutral colors, is priced at under $60, and features a cool-girl-approved silhouette that will make you stand out from the rest of the office on your first day.
3. Allsaints Odette Tote & Pouch - Green
Who needs a basic shiny bag when you can carry one that's made from this fun patent leather fabric? The dramatic winged shape adds even more flare.
4. Anthropologie Swing Tote Bag
This no-frills tote bag from Anthropologie is the definition of an easy basic. It has a sleek shape, comes with a removable pouch on the inside, and comes in four colors, including this light golden brown option.
5. Vince Camuto Brant Tote
Vince Camuto doesn't just make cute-as-hell shoes. They also design sleek handbags like this Brant Tote! It comes in two colors and features a bunch of internal pockets so that you stay organized throughout the day.
6. Coach Tyler Carryall
Black tote bags—who needs 'em? This tote bag from Coach comes in the prettiest shade of pink that will add an instant pop to even your most basic all-black work outfits.
7. & Other Stories Braided Leather Tote Bag
Braided leather has such a soft, easy look—and this tote bag from & Other Stories is proof. The cognac brown colorway makes it easy to style year-round.
8. FP Collection Tuscan Leather Tote
And if you really want a relaxed vibe, try this chocolate-brown option from Free People's FP Collection. The rounded edges will only look better as you use it.
9. HOBO The Original Antonia Leather Tote
Are you in need of a tote bag that comes with a ton of pockets to hold all of your essentials? Then pick up this Antonia Leather Tote from HOBO. It even hs a cotton lining for easy cleanup in case an unwarranted spill takes place on your way to work.
10. Kurt Geiger London Violet Leather Tote
Choosing a work tote that comes with a subtle metallic finish shows the rest of your office mates that you have a real sense of style without going overboard. The pewter hue of this Violet Leather Tote from Kurt Geiger London is a great way to spice up your work wardrobe.
11. Madewell The Zip-Top Medium Transport Leather Tote
A tote that has a zipper on top is truly a godsend on those busy days when you're schlepping everything but the kitchen sink to and from the office. Say goodbye to the stress of anything falling out when you carry this pick from Madewell.
12. Kate Spade New York Knott Colorblocked Pebble Leather Tote
Choosing a color-blocked tote doesn't mean you have to opt for a bag that is actually colorful. This tote from Kate Spade New York features three colors, but they all fall into the same shade family. The end result is a bag that pops without going overboard.
13. UNIQLO Faux Leather Square Tote Bag
If you want an affordable tote bag, plain and simple, then this faux-leather option from UNIQLO is perfect for you. The square shape is truly timeless and will last you for years (and years) to come.
14. Calvin Klein Ellie Novelty Triple Compartment Shoulder Bag
Yes, red tote bags can work for everyday use! The hue, although bold, does tend to work with most other colors without clashing too much.
15. Cuyana Classic Structured Leather Tote
This chocolate leather tote will go with every outfit. One of the things we love about Cuyana is that you can get a cool organizational insert for your laptop and a water bottle which are two things you don't want tipping over in your bag.
I’m Aya Kanai, Editor in Chief at Marie Claire. I am a native New Yorker (born and raised!), people think that’s weird but it’s actually NBD. Before I became a fashion editor I was a puppeteer, so yeah, I’m only qualified to work in a very few industries. I work in fashion but I don’t wear heels cause I’m already tall.
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