The 20 Best Designer Tote Bags of 2023
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These fashionable and functional investment pieces will become quickly become staples in your closet.
While plain canvas totes can carry your personal items in a pinch, they don’t have the allure or craftsmanship of designer tote bags. Though major investments, designer tote bags aren’t just carryalls. They can also transform any outfit — adding a touch of personality and elegance — and because they’re high-quality, they'll become wardrobe staples that last for years.
The thing is, with so many designer tote bag options out there it can be difficult to figure out what’s worth your money, and what’s just worth the logo. That's why we spoke to three New York City-based stylists for their recommendations. Along the way, we also considered practicality, durability, price, and of course, style, to bring you a curated list of the best designer tote bags that don’t compromise on function.
Best Overall: Cuyana Classic Easy Zipper Tote
What We Love: This large leather tote looks much more expensive than it is.
What We Don’t Love: We wish it was offered in some bold colors.
The best designer totes are catchall accessories — to justify the splurge we want one that can be used for travel, work, everyday errands, and maybe even as a diaper bag. The Cuyana Classic Easy Zipper Tote landed our best overall spot for its customizable features that make it extremely versatile.
We were initially drawn to the sleek Italian leather exterior, but the spacious interior that can be adjusted to your needs is what makes this an everyday staple. The standard design is made with one large opening and a small interior pocket, but we appreciate the option to purchase additional inserts like a laptop sleeve, organizational insert, and also a matching Airpod case. Once the contents are organized to your liking, everything stays secure with the sturdy zipper closure.
The customization doesn’t end there, though: The bag is also available in neutral colors like black, caramel, stone, and dark olive, and three sizes — classic, tall, and small. Plus, it can even be monogrammed. Even though the tailor-made details come at an additional cost, New York-based stylist Alexis Badiyi says that the bag is an unbeatable price for a designer item. We’d have to agree: We wouldn’t change a single aspect of this bag, although we do wish it was offered in a few brighter colors.
Price at time of publish: $268
Material: Italian leather | Size: 12.3 x 21.6 x 5.1 inches | Closure: Zipper | Colors: 7
Best Affordable: Longchamp Le Pliage Original Tote Bag
What We Love: The minimalist silhouette will go with countless outfits, and it’s relatively affordable for a designer bag.
What We Don’t Love: There aren’t many interior pockets to store and organize smaller items.
Longchamp is known for their high quality French craftsmanship, and that attention to detail shows in the classic Le Pliage bag. Despite the name and excellent construction, this bag is relatively affordable when compared to other designer tote bags. From looks alone, it could go for double the price.
We consider this a step above your typical canvas carryall. The nylon fabric (which is available in fun colors like teal and hot pink) is lightweight and foldable, but remains sturdy even when full. The luxe leather handles and gold hardware elevate the overall look, without looking too flashy. We do recommend toting around larger items in this — the two small interior pockets can store items like lip gloss, keys, and headphones, but not much else, and it can be a pain to dig for loose items in the main pocket.
Price at time of publish: $155
Material: Nylon, leather, metal hardware | Size: 12.2 x 11.8 x 7.5 inches| Closure: Zipper and snap closure | Colors: 7
Best Splurge: The Row E/W Jasper Tote in Leather
What We Love: It’s crafted of saddle leather, which is waterproof and resistant to wear and tear.
What We Don’t Love: There is no zipper or snap to close the main compartment.
Though this bag from The Row isn’t plastered with designer logos, its timeless silhouette, premium exterior, and exceptional construction screams quiet luxury and makes the bag a worthy investment that you’ll continue using for decades.
The oversized bucket tote is crafted of saddle leather — a type of leather that is known for its durability — and offers impressive storage capabilities. As one of the largest bags on this list it can hold bulkier items like beach towels and water bottles, as well as smaller things like your cell phone in the secure zippered interior pocket. We appreciate that the straps are adjustable, too, so it can comfortably be worn on your shoulder or carried in your hands. The main compartment doesn’t have any sort of closure, but that’s the only downfall of this splurge-worthy piece.
Price at time of publish $4,850
Material: Saddle leather | Size: 30 x 14 x 10 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 2
Best for Work: Freja New York Paloma Tote
What We Love: The bag is beautifully structured, so it won’t begin to sag overtime.
What We Don’t Love: While the interior microsuede lining looks pretty, it’s not the easiest to clean.
When buying a work tote it’s crucial to find a bag that will fit your laptop — but that’s the bare minimum. Ideally, a work tote should fit everything you need for the office (chargers, a notebook, pens, and maybe a snack), and still have space for random items, like makeup for post-work, pre-happy hour touch ups. The Freja New York Paloma reminds us of Mary Poppins’ bag, albeit much more stylish.
The structured tote has a zippered main compartment (which can carry a 16-inch laptop), two large magnetic-latch outer pockets, and five inner pockets that are great for storing smaller items like your phone and pens. Despite having so much storage, the bag remains slim even when stuffed to the brim, making it ideal for longer commutes, too.
Lined with vegan microsuede, the interior looks just as luxe as the vegan leather exterior, though it can be a bit tedious to clean if you ever spill something inside. Luckily, the bag is nearly spill-proof thanks to the main compartment’s shortened zipper that keeps water bottles and thermoses upright.
Price at time of publish $358
Material: Vegan ultrafiber and microsuede | Size: 19 x 10 x 5 inches | Closure: Zipper | Colors: 5
Related:The 12 Best Work Bags Will Make Commuting That Much Easier
Best for Travel: MZ Wallace Medium Metro Deluxe Tote
What We Love: This bag features a built-in luggage sleeve and is completely waterproof.
What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t have much structure.
New York-based personal fashion stylist Nejla Renee says that travel totes should have three key features: It should be lightweight, have sturdy zipper closures, and feature a luggage sleeve so it can seamlessly rest on your carry-on. She’s been using this bag from MZ Wallace for years, and it checks all those boxes and more.
“There are a lot of handy zippered pockets and it can be converted into a crossbody,” Renee says. “The nylon fabric is also great for travel, especially with kids, because it’s waterproof and spill-proof.” We appreciate that the bag comes in a wide variety of solid colors and prints, so you can find an option that matches your style (and maybe your luggage). This tote definitely isn’t as structured as some other options on this list, but we appreciate that for travel — it can be easily folded and stored away if you plan on purchasing another bag during your trip.
Price at time of publish $285
Material: Nylon and natural Italian leather | Size: 11.6 × 9.4 × 12.7 inches | Closure: Zipper | Colors: 23
Best with Zipper: Prada Re-Nylon tote bag
What We Love: The hefty shortened double zipper keeps everything contained while leaving space for you to store your water bottle.
What We Don’t Love: Aside from the innovative material and the metal logo plate, there aren’t many luxury details.
Zipper closure bags keep contents contained and secure, but zippers can often be an overlooked detail — many can be flimsy and break easily. That’s not the case with the Re-Nylon bag from Prada, though. The hefty double zipper stays intact through wear and tear. Though it doesn’t extend the entire length of the bag, the genius shortened design leaves ample space for you to store your water bottle upright.
Aside from the hardware, Diana Tsui, a New York City-based stylist and founder of A_Concept Store recommends this tote because it strikes a perfect balance between form and function. “One of the trickiest things with totes is that the weight can add up once you toss in everything you need for the day,” she says. “Nylon is the best solution, but it often runs the risk of looking too casual. This is the best of two worlds: It’s lightweight but still looks sleek enough to take to the office.” As a bonus, the bag is also sustainable: The re-nylon is made from plastic found in the ocean.
Price at time of publish: $1,990
Material: Recycled nylon and leather | Size: 11 x 6 x 13 inches | Closure: zipper | Colors: 2
Best for Moms: Beis Diaper Bag
What We Love: This bag comes with a plethora of features — including a teething ring and an odor-proof pouch for diapers.
What We Don’t Love: Because of all the added elements, this bag is pretty heavy.
Shay Mitchell, the founder of Beis, designed this bag with new moms in mind. With two kids of her own, she set out to craft a bag that will make moms' lives easier. This bag has everything you and your child could need, including a trolley sleeve, teething ring, changing pad, pacifier pocket, odor-proof pouch for diapers, and a pocket for bottles — and it’s stylish to boot.
These well thought out details make the bag the heaviest on our list — it weighs four pounds without anything in it, and piling in all your baby essentials could make this pick a bit cumbersome.
Price at time of publish: $178
Material: Nylon twill and poly lining | Size: 19 x 7 x 14 inches | Closure: Zipper | Colors: 4
Related:The 12 Best Tote Bags For Serious Schleppers
Best for the Beach: Prada Raffia Tote Bag
What We Love: The raffia material is surprisingly strong, so this beachy designer tote will last through multiple seasons.
What We Don’t Love: It’s rather small for a tote — it can carry some sunglasses, a book, and sunscreen, but not much else. Granted, what more do you need at the beach?
If you’re looking for a quintessential beach bag that’s a bit more luxurious than any run-of-the-mill raffia tote, this is it. Made of raffia-effect yarn, the Prada tote is extremely lightweight but reliable — it can withstand sea water and sun, and the crocheted design ensures you won’t be toting sand home with you. Unlike other straw bags, this one comes in a wide range of colors including a calming mint green and summery orange. It’s not quite as big as other standard totes, but when you’re heading to the beach you really only need the basics, like sunglasses, a good read, and extra sunscreen.
Price at time of publish $1,990
Material: Straw | Size: 15 x 1 x 14 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 9
Best Statement : Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama Neverfull
What We Love: Rather than being covered in designer logos (which can be obnoxious) this bag makes a statement with a fun yet neutral print. .
What We Don’t Love: The thin straps can dig into your shoulders if you put too much in the tote.
As Renee says, “no tote bag round up is complete without an iconic Louis Vuitton Neverfull.” While the classic brown pattern is a wardrobe staple, the bold polka-dotted Yayoi Kusama edition really makes a statement without being too loud.
Kusama is an acclaimed Japanese contemporary artist (she’s best known for the infinity mirror room) and this collaboration brings a sense of playfulness to the Neverfull that we haven’t seen before. “The Neverfull is probably one of the most popular Louis Vuitton totes due to its durability and lightweight nature,” Tsui adds. “In Kusama’s signature polka dots, it has an artsy, avant-garde edge that makes it stand out.”
Price at time of publish $3,650
Material: Leather, microfiber | Size: 12.2 x 5.5 x 11 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 1
Best Oversized: Ralph Lauren Leather Large Bellport Tote
What We Love: You essentially get four bags in one when you buy this tote because it’s reversible and the silhouette is interchangeable .
What We Don’t Love: The suede lining isn’t the most durable.
Any designer item is an investment, so before you purchase you need to envision using it for years. For those who like to switch up their style often, selecting one bag that will grow with you can be a challenge — that’s why we especially like the Bellport Tote from Ralph Lauren, because it’s four bags in one.
From first glance, this might seem like a basic leather tote, but it’s actually reversible, so you can simply flip it inside out to get an oversized suede bag. The silhouette is also interchangeable — it can be worn as a classic tote, but it also transforms into a trapezoid shape with little effort. We love both looks, but have found that the suede is prone to wear and tear when on the exterior. We recommend purchasing a suede cleaner, like the Jason Markk Suede Cleaning Kit, to keep the bag looking good as new.
Price at time of publish $898
Material: Leather | Size: 24 x 10 x 13 inches | Closure: Snap and Buckle | Colors: 3
Best Minimalist: Saint Laurent Leather Shopping Tote
What We Love: The simple bag can be worn from day to night.
What We Don’t Love: We wish it had some sort of closure.
This Saint Laurent shopping bag is for minimalists who want a tote that blends in rather than stands out. It’s a couple of steps above your typical canvas carryall and more dependable because it’s made of high-quality leather. Though simplistic, it has enough pockets to store items large and small, and it comes with a removable pouch that’s ideal for storing small items like your wallet and keys, too. This also easily transitions from day to night — along with using it as a work bag, we also carry it around for casual nights out.
Price at time of publish: $1,450
Material: Calfskin leather and polyurethane | Size: 14.5 x 11 x 5.1 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 8
Best Mini : Ganni Medium Banner Recycled Leather Tote
What We Love: The wide strap is adjustable so you can find your perfect fit.
What We Don’t Love: It only comes in two neutral colors.
If a crossbody and a tote had a luxuriously smooth leather baby, it would be this Ganni bag. Though small, it’s very practical: The strap is wide so it lays comfortably across your shoulders (no digging!), no matter how much you pack inside — which, is more than you'd think because of the deep main compartment. We also appreciate the adjustable strap which allows you to switch up the style depending on your needs. Made from recycled leather, it’s one of the more sustainable bags on our list. We do wish it was available in some bright colors, but we’ll take what we can get for the time being.
Price at time of publish: $325
Material: Recycled leather | Size: 12 x 9 x 3 inches | Closure: Snap button | Colors: 2
Best Logo Print: Dior Medium Dior Book Tote
What We Love: It can be personalized with custom embroidery at no extra cost.
What We Don’t Love: This tote is extremely popular – if you’re looking for an exclusive item this isn’t it.
You’ve probably seen this bag on your Instagram feed as well as in real life: It’s extremely popular because it’s so well made. The strong canvas carryall can surprisingly hold a lot, including a 16-inch laptop, and, like the name suggests, books galore.
We named this the best logo bag because it has that sought-after logo print without feeling over the top. “I’m generally not a huge fan of logos, but this is how it should be done,” says Renee. Rather than being plastered with its signature logo, the bag is covered in the Dior oblique print, which is a more subdued pattern. The mid ribbon doesn’t have to say ‘Dior,’ either. It can be personalized with custom embroidery at no extra cost.
Price at time of publish: $3,350
Material: Embroidered canvas | Size: 14 x 11 x 5.5 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 2
Best Canvas: Coach Reese Tote
What We Love: There’s a detachable shoulder strap for hands-free toting.
What We Don’t Love: There’s only one pocket within the main compartment.
Canvas bags are more prone to wear and tear than their leather and suede counterparts, which is why we appreciate that this Coach tote is extremely long-lasting and easy to clean because it’s lined with leather and features metal feet on the bottom to prevent scuffing. These smart design aspects, along with the detachable shoulder strap, make it one of the most practical bags on our list.
Embroidered with Coach’s timeless horse and carriage design, the canvas is classic without looking too stuffy. We do wish there were more interior pockets for better organization, as smaller items can get lost in the large compartment, but essentials, like keys, makeup, and your wallet should be able to fit in the pouch.
Price at time of publish: $650
Material: Canvas and glove-tanned leather | Size: 14 x 8.2 x 11.5 inches | Closure: None | Colors: 2
Best Leather: Bottega Veneta Arco Tote
What We Love: The paneled design is a fresh take on the average leather tote.
What We Don’t Love: The tie closure is a little flimsy. We wish it had something more substantial like a zipper.
Bottega Veneta is known for using the highest-quality leather to craft their bags, and we appreciate the unique paneled design on this tote that sets it apart from other options. Leather bags look more polished than canvas or raffia totes, which is why they’re ideal for more formal settings, including the office, says Tsui. She’s particularly a fan of this design from Bottega Veneta because “the signature basketweave detail makes it feel more distinctive in a sea of plain totes.”
While we adore the exterior, inside you’ll find a detachable leather zipped pocket for storing loose items. The bag closes with a dainty leather string, but it can be annoying to tie and doesn’t do much to protect the contents inside. A zipper or snap closure would be better.
Price at time of publish: $3,300
Material: Intreccio grained leather, calfskin, and suede | Size: 4.7 x 14.2 x 9.4 inches | Closure: Leather tie | Colors: 4
Best for Everyday: Loewe XL Flamenco Bag
What We Love: This design has stood the test of time — it’s been around for decades and remains a staple piece from Loewe.
What We Don’t Love: The leather can scuff easily if not properly stored (use a dust bag to avoid this).
This Flamenco bag from Loewe has been around since the 70s, but it recently received a modern update when knot detailing was added to the tassels. This small tweak brought it into the 21st century, but it’s not so trendy that it will go out of style anytime soon, which is why Renee loves this pick. “Loewe is my favorite designer brand for bags. The leather is gorgeous and the quality is impeccable, not to mention that the style really stands the test of time,” she says. “If I gave this bag to my daughter in 20 years it would still be just as beautiful and relevant.”
Price at time of publish: $3,650
Material: Nappa calfskin | Size: 13.6 x 17.6 x 8.5 inches | Closure: Drawstring and magnet | Colors: 4
Best Vegan: Telfar Medium Shopping Bag
What We Love: This bag comes in a vast collection of colors — 40 in total.
What We Don’t Love: These often sell out. If you see a color you like we suggest purchasing while you can.
Affectionately known as the “Bushwick Birkin,” this bag isn’t famous for its cost — at $202 it's one of the cheapest on our list — but rather, its exclusivity. The bags sell out faster than Taylor Swift concert tickets, so we recommend following the brand on Instagram to keep close tabs on restocks.
While it’s available in three sizes (small, medium, and large), the medium size is just right for holding a number of items, including laptops, extra clothes, and water bottles. The double strap design, which features short handles as well longer crossbody straps, make the bag more versatile than other options, too. The extensive color range also garners attention — it features nearly every color in the rainbow, with 40 brights and neutrals to choose from.
Price at time of publish: $202
Material: Vegan ultrafiber and microsuede | Size: 11.2 x 15 x 5 inches | Closure: zipper | Colors: 40
Related:7 Black Handbag Designers to Celebrate All Year Long
Best for the Gym: Marc Jacobs The Large Mesh Tote Bag
What We Love: Despite being made of mesh, the bag looks and feels deluxe.
What We Don’t Love: The mesh is partially see-through so it doesn’t offer the best privacy.
You may be thinking, who would bring a designer bag to the gym? Is it worth it when you’ll stuff it in a locker and fill it with sweaty clothes afterward? Well, don’t worry, because this Marc Jacob bag has you covered. The mesh will help keep any odors from sticking around and can be easily cleaned by wiping down with a wet cloth. It comes with an inner pocket to keep things organized, and it’s cute enough to stand out, but not so expensive that you’ll be worried about staining it, getting it wet, or leaving it in your locker.
Price at time of publish: $295
Material: Mesh | Size: 17x 13 x 6 inches | Closure: Zipper | Colors: 2
Best Suede: Khaite Medium Lotus Suede Tote
What We Love: The lotus cut design is a unique element that makes this bag stand out.
What We Don’t Love: It requires more upkeep than other totes on this list.
There’s something both relaxed and refined about this Khaite tote. While it has a more sculptural lotus cut than other bags on this list, it can still fold up for easy storing, and the suede adds a bit of texture and depth to the overall design. Although it has a warm richness to it, we should note it will be harder to take care of than other bags. You shouldn’t take it out in the rain, and you can’t just wipe it down if it gets stained. To keep the bag in pristine condition, we recommend taking it to your local leather shop for regular cleanings.
Price at time of publish $2,700
Material: Suede calfskin and brass | Size: 13.8 x 22 x 7.5 inches | Closure: none | Colors: 5
Best Sustainable: Von Holzhausen The Large Shopper
What We Love: This bag has a lifetime warranty, so if you damage or break it, the brand will send you a new one.
What We Don’t Love: The straps are thin and can be uncomfortable if you overfill the bag.
In the past, many sustainable bags lacked in the style, but as time has gone on, more fashion-forward designs have made it mainstream, so we no longer need to compromise between what’s good for the Earth and what’ll look amazing. This Von Holzhausen bag is a perfect example of that innovation. The brand focuses on creating new sustainable materials that look and feel extremely similar to leather, but are instead made from plants and recycled water bottles.
This specific style can be worn as a cross body or traditional tote, and the deep main compartment fits everyday necessities from laptops and water bottles, to notebooks and even a makeup bag. The tote also stands the test of time: It has a lifetime warranty, and reviewers say it holds up beautifully through years of wear.
Price at time of publish: $495
Material: Vegan technik-leather and microfiber | Size: 14.5 x 15 x 5.5 inches | Closure: Magnetic clasp | Colors: 7
What to Keep in Mind
What material you choose can affect not just the overall look of your tote, but also how you style and care for it. Some materials, like mesh or nylon, are waterproof, easy to clean, and durable. Others, including canvas or raffia, are made of natural fiber, so they can be cleaned, but you may see that they wear and tear more easily than leather.
Both Renee and Tsui recommend investing in leather tote bags because the material is extremely sturdy and long-lasting. Plus, it looks more polished than bags made from mesh or canvas, making it ideal for work. Tsui notes that leather is one of the heaviest bag materials, though. “Nylon is a great substitute if you want a lightweight option, especially if you choose one with a sleek design,” she says. Take the Prada Re-Nylon Tote Bag, for example, which is made of recycled nylon and still has a refined look.
No matter what you choose, opt for a material that will be versatile enough to use often. Leather and suede can be dressed up or down, while raffia or canvas might work best for more casual use.
Totes are all about function, but they should look good, too. “Both [aspects] are equally important,” says Renee. “It has to be usable, but it can also be pretty.” Badiyi agrees: “It’s about striking a balance.” As for Tsui, what you’re using the tote for is the most important thing.
Before starting your search, Tsui suggests pinpointing what you’ll be using the tote for. “Are you schlepping around a ton of stuff on the daily and need something that won’t kill your back? Maybe you have a few key items and want something presentable for work?” she asks.
If you want a carryall that can go everywhere with you and hold everything you need, you’ll want something lightweight with wider straps and more organization, which can be found in our best overall pick Cuyana Classic Easy Zipper Tote.
If you’re only toting around a few essentials, pockets aren’t as important. When style is your main priority, opt for something a bit more out of the ordinary and angular, like the Khaite Lotus Tote in Caramel Suede.
Color and Print
Totes can go one of two ways — either you choose a timeless color or print that will go with everything or one that will make a statement. A designer tote is an investment, so choose what speaks to you.
"A bold color can go a long way,” says Renee. “Black is not always a staple, so don’t be scared of color or even other neutrals like cream or gray.” To add a pop of color, try the Telfar Medium Shopping Bag, which comes in 40 hues ranging from brights to neutrals.
“I tend to lean a bit more fun with my handbags and more simple and classic with my everyday totes,” says Badiyi. You can always invest in something timeless, like a brown or black leather (The Row E/W Jasper Tote comes in both colorways).
Our Questions, Answered
What are the tote bags used for?
Totes are the workhorse of bags — they can be anything you need them to be. If you take care it, it can also grow with you. The best tote will hold everything you need and take the space of multiple bags in your closet. It can be a work bag, a girl's night — I’m coming over with snacks and a few bottles of wine — bag, a diaper bag, a personal item for the plane, or even a weekender if you pack wisely.
When you’re looking to buy a new tote, keep in mind everything you may need it for and let that inform your purchasing decision. Versatility is key.
How do you clean a designer tote bag?
How you clean your tote depends on what material it is. For mesh, you can wipe it down with a cloth dipped in some soapy water. You can also spot clean raffia or leather with dish soap, warm water, and a cloth.
As for suede, white vinegar or rubbing alcohol can be used to spot treat. Just rub the mixture into the stain, let it dry, and use a small brush to fluff it back to its normal texture. Canvas bags should be treated like delicate clothes: They can be hand washed with a mild detergent and hung to dry. For bigger stains, find a local dry cleaner or cobbler that you trust. You’ll be supporting a small business, and they have secrets — and products — that not everyone has access to to return your bag good as new.
Why Shop With Us
Lee Musho is an accomplished writer and editor with work in New York Magazine, The Cut, Eater, Punch, and much more. She specializes in digital media, e-commerce, and branded content, and writes about everything from wine to sustainable fashion. For this story, she tirelessly researched the best designer tote bags and consulted New York City-based stylists Diana Tsui, Alexis Badiyi, and Nejla Renee.
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