The Perfect Work Tote

It’s tough to find a work tote that encompasses everything you need it to be. Backpacks are childish, briefcases are too bulky, and the tote is well-beloved, and the perfect intermediary between “I’m a professional woman” and “I need to finish studying for P-Chemistry otherwise I’m going to fail the course”. I have this problem; I love designer bags. My go-to’s are usually Dries Van Noten, Mansur Gavriel, and Building Block. I just love bags with a structural shape, so I often purchase a tote that was definitely not made for work, and then appropriate it as my work bag. Right now, my work bag is a fuzzy Dries catch-all tote, and I feel so empowered with the little red furry guy sitting next to me in important client calls.

See Aneesha’s Go-To’s


That being said, there’s definitely a better way to approach work totes. If you’re like me, have a penchant for designer, and are completely impractical, I’ve put together a list of non-work totes that fit a laptop, notebook, and pens/pencils so that you can arrive to work in a sense of impractical style, and throw caution to the wind. I think the most important thing to consider when you purchase an impractical bag for the purpose of work is how heavy the bag is going to be constantly, and whether or not the straps can hold that weight for a long period of time. There’s nothing worse than strap-break, and I’ve had that happen to way too many designer bags to count.

  • Issey Miyake’s Bao Bao bag — I like the white variety, even though that’s even more impractical — I think it highlights the structural integrity of the bag, and the complex pattern

  • Givenchy’s Leather Shopper — I’ve only managed to get a Macbook Air in here (no Macbook pros) and the weight is a little much on the straps, but overall it’s pretty great.

  • Saint Laurent’s Large Leather Shopper — This is the granddaddy of impractical totes. The straps are small, the bag is obviously meant for someone who is paid to shop, and not paid to work; for the love of God, do not get this tote for work. Also, I’ve used this bag for work.

Givenchy’s Leather Shopper —  $1250 on Neiman Marcus

Givenchy’s Leather Shopper — $1250 on Neiman Marcus

If you’re not like me, and you prefer a practical yet stylish approach to fitting your work materials in, first of all, bless you, second of all, I have an ideal personality that I’m constantly working towards that is more like you. My recommendations are:

  • The Montepelier Tote — beautiful, stylish, and not super expensive, this bag is everything I want my bags to be; it can hold just about anything and the straps are constructed beautifully

  • Target’s Ring Work Tote Bag — I absolutely love Target; who before Target made fashion affordable. That’s a rhetorical question, and I’m sure there’s some company that came before Target, but like, not fast-fashion that grossly employs Asian labor forces. This tote is beautiful, affordable, and I just love it.

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