I don’t know what it is about a professional-looking work/travel tote, but I’ve just always loved them.
Obviously, there are tons of designer styles out there from a classic Longchamp (aka the one that practically every single girl on the UVA campus carried to class), the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Saint Laurent, and more. But those – especially the latter, can come at a pretty high price point for something you’re stuffing a laptop, pens, notebooks, a water bottle, snacks, and all the things into daily.
So I’ve always preferred a more affordable style that I don’t mind placing on the floor – and that looks great but also prioritizes function.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to a work tote, and everyone’s preferences are slightly different.
When choosing which one is right for you, consider color, material, strap(s), structure, interior compartments/organization, cost, quality/longevity, and usage.
I recently purchased the Sienna Tote (pictured above & linked below) for my in-office workdays – and although I love it, I’ve still been eyeing ones that have a little more structure. I knew it had an open, roomy interior, so I purchased a tote organizer on Amazon (options here and here), but it still doesn’t stand upright. However, this bag would be perfect for light travel or more general use when you have a lot to carry.
Below are my other picks for an affordable & roomy tote – and why…
I don’t know how I missed this one when I was originally looking, but I’m shocked it fits a 17″ laptop – because that seems so hard to find! Mine is the 16″ Macbook Pro, and it definitely ain’t easy to lug around in a cute bag. I wouldn’t say this is the most stylish bag I’ve ever seen and there are some complaints about the strap not supporting the weight of a fully packed bag, but it otherwise seems to fit the bill perfectly. And for well under $200, I really don’t think you can go wrong! Plus, each color is beautiful, although I’m partial to the Toffee.
(2) Paloma Tote [fits up to 16″ laptop]
Thanks to Instagram ads, I can’t stop swooning over this one by a newer brand, Freya NYC. The vegan leather quality looks beautiful, the color is perfect, and I love how simple the shape is, while still being interesting. The 3-main pockets seem to keep it organized, without being overtly so. Yea, I’m probably going to talk myself into this one at some point… (Update: 4/4/22 – Yup, bought it in Cappucino and can’t wait to share more with you once it comes in & I get some use out of it!)
Ever since I learned of BEIS bags from my friend Brooke, I’ve become pretty obsessed and own a lot at this point. I tried their Work Tote, but sadly my laptop did not in fact fit. My sister, who’s a physical therapist, recently got this one though, and is really liking it so far. It’s probably the most structured of the bunch, and I love how it stands upright.
(4) Sienna Tote [fits up to 17″ laptop]
I mostly addressed this one above and have mixed feelings. I love the bag itself – the look of it, the shoulder straps and smaller handles, the roominess, etc. It’s just not great as a laptop bag. It’s not bad I suppose, and it definitely can function as such, I just feel like my stuff slides around in it? Bottom line: Great bag, good price point since it’s on sale, decide for yourself. 🙂
(5) Latitude Tote [fits up to 15″ laptop]
I recently stumbled upon this one, and it has great reviews across the board. It’s mostly open, but with a flat bottom, so it seems to stand upright as well. It has a detachable pouch and luggage strap so you can attach it to your suitcase. You may still want an interior organizer for this one, but overall the quality seems great and it’s also under the $200 mark. It looks like it used to come in black as well, but only the pink-ish buff color is available right now.
(6) Megan Tote [fits up to 13″ laptop]
This tote is so classic and chic and I love that it can be dressed up or down, or even carried more so as a purse. I may have gotten it over the Sienna if it fit my dang laptop. I know it’s an RM bestseller with lots of great reviews, so it seems like a safe choice – and this sandy color is so good.
Which one is your favorite?
This post is not sponsored and all selections and opinions are my own. Some affiliate links are included, but most are not.