Fashion & Beauty

Totes Go to New Lengths

THIS PAST April I bought enough pricey makeup at a department store to score a “free” gift—a white tote bag (above, left). I promptly put it into the depths of my closet and as these things go, discovered it sometime in July and started using it. Friends admired the bag, with the result that I have been using it ever since as my summer tote. Unlike the also-free-with-makeup tote (above, near right) I got two summers ago, which was 13½ inches long and 19 inches wide, this one was long and narrower (16 inches long and 15 inches wide), reminding me of a business envelope. Idly wondering if this was just a one-off or if bags were going to grow vertically, I browsed online for similar-looking totes. Then I checked in with a NYC fashion school to get an expert to opine on the subject, but this being August, everyone is “still on summer break.” So, whether this new longer, trim look is driven by something in the zeitgeist or just a mere swing of the pendulum is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, I did find 10 totes that measured up.

—Janet Kelly

LEFT: Accommodate your shopping addiction with a Sies Marjan Farah Tote Bag. Dutch designer Sander Lak went to extreme lengths on this bag, which measures 18.7 inches long. It’s made from glossy crinkle-laminated vinyl and is lined in cotton twill. $395, Matches Fashion.

RIGHT: My mother would have described this Loewe Gate Textured-Leather Bucket Bag bag as neat-looking, meaning it was sleek and compact—a compliment in her lexicon. At a height of 11 inches and width of 7.8 inches, you can’t stuff a lot into it, but it fits nicely on the shoulder and an adjustable strap allows it to be worn as a cross-body. $1,150, Net A Porter .

LEFT: Available in black or white, All Saints’s slouchy, 14-inch-long, 13-inch-wide Paradise North South Hobo Bag has an interior zip pouch for stowing keys and smartphones for quick access. $378, Lord & Taylor .

RIGHT: Baggu’s lined 15-inch-long Basic Tote can hold a 13-inch MacBook in the main compartment and an iPhone 7 Plus in its inner pocket. Available in midnight blue, black and tan. $220, Baggu .

LEFT: Modeled after a simple paper bag, each 16-inch-high Unisex B Waxed Canvas Bag is naturally dyed with with coffee and tea and hand-finished with a natural beeswax coating to protect it. Designed to endure life’s hard knocks and for those who regularly haul their goods and chattels. $260, LN-CC.

RIGHT: Although I love the texture and the casual, slung-over-the-shoulder look of Diane von Furstenberg’s Large Bucket Steamer Bag (16½ inches high, 10 inches wide), the combination of white leather and pale linen may not be ideal for those who are hard on their handbags. $528, Nordstrom.

LEFT: Go way long with Acne Studios’s 17-inch-high Brown Baker Tote, another example of a bag inspired by paper grocery bags. Use the top handles or attach the shoulder strap. Supermarket shopping never looked as chic. $440, Ssense.

RIGHT: The 15½-inch-long, 14¾-inch-wide Uptown Vertical Tote from Leatherology can handily carry a laptop and important files. There are two interior pockets for smartphones, pens or makeup, and a zippered one for a wallet, ID, etc.  $140, Leatherology.

LEFT: Got very deep pockets and like the cozy feeling of shearling? Saint Laurent’s Genuine Shearling Shopping Tote (15½ inches long, 14 inches wide) is a splurge-y, spacious carry-all one could warm up to. $2,250, Nordstrom.

RIGHT: You can carry Rag & Bone’s Walker Convertible Suede & Leather Tote  (14 inches long, 9 inches wide) by the top handle or wear it over your shoulder, thanks to its contrasting straps. Available in lilac or nude. $425, Nordstrom.


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2 thoughts on “Totes Go to New Lengths

  1. Carol says:

    Love the navy tote! Hard to find bags I like with no hardware… also like totes that can hold a file folder
    Why is that?

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Hmm. Good question. Baggu tote says it can!

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