Totes have a long history dating back many centuries, but today’s tote bags are as varied as any other type of bag, if not moreso. To say the least, they are not all created equal. Sure, in their most basic form they are square-shaped bags with large open compartments and double handles, but from there, they differ quite a bit depending on what type of tote you are talking about.
All Purpose Totes: Just as their name suggests, these bags are perfect for a variety of everyday uses. From hauling library books to holding grocery items, these bags are all about practicality and function. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a bit of style in this category. On the contrary, bags like The Sak Artist Circle Top Zip Tote and the Everest Deluxe Shopping Tote Bag come in some lovely patterns and colors.
Handbag Totes: Handbag totes tend to offer the most unique and fashionable takes on the classic tote style with unique color and material combinations, beautiful hardware and finishing touches, and top closures like zippers, drawstrings, and magnets. While handbag totes are also function in that they’re everyday purses, they are also fashion accessories perfect for completing your totally trendy look. Designers like Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Cole Haan as well as fashion labels like Fossil, The Sak, Jessica Simpson, and Tignanello all offer beautiful handbag totes with interior and exterior pockets to keep you organized while you’re on the go.
Laptop Totes: The most recent type of tote to hit the bag scene is the laptop tote. A great alternative to the boring laptop case, these totes offer a stylish way to carry your work essentials and your computer to and from the office and while traveling. Most laptop totes include a padded compartment that fits your device. Some even include a separate iPad or eReader pocket perfect for the fashionable, tech-savvy businesswoman or student.
Travel Totes: Travel totes are ideal for carrying on planes as your personal item or in place of your carry-on luggage (if you plan to check a bag). They are usually larger than the average all purpose or handbag tote and tend to have more organization (more interior and exterior pockets, maybe a center divider, etc.). Many travel totes are actually zip-top cases making them ideal for use as luggage for overnight or weekend trips.
Diaper Totes: Have a new baby or know someone who does? A diaper tote is often an essential item for new parents who want to go out with baby and have everything they need at hand. Like all purpose totes, diaper tote bags are truly functional with multiple interior and exterior compartments, matching changing pads, and accessories like bottle holders and pouches. However, like handbag totes, diaper totes can also be stylish as is the case with brands like Nest, Perry Mackin, and Ju-Ju-Be.
Beach Totes: Like travel totes, beach totes tend to be slightly larger than other types of totes because they need to hold larger items like beach towels, sandals, and magazines. Unlike other styles as well, many beach totes are made from materials that are more forgiving when they get wet or are exposed to sand: canvas, cotton, crochet fabric, nylon, polyester, and straw. Beach totes are perfect for keeping all your beach gear together when heading to and from the beach or pool and can even be carried on tropical vacations and cruises.
College Totes: College students (or even high school students) look for a stylish alternative to the school backpack may appreciate the college tote. With youthful, vibrant patterns and colors, room for books, notebooks, and paper, and sometimes even a laptop compartment, these bags are ideal for lugging around school necessities with a little more style. As a bonus many of these totes can double as all purpose totes, beach totes, or even handbag totes when not used on campus.