It wasn’t that long ago that most guys would shy away from carrying a tote bag. From briefcases to rucksacks, there are plenty of other silhouettes that will carry all your stuff while looking a little, well, manlier. But even the manliest of men can rest assured that the tote bag is one of the most practical and stylish accessories you can carry, and one that appears frequently in street style shots of the some of the most well-dressed guys in the world.
Looking to ditch your ratty old gym bag or find a less-formal alternative to a structured briefcase? Then scroll through our top picks for our favorite tote bags of the season. You’ll find something whether you prefer a style that’s rugged or refined.
1. Club Monaco cotton-canvas tote
Whether you’re on a beach getaway or just making your rounds at the farmer’s market and grocery store, a canvas tote is a comfortable carryall — and one that’s a considerable step up from the flimsy totes that everyone seems to stamp with their logos and give away these days. Look for a solid, neutral color, like navy blue, camel, or black, and select the one that coordinates best with your wardrobe. If you anticipate spills and other mishaps, perhaps opt for a darker color, like the dark blue of Club Monaco’s leather-trim cotton canvas tote.
2. WANT Les Essentials cotton tote bag
A tote with a comfortable shoulder strap gives you a couple of different ways to carry it (and an easy way to resist the urge to carry it in the crook of your elbow). A shoulder strap will also make your tote easier to keep close as you board the subway or power-walk to the office. Try the WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie bag, which is constructed of cotton-canvas and sturdy leather trim, plus features a detachable shoulder strap. The bag is also available in black, which is perfect for minimalists who like to dress all in black as the cold weather sets in.
3. Filson twill tote bag
When you’re shopping for a tote, make sure that you consider what you’re going to be carrying in it, since tote bags don’t look so great either overstuffed or under-filled. If you just need to carry around a small tablet and some files on your way in to work, then a smaller tote is probably going to work well. If, on the other hand, you need a tote to carry lots of gear around on the weekends, then consider sizing up. A great mid-sized option is Filson’s tote bag, available with either an open top or a zip top. The totes are constructed of sturdy twill and bridle leather, and are stiff enough to still retain their structure even if they aren’t packed full.
4. Ralph Lauren leather tote bag
Particularly if you appreciate things like rigid jeans and hard-wearing boots, it’s a great idea to opt for a bag that’s going to look better and acquire a patina as it wears in. A leather tote, particularly, can take quite a beating as you carry it around during the week or on weekend trips. A great option is Ralph Lauren’s classic leather tote, which will look equally appropriate at the office or on a three-day weekend out of town.
5. Shinola leather tote bag
Another great option when it comes to leather tote bags is Shinola’s leather tote, which is made in the United States out of luxurious Italian leather. The best thing about investing in a high-quality leather bag, particularly in the light “natural” color that Shinola offers as an option, is that it will gain a noticeable patina and acquire wear patterns that are unique to the way you use the bag.