This Classic Handbag Will Never Go Out of Style—17 of the Best for Every Budget

For a long time, a leather tote bag was near the very bottom of my accessory wish list. Perhaps because I always associated them with the bags I had to have for work or school, and consequently long commutes and a heavy weight tugging at my shoulder. The options also appeared to be so limited that the idea of investing in a bag to replace a freebie canvas one I always seemed to have hanging about didn't make sense.

This year, all of that has changed. The options are not only extensive, they are undeniably gorgeous. In part of a broader fashion interest in welcoming practical styles (mid-heels and loafers instead of ballet flats, maxi dresses instead of micro skirts), the classic leather tote bag seems to have undergone a bit of a reinvention. The styles are still elegant and timeless, but have been taken up a notch on the fashionable stakes.


(Image credit: @aidabadji_)

Here's my advice for picking your tote: consider its purpose. If it's going to be your everyday go-to, you'll want to make sure you pick a colour that matches your go-to coats as well, and is the right size to fit everything you need, without taking up unnecessary space. This year, there's plenty of options to accommodate every budget—if you want to be able to chuck everything in your bag and not worry about it, go for an easy, understated style from Arket, Mango or COS. But if you want a refined style that you can proudly carry into the office, consider investing in an elegant designer tote by the likes of Prada, Marni or Gucci—it'll be your favourite bag for years to come. 


(Image credit: @annabelrosendahl)


Next up: 11 Low-Key Luxury Bags That Are Timeless, Anti-Trend and Still Peak Cool

Freelance Fashion Editor

Jess Kelham-Hohler is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist. She has been a contributor for Who What Wear UK since 2023. Currently based in London following six years in Washington D.C. and New York, she was previously the Digital Editor for Soho House & Co, an international group of private members’ clubs for creatives. She has interviewed a range of artists, creators and more, including Alighieri founder Rosh Mahtani, photographer Misan Harriman and fashion editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner. Today, she writes primarily about fashion, travel and culture for various publications, and has worked as a copywriter and content strategist for brands such as Belstaff, Olivela and Equinox.