Totes are must-have for any bag carrier–they’re roomy, convenient, versatile, and often carry imagery or phrasing that can show off a bit of personality without becoming the main component of an outfit. We can take them to the grocery store, lug around our laptops, or simply throw our daily needs in one and go.
We combed through several stores, designer and budget, and found the top totes we think convey a fun and trendy look for the coming spring and summer seasons. Some are constructed of sustainable fabric or benefit different charities around the world, and some are simply built to look beautiful. Whether you prefer the boldness of a bright red carryall or the muted tones of a neutral canvas bag with a botanical theme, there’s something here for everyone and every price point.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Magda Archer x Marc Jacobs The Small Traveler Tote
The Magda Archer x Marc Jacobs Spring 2021 line aptly captures a collective sigh of grief and frustration we all likely feel a year into this pandemic. Slogans like “My Life Is Crap” and “I Hate Art” are hilariously juxtaposed with ultra-precious vintage greeting card imagery, sarcastically describing so many of our current mindsets.
Writer’s note and full disclosure: This exact tote was my big weekend splurge a few days ago, and it instantly jolted me out of the winter fog I’d let overtake my mood. Something about the sweet, springlike shade and joyful puppy expression with an edge made me feel like I could hold my life together so long as I had a good bag in which to do so. Luckily it fits a laptop, drumsticks, makeup, an iPad, and a big wallet (my personal essentials) in convenient fashion, and the small compartments help me stay organized, even while I’m mostly stuck at home.
Kazeem Hobo – Recycled Nylon
This low-profile bag will hold nearly everything you can stuff in it while looking simple and chic with just a pop a bright red to give it character.
Constructed of recycled nylon and lined with certified organic cotton, this bag comes from sustainability experts Able Made and proceeds benefit city-youth health via the Ucal McKenzie Breakaway Foundation. Wooden feet protect the bottom, while three interior pockets and one exterior make organization a breeze. It’s also easy to clean–just wipe down with a damn cloth as needed.
Skinnydip canvas tote bag in blue butterfly print
Thanks mostly to Zoomers and nostalgic millennials on TikTok and Instagram, Y2K style is back, baby.
Many of us recall the time we basked in the aesthetic movement of velour everything, rhinestones, body glitter, and Juicy Couture, but wading back in can be challenging if you’re older than 22. This butterfly-adorned tote is the perfect hint of the trend that gives off new millennium vibes without looking immature or gaudy, and the price simply can’t be beat.
10th Anniversary Tote Bag Red
The still-reigning queen of punk fashion continues using her sartorial platform for good with this, the 10th anniversary tote bag celebrating her “Made In Kenya” project that employs local artisans from the country to create gorgeous pieces by folks the company has trained and employed. Featuring a beautiful “Mirror The World” print with kissing doves and a rich, vibrant red color, this tote will dress up and brighten any look you pair with it, plus generous sizing makes it ideal for carting around all your daily necessities.
Ashley Walker Art Print Tote Bag
For the first time, Forever 21 collaborated with three artists for Black History Month and the result was a line of beautiful, wearable pieces of art like this Ashley Walker tote bag featuring a series of iconic raised fist logos representing Black Power and the word “love” interwoven throughout.
“Each piece celebrates the voice, vision and heritage of our artist collaborators,” the company says of the artists’ work, and proceeds from each sale will be shared directly with the artists.
Cromwell Home™ Native Plants of Hawaii Reusable Canvas Market Tote Bag
The tropical weather made elude us in the continental U.S., but we can still dream of brighter days with this Cromwell Home tote that names and illustrates 16 different native Hawaiian plants in beautiful illustrative style in a 14×17 inch canvas tote.
Newspaper Graphic Shopper Bag
Art-inspired and keyed into the ongoing newsprint trend, this cheap and easy tote from Shein is a great addition to any bag collection and looks more stylish that the regular plastic-y things they sell for a dollar at the grocery store. Reviewers love the generous sizing and note Van Gogh’s cartoonish face is very cute and funny, and thus will bring a little smile to your day with each use.
Flower District Tote Bag
Hip, retro-looking, and sunny as all get out, this Flower District Tote Bag calls up imagery from the 1960s (very in right now) and is perfect for carting home your very own bouquet score at a weekend market. The unique and roomy structure gives it a bit more versatility than your average flimsy canvas bag.
Alexander McQueen Small Signature Shopper
For the ultimate luxe shopper who likes to use every opportunity to show off a bit of high-caliber glam, this all-weather McQueen Signature Shopper is de rigueur. Embossed with the late designer’s name in red on a black calfskin leather backdrop, it’ll set you back a pretty penny but provide the staying power (and retained value) designer bag collectors adore.