I’m currently on the hunt for a new tote, and I’d like to pose a question: why does the search for a good bag always feel like a Quest for Fire? I feel like my needs are simple: I need to be able to throw my life in it (including the occasional laptop) without it looks schleppy or cheap, and it needs to be strong and sharp. I don’t think these demands mean I should have to donate an organ or go on a sojourn to find it.
Also, I don’t want to spend a month’s rent on it because I’m one of those rare people that doesn’t believe in that whole “investment” argument. The best investment in your wardrobe results in clothes and accessories that hold up. If you spend $300 on a blazer and you wear it once a week, that’s a great investment. If you spend $5k on a handbag and put it away the minute it’s “out of season,” your cost per wear is minimal and trying to sell it later is kind of like selling a car: it loses value the minute it leaves the lot and you’ll never get back what you think you should.
That said, if you can roll out and spend $5k per bag, I salute you. I’ve just never been able to pull the trigger at such prices.
All of that said, I need a tote for spring and I think Madewell has the answer again: sharp lines, genuine leather, adjustable handles. It comes in great hues (there’s a dove gray hue that’s part of their offering that’s not really my jam,) but it’s unfussy and tough. I can beat this bag up and it will just look better with age. Plus, check out the price. That works for me.
Madewell The McCarren Tote, $148 via Madewell.com