There are very few pieces we wear literally every day.
If you’re a Brainiac, then your eyeglasses. Your wedding or engagement ring if you’ve found the one.
And of course your work tote.
And it may be the most taken for granted item in your closet. If it performs brilliantly, we don’t give it a thought.
On the flip side, if it’s too small to fit our water bottle or the straps dig into your shoulder, or it falls over when you set it down, releasing an avalanche of stuff, the tote morphs into a giant pain in the butt.
So, here are some top tips to finding one that will be highly functional and perfectly suited to your style.
#1 – Shape
Our choices really come down to soft or structured.
If you snagged your ‘How To Look Amazing At The Office’ shopping checklist, this will sound familiar. If you haven’t yet, you can grab your copy here.
The shape choice depends on both your office environment; conservative or creative and on your personal style.
Structured shapes will look dressier and more polished and perfectly suited for more traditional work environments.
While soft shapes are brilliant for a more creative office and casual style.
No pressure, but pick the wrong shape and it’ll throw off our whole vibe.
#2 – Size
Allow room to grow into it. I’ve made the mistake of falling in love with one too small before and lived to regret the purchase and the money wasted.
And saying we’re going to downsize our stuff never works. We really do need the tin of Altoids, our entire make-up bag, sunglass case, charger, tape measure, hand cream…
Not to mention the last-minute additions that always seem to pop up as we’re headed out the door.
#3 – Material
This Tory Burch bag is my current favorite. I have to say this material is ridiculously easy to keep clean. And although I’ve had it for nearly three years shows virtually no signs of abuse.
If you choose leather, go with texture. Smooth leather shows every tiny nick and scuff. While pebbled leather will weather your life like a Rockstar.
#4 – Take It For A Test Drive
I’m usually a huge advocate of making this purchase in-store. Because while you want it to be large enough to hold your laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. you don’t want it to overwhelm your body size. And that you won’t know until you fill it up and model it in the mirror.
However, given that mall shopping isn’t an option for most of us right now, make sure wherever you buy it from has a hassle-free, flexible return policy.
Then, be hyper-critical. Not of yourself but of the bag. If you think it’s too big and overwhelms your frame, it probably does. If you think it looks too casual, too boring, too anything, return it. Your instinct is likely spot-on.
Something else to consider – will you also carry your handbag? Or can you condense and get by with just the tote? Is a handbag too much? And what does that mean for your morning routine?
Decisions – Decisions.
#5 – Color
We can’t have a discussion about tote bags without discussing color. This is style, so there are no rules. Just what makes you feel good.
Having said that, here’s a helpful barometer:
If your wardrobe contains 50% or more colorful items, you’ll likely want to go with black, dark brown, or beige.
If your closet is dark: greys, blacks, navy, etc. this could be a super fun opportunity to add a pop of seasonal color.
No matter what though, I wouldn’t go too light. Not only will it show every bit of abuse, but you’ll also be limiting yourself in the colder months.
#6 – Price
What’s a good budget?
Well, let do the math. If you’re really looking for a bag to use five days a week, that’s 260 days a year. So a $250 bag is less than $1 a day.
A $500 is $2 a day. Sounds super cheap when we break it down like that, right? And not to sound like a credit card, but considering how much easier the perfect tote makes our lives, it’s actually priceless.
Now, we should probably address the unicorn in the corner. Given the current situation, it’s a weird time to speak about investing in your wardrobe. However, it might just be the very best time, and here’s why.
Retailers are so desperate for sales they are discounting designer brands that typically never go on sale. And those said discounts are huge!
So, let’s take advantage and save some money.
#7 – Other Random Features to Think On
- Do you want it to close securely so random passers-by doesn’t see everything inside?
- Do you carry on your shoulder or forearm? Make sure the strap length makes sense for your preferred method.
- Do you need metal grommets on the bottom for protection? Granted, we hope not to set it on the floor, but sometimes there is no other option. And we’d hate to expose our new baby to a grungy environment.
So that’s it sunshine! Next time you’re looking for the perfect-for-you work tote keep these things in mind; shape, size, material, and color. Take it for a test drive and don’t hesitate to return it, if it’s not fabulous.
That’s it for now.
‘Til next week.
Hugs and Happy Shopping.
P.S. If you missed the Mother’s Day Gift Guide from earlier in the week you can catch up here.
P.P.S. Swing by Saturday when we’re going to chat about Pearls. It’s going to be so much fun.