Open top tote bags have been in existence in some form since the hunter-gatherer days, when people carried sticks and stones in rudimentary animal skin pouches. The appeal for a simple leather tote has superseded the need for any other so called It-bag and is probably the most recognizable purse silhouette ever. And that is why today, I’m doing a tribute to all of the open totes of the world and why they hold a special place in our hearts (all the while causing horror to many others).

Open totes are great, no actually, they’re just right, for busy moms. When you have an infant/toddler whom you’ll have to haul around along with everything else in your life, it’s no wonder that a zip top or a flap bag stands to simply be a bother. And when said child itself fits into the bag, who could ever resist an open tote?

Then again, open totes are always a preferable option for work. From the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour to the Goyard St. Louis to the pocket-friendly Tory Burch Perry Tote, these heavy-duty workhorses can reliably be dubbed woman’s—or man’s—best friend. Especially when these totes come with a central zipper and/or a pouch. They literally have everything you could possibly want and more. Open totes have thus always served as the busy worker’s ticket to elevating their work attire smartly.

Speaking of work, who wouldn’t like it if their bag takes them from work to beyond? Also—need a perfect travel companion? Snag an open tote. Or at least, that’s what the stars seem to think…


Angelina Jolie

Especially when, as a more secure option, you can put another bag inside!

image source: Alyson Haley

Speaking of security though, many concerned purse users seem to worry about how much security a totally open tote really offers (I’ll let you in on a secret: almost none at all!) and whether it’s actually as practical as all of this fan-girling eludes. So let me just interrupt our collective panic and illustrate a little scenario: if I were to take a Goyard St. Louis to my local street market any given day, I’d be certain to find my phone/wallet/any of the other assorted flotsam I generally carry gone. So yeah, if pickpocketing is an issue where you are, you’d have to be extra careful with your open tote. Sadly enough, what’s convenient for us to reach for also offers the same convenience for prying hands.

On the other hand, many totes usually come with some securing mechanism to offer a layer of protection. The Louis Vuitton Neverfull not only has a clasp closure at the center but also adjustable side straps to reduce the gaping open top. The Dior Open Bar Tote, an absolute all-leather beauty which was relaunched in 2014 and later discontinued, has strong magnetic closures which goes a long way to protect its contents. The Saint Laurent Sac de Jour, an extremely appropriate work-and-beyond option, has accordion sides which can easily be compressed and expanded as per the user’s requirements. The Chanel Grand Shopping Tote’s heavy chain link straps, similarly, offers protection by means of pulling the sides together. Another popular high-end open tote, the Hermès Garden Party, offers a top snap closure as well as sides that can be snapped together to obtain a more secure tote.

Hermès Garden Party

A personal (and economical) favorite of mine in this regard is the Tory Burch Ella Tote, which comes in a number of options from Printed Nylon and Canvas to Plaid with leather trims. It has a
magnetic closure and attachable sides much like the Garden Party. It’s actually a super cool mom bag that can hold baby essentials as well as your daily workload without being overly heavy.

My point is an open tote should now be considered a necessity in bag lovers wardrobe because it makes such a cool, yet casual, statement that wouldn’t otherwise be attained with a zip or a flap. Despite its obvious security concerns, these fashionable items give a vibe that’s youthful, active and cheerfully carefree. And, if it’s the super soft and luxurious Bottega Veneta Cabat that you’re carrying, you probably are.

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