Work Tote Comparison + Review

I am a huge fan of tote bags because I can be hands-free on my way to work and they are perfect for carrying all my work essentials. I will be comparing my four favorite tote bags in this post, starting from newest to oldest.

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From left to right: MICHAEL Michael Kors Kempton Nylon Tote, Tory Burch Perry Tote, Rebecca Minkoff Medium M.A.B Tote, and Tory Burch Mini Ella Nylon Tote

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Tote bags side by side

I heard about the Tory Burch Perry Tote from Amie’s blog and YouTube channel. She has a light blue one and raves about this bag all the time, so I had to get it when I saw this French Grey color, which retails for $395. I had been wanting a new work tote since I started work a few months ago (kind of as a reward for myself), and could not be more impressed with this bag. I have had this for a little over a month now, and it still looks brand new. The lining does not scratch easily and is very easy to clean. Because the exterior is a pebbled leather, it doesn’t scratch very easily either. I do put my laptop in a laptop case to prevent the hard edges from scrating the interior, but for everything else I kind of just throw it in my bag. The peony lining is beautiful and is a great pop of color.

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Tory Burch Perry Tote in the color French Grey

There is plenty of room for all your work essentials, like laptop, charger, notebooks, water bottle, and much more. There is a medium pocket, which I tend to put my phone and receipts in, and a smaller pocket, which I tend to put mints and my lip balm in. This tote is also very floppy and the straps are very comfortable on the shoulders.

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Tory Burch Perry Tote interior

Since I’ve only been using this bag for a little over a month, it still looks brand new, but I wanted to show you the exterior logo up close. The logo is in silver and I have not had any scratches on it, nor has it tarnished from being rained on. It is also pretty small, so if you don’t like bags with logos, this is great for you!

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Tory Burch Perry Tote logo on exterior

I have been really loving the color combination, because the French Grey color works well with pretty much anything I wear to work, and I can see this transitioning well to warmer weather. Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new work tote!

Next up is my Rebecca Minkoff Medium M.A.B. Tote in the color biscuit. I purchased this for $135 at the end of summer 2015 when Rebecca Minkoff had a huge summer sale. The original retail price for this bag is $265, but you can probably get it for cheaper anywhere now because the style came out a while ago. This tote bag is a lot more stiff than the Tory Burch Perry Tote, and when I first started using it, the straps dug into my shoulders. After time, I either got used to it or the material softened up. This color is perfect for spring and summer, but you will probably have to get it from the pre-loved market, as it is sold out. This tote is a little smaller than the Tory Burch Perry Tote, but can still fit my laptop, charger, notebooks, water bottle, and much more. There is a pocket on the exterior but I have never used it before becuase it is quite difficult to get in and out of. I really like the gold on this bag and added a keychain from BaubleBar to make it look more fun.

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Rebecca Minkoff Medium M.A.B. Tote in the color Biscuit

The interior lining is printed and doesn’t seem to scratch easily (if it was scratched, you probably won’t be able to tell). There is a zip pocket, a pocket as big as a cardholder, and two more pockets on the other side. I use the two pockets for my phone, lip balm, and mints, but I don’t really use the zip pocket. I used this tote and only this tote since I got it (until I got my Perry Tote) and it was a staple piece in my wardrobe for senior year of college.

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Rebecca Minkoff Medium M.A.B. Tote interior

There hasn’t been much damage done to this tote even though I’ve had it for more than a year. Part of the handle has this glue-like thing stuck on it and is quite difficult to get off. I’m not really sure what that is but it doesn’t really bother me.

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Pretty much the only damage I made on this bag

Overall, I really recommend this tote if you’re looking for a tote with more structure and can hold your laptop and other work essentials.

I rocked my Tory Burch Mini Ella Nylon Tote during my entire internship two summers ago (and used it occasionally for school). Because this is black on black, it matches with literally anything. I purchased this on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in 2014, and it normally retails for $175. There is also a bigger version of this tote bag, but from what I’ve seen, the bottm tends to lose it’s shape more and doesn’t look as flattering. I really love the look of this bag because I think it makes me more put together, but the size is the issue. It can still fit my laptop, but the bag won’t close. If this tote was an inch wider and an inch taller, it would be perfect. That being said, I can still put my laptop, notebooks, water bottle, and other essentials in this tote bag and it doesn’t look bulky, the only problem is that I can’t close it. I use this tote bag less often than the others because of the size, but the exterior still looks great, probably because it’s nylon. The logo on the exterior is pretty big but is not very noticeable because it is black on black.

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Tory Burch Mini Ella Nylon Tote in the color combo Black/Black

The interior features a zip pocket and two open pockets on the other side. The gold detailing is only on the interior, so it matches with whatever jewelry you are wearing. My interior is a little wrinkled because I had it in a dust bag and haven’t used this in a while, but it is very durable.

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Tory Burch Mini Ella Nylon Tote interior

This is a tote bag that will elevate your look and looks very professional, but if you have a lot of things to carry around, this probably isn’t the best choice.

Finally, my first ever tote bag! Well, this probably wasn’t my first tote bag, but it was the first tote bag I purchased that costed over 100 bucks. I was a freshman in college and wanted a tote bag for school. At the time, everyone at school had the Longchamp tote, but I wanted something different, so I went for the MICHAEL Michael Kors Kempton Nylon Tote (large) in the color red for $138. This bag comes in smaller sizes too. It is a very true red with gold hardware and brown leather straps.I use the exterior pocket for my wallet and phone because it’s very easy to get in and out of. I also use this bag when I travel because the main compartment zips up and it keeps my belongings safe.

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MICHAEL Michael Kors Kempton Nylon Tote in the color Red

The interior is very roomy and can fit all my work essentials. It features a zip pocket and a total of four open pockets of different sizes. It also has a a hook for your keys or a small pouch. The lining is durable and when I’m cleaning my bag I just turn it upside down and all the nasty things (dust, hair…) will fall out.

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MICHAEL Michael Kors Kempton Nylon Tote interior

Since I’ve had this bag for over years now, there has been some significant wear and tear on the straps. From far away you really don’t notice it, and I feel like when people are up close they just notice how red the bag is. I do put a lot of items in my tote bags, so it makes sense that the trimming on the straps look like this now. The gold hardware, however,  has not really been scratched at all, and this bag has been through many many airports, snow, rain, everything!

This is a great tote bag if you are looking for something that is roomy, durable, and timeless. Because this is an older style, it is a bit more difficult to find. Michael Kors also released a new version of the Kempton Tote with two pockets on the exterior, but I still prefer the old version.

This concludes my comparison and review of the four tote bags! Let me know if you have any questions and thank you for stopping by : )

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5 Comments

  1. November 4, 2016 / 9:45 AM

    I was looking into buying a new work tote, so glad you did this comparison! Gonna look into getting a Tory Burch Perry Tote.

    • November 4, 2016 / 9:50 AM

      Tory Burch had a 50% off sale a while ago for the burgundy color! Maybe they will have sales again soon 🙂

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