Q: Can You Recommend a Stylish, Affordable Bag to Carry to Work?

A tote for both work and play is easier to find than you might think.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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A tote for both work and play is easier to find than you might think.
Mansur Gavriel large tote in black. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

Mansur Gavriel large tote in black. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

In our latest column, "Ask a Fashionista," you can solicit our strongly held opinions on everything from how to wear a midi skirt without looking like a tree stump to whether a certain retail CEO should go ahead and resign already.

Q: I'm a twenty-something working in a fashion-adjacent industry. I've been using my old college Longchamp as my work bag for the past year and it's getting pretty ratty. I need an upgrade, but it has to be a bag that can cart yoga clothes, lunches, books and still look presentable at the office. All without blowing too much of my entry-level salary. Help! —Hannah, New York, NY

A: We'll agree that it sometimes seems impossible to find a quality carryall at a modest price point, being that so many ladies in our industry tote around their belongings in a beautiful (and prohibitively expensive) bag by Céline, Chanel or Givenchy. But there are plenty of affordable options in leather and other luxurious materials that won't break the bank — and that won't fall apart after a particularly rough week.

The bags below are all relatively simple — so you won't tire of it after just one season — but they're also stylish and, perhaps most importantly, they're sturdy. Many of these are also favorites of industry insiders, particularly the Everlane Petra bag and the Mansur Gavriel tote, which both come in two sizes and a variety of colors. These can carry you from work to the gym to happy hour (maybe not in that order) and you'll still have money left over to treat yourself to a cute pouch to slip inside of it.