This is the once & for all, be-all and end-all of all possible popular totes and bags since I now finally own almost one of each.
Although I’m exaggerating a little because I have yet to buy a Cuyana tote but I have similar ones that I think look better and work just as well, like my Paterson & Salisbury tote, so there you have it.
I have paid for ALL OF THESE BAGS myself.
Zero bags of these bags were free or given to me in exchange for a review, but some links below are referrals or commission-based click links.
Thanks in advance.
Here’s what I’ll be reviewing today:
PATERSON & SALISBURY TOTE
Brand: Paterson & Salisbury – Large Tote Brown
Made in Australia and this is the most beautiful leather tote I’ve ever seen or owned.
This is one of the best made totes I have ever seen or purchased. The inside is not lined though, and that is a minor point but most leather tote bags are not lined at all.
The leather is thick and the rivets in copper are gorgeous, so.. this all adds up to being a bit sturdy but also a little heavier than let’s say a Longchamp Pliage which is plastic & nylon, but not as heavy as a full thick leather bag.
It is mostly the handles I find that are heavy. The rest of the bag is leather that is unlined, so there’s that to consider.
General shopping, even as a diaper bag in a pinch, and while it has no zippers or closures, it holds a lot and feels very sturdy on the shoulder.
It only has ONE pocket on the inside and it only holds my keys OR my phone at best, not both.
I will note that the handles fall off a little when I wear it on my shoulder because the handles are doubled, and although very sturdy and comfortable, they don’t mould to your shoulder, so there’s that to consider.
The only bags that have ever stayed on my shoulder are handles that are flat ones like the LUG totes or the Lo & Sons O.M.G. bag (see below).
LUG TOTES – LARGE & SMALL TOTES
Excellent. This is not a designer tote by any means, but it is a well stitched, well made, well thought-out tote.
It has lasted me all of these years!!
It has little metal feet on the bottom with a plastic cover so that it won’t get soaked if you set it down on a wet counter.
Quite light. It is not as light as a Longchamp Pliage and the large LUG tote is slightly lighter than the Paterson & Salisbury 100% leather tote, but not noticeably lighter.
The smaller LUG tote is obviously much lighter but also smaller.
Great as a diaper or on-the-go bag.
It is light and it has a TON of pockets, and a huge one at the back with a zipper.
It has a little section at the back for your shoes in its own compartment, a little section for a water bottle inside, the front of it has three little pockets that I find rather useless actually (I prefer the newer styles they have now).
EVERYTHING has zippers on it, which is great if you don’t like open totes without zippers. It also has a strap to hold over a luggage handle:
The inside is roomy and it is great.
I don’t think it’s very stylish to be honest.
I prefer the look of leather or even the style of the Longchamp Pliage. That’s the only con, but it is fantastic for traveling and the back of it has a little strap to be able to put over the luggage handle of a suitcase. VERY well thought out.
DAGNE DOVER 15″ TOTE
Brand: Dagne Dover (use my referral link for 20% off) – 15″ Black Onyx Stingray Tote
Excellent. This is a very well made bag, and since I bought the leather version I can’t speak for their coated canvas versions but I know they’re lighter.
I got the black onyx, stingray embossed leather.
This is the heaviest of all the bags.
When it’s empty, it is like carrying the empty Paterson & Salisbury tote and LUG large tote together at the same time as its weight.
I was so incredibly surprised when I lifted it out. I didn’t realize how heavy it would be because I was not thinking about all of the additions that make it such high quality like the metal feet, but it all adds weight.
I don’t love how heavy it is completely empty, if I am honest. I love the look of how structured it is and how it keeps it shape, but the weight is a little off putting. I’m imagining a laptop, books, and things.. and it would be a monster.
This would not really be a great tote to commute on the bus daily with.
Perfect for work or for not having to hold it on your shoulder all day, more like a briefcase or satchel. It has a large section for a 15″ laptop, and lots of space for all of your things. I can’t imagine you running out of space at all.
It is very organized.
I will say that it is heavy, so as a daily purse to run errands with, I am not sold.
The handles are stiff, so stiff that I wonder if they’ll bend a little, because it is so structured.
You can’t comfortable sling the handles over your shoulder and have the bag on your back, it almost feels like a bag you have to carry with your hands only.
I also think the handles are about 2″ too short. Once it’s packed full, I wonder if you could still put it over your shoulder, and particularly during winter with a huge coat? Hmm.
Maybe it’ll soften up over time and usage but for now it’s a little too new.
LO & SONS O.G. TOTE
Brand: Lo & Sons – O.G. Tote in Navy with Lavender interior
It is a well made bag, well stitched and well thought out. I find the leather handles a little flimsy and not at all feeling like leather but I can see why I think that as it is a thicker, sturdier leather, and not super soft which would make it too hard to carry and use.
It is a little heavier (a touch) than the all nylon LUG large tote, which stands to reason, as it is all nylon and the Lo & Sons one is pretty much nylon with only the handles in leather.
I think it is a reasonably light tote for its size and all of its pockets, and easy to use as a commuting bag or a weekend shopping bag.
Commuting, weekend shopping, anything where you have to carry it extensively for a long period of time!
The handles are long and go well over a bulky winter coat, but they are a little slippery though, so they keep sliding off my shoulder.
It has lots of compartments, and it is far more stylish than a LUG tote. It’s great as a diaper bag as well, it has nice zippers all around the front and back sections, and the insides are well organized and in a pretty lavender colour with their bird logo all over it.
MATT & NAT KINTLA TOTE
The quality of this vegan leather tote is very high. I find it well stitched and very pretty with its rose gold hardware accents and its pretty Cardamom colour.
It is slightly heavier than the Paterson & Salisbury leather tote, but lighter than the all-leather Dagne Dover 15″ tote. I find it a reasonable weight to carry.
I used it for a meeting once and it was very well packed to the brim & comfortable to carry.
Great for carrying by the hand to work, for quick meetings, but not for daily commuting or extended use. Same as the Dagne Dover.
I say this because the handles are short and meant just for the hands, not over the shoulder, and while it comes with a cross body strap, I find the strap way too thin and it cuts into your body as you carry it.
It’s vegan leather, and very pretty. I like their vegan leathers where they’re smooth and not pebbled or made to feel like real leather, because I find it is very UNLIKE real leather when they fake it.
Their smooth leathers without any embossing are the most leather-like when they wear down.
I will also say that this tote doesn’t seem to keep its shape either.
It has weird little bumps that go in on the sides if you don’t stuff it full and I can’t get it to stay structured and beautiful like let’s say the Dagne Dover Tote.
Depending on what you’re doing, this is what I would use each bag for:
In my opinion?
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!…..
THE OVERALL GENERAL WINNER
LO & SONS O.G. TOTE
The best general bag to buy if you want a structured one for your laptop and work, plus errands, traveling on the plane AND commuting, is the Lo & Sons.
I just find it a little large and bulky so if you are a smaller sized woman like me, this will feel very bulky and uncomfortable. It is great as a diaper bag too though, so if you want to carry a ton, you need to understand the tradeoffs.
It is light, it is great to use for traveling (by plane that is), it has lots of zippered compartments, and is great for commuting with a laptop section as well as for errands all day long.
THE BEST OVERALL COMMUTING / ERRAND BAG
PATERSON & SALISBURY TOTE (OR LONGCHAMP PLIAGE)
I think this is the best bag to buy if you want to run grocery errands, go shopping, for the weekend, or for a quick diaper bag. Anything where you want to get around quickly and still look stylish and reach everything.
My other favourite is my perennial Longchamp Pliage, not pictured which is ironically about the same price as this all leather tote! I also really love my Longchamp Pliage Neo which is looks even more stylish than the regular Pliage.
THE BEST DIAPER, BEACH AND SPILL-PROOF BAG
LUG LARGE & SMALL TOTES
Hands down awesome for rain, dirty messy conditions, and great as a diaper bag or if you’re just a generally messy person.
I tend to not be THAT messy but I find the bag handy for going to the park or the beach, and I don’t want to bring my really nice totes along.
BEST AT THE OFFICE TOTE BAG
DAGNE DOVER 15″ BLACK ONYX STINGRAY LEATHER TOTE
While I really like the Lo & Sons bag, I think the Dagne Dover wins as an office bag for me.
It has a nice structure to it, it doesn’t tip or fall over, and it keeps its shape as well as its legs on the table so that you can put things in it, and root through it without thinking it’ll tip over.
It has lots of compartments, looks sleek and very business-like, and it is as large as a man’s work briefcase but without the mannish style of one. It’s the female version, basically.
I also really think it looks fantastic too, in a nice deep black leather that is embossed stingray and it has black hardware.
THE PRETTIEST BAG
(AND ALSO VEGAN LEATHER ALTERNATIVE)
MATT & NAT KINTLA BAG
It really is pretty. I love the rose gold hardware and it makes me feel so chic when I carry it.
I love the zippered middle compartment and would call it my Lady Who Lunches or Sunday Brunch bag instead. I’d carry light things in there, and if I did not have a toddler to sometimes tote on one arm or drag along, I’d be all over this bag full-time.
When he gets older, this bag will see more use! But for now, I need both hands.