Why the leather tote bag is a wardrobe hero

A great tote bag is a closet essential, to be sure. And after years of mini bags taking center stage, I was happy to see that luggage-inspired bags flanked the runway for fall 2021.

While I don’t carry a handbag myself, it’s nice to know that my friends, clients, wife, and daughters can feel the most stylish with bags that hold everything they might need, not just a few small essentials. Clean and modern with plenty of space to store all of your belongings, from notepads to cosmetic cases, the leather tote is a wardrobe hero because it’s a piece that best accommodates women in their busy lives. They have a timeless appeal, and when they’re well-made, they last a long time.

For more on what makes a leather tote bag worthy of the “closet essential” title, read on.


High-quality and richly colored leathers

Like any accessory, the quality of the materials used to create it is very important. I suggest opting for some sort of leather because it’s classic and generally wears well on a bag over time. Unlike suede or canvas tote bags, leather ones are easy to clean and generally look better when they become distressed with wear. When shopping for a leather tote bag, run your hand across the leather to test for softness. You can also compare textures and determine if you prefer pebble grain or smooth leather. 

Richly colored supple leathers will make a difference in the overall look of a tote bag. If you’re going for versatility, we suggest opting for a palette of blacks, browns, beiges or creamy whites. Though, if your wardrobe is mostly neutral, perhaps you’d consider choosing more eye-catching hues, like emerald green or sapphire blue.


What distinguishes a tote bag from any other bag is its suitability to carry, or tote, your big and small essentials. It’s often unfastened with parallel top handles and a flat bottom to keep things upright. Bottomless bags have gotten a bad reputation for leading to disorganization, and while there’s something to be said for minimalism, there’s something equally as valuable about masterful design.
The perfect tote bag may have depth, but it will also at the very least have a zipped interior pouch to keep your phone and key sequestered, like some of the season’s favorites do, from Khaite’s The Large Osa to Proenza Schouler’s Pipe Leather Bag. Gucci’s Diana bag and Telfar’s minimalist (and very affordable) Shopping Bag have also become cult favorites, likely in part because of their boxy designs, which help keep everyday essentials sitting flat inside the bag rather than tipping or rolling together from a lack of structure at the bottom.


Totes come in various sizes, and the best ones will be just big enough to suit your needs. For business days, make sure you can fit any necessary supplies, from iPads and books to folders of paperwork. I’ve had clients purpose extra-large ones as diaper bags, travel bags, school bags and everyday bags. The sky’s the limit!

Handmade shoes take time because there are countless steps the cobblers must follow to complete your one-of-a-kind shoes. This is why once your order has been confirmed, you could be waiting anywhere from five weeks to six months to receive your custom shoes.


You’re ready to order your luxury tote bag

Be sure to note, these are just guidelines for procuring the best leather tote bag. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a quality resource for shoppers. To learn more about our made-to-order tote bags or any other products we offer, send us a note through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you make the best buying decisions for you.

George Esquivel

George Esquivel

George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.