If there's any bag that we truly depend on, it's the tote bag. With all of that spaciousness, it's part gym bag, part baby bag, part beach bag. But we like it best as the getaway bag, as in those all-too-rare weekends when you cram in a change of clothes, a good book and your toothbrush, and head out of town to relax.
When buying a tote, pay close attention to the handles. Make sure they're long enough to easily slide onto your shoulder and sturdy enough that they won't tear off easily when the bag is stuffed full (which, let's face it, will be more often than not).
Clockwise from top left: Leather Shopper Bag, $238; FrenchConnection.com. Leather Stripe Tote, $80; Gap.com. Dianne Tote, $250; BananaRepublic.com. Shopper Bag, $169; Zara.com. Lauren Ralph Lauren Newbury Color-Pocket Fashion Tote, $278; Zappos.com.