Monday, March 16, 2015

Tote Bags on ReviewThis!

Vera Bradley Tote Bag
I rely heavily on tote bags and am a bit of a tote bag snob. My criteria for defining a good bag are durability, functionality, size availability, and appearance.  In this review, I will explain why the following bags fit the bill perfectly.

Vera Bradley tote bags - perfect for work

I need a very particular size of bag for work.  I need it to be large enough to carry my supplies back and forth to work; a varying assortment of notebooks, file folders, day planners, and often a clipboard.  I need straps long enough to fit (and stay) over my shoulder. Durability is a must.  I weighed my bag this morning, and it weighs just over 7 pounds.  I found all of those qualities with the Vera Bradley tote bag.

I must admit that 25 to 30 years ago, when Vera Bradley became widely known, I hadn't given their bags a second look.  I don't tend to purchase things because they are trending.  Eventually, I purchased a bag and I loved it for the reasons listed above. I have owned two of these tote bags over the past 7+ years. I am hard on bags (i.e. carrying over 7 pounds back and forth to work on a daily basis) and eventually the shoulder straps begin to fray a bit.  But overall, it makes quite a statement that a quilted tote bag lasts for nearly four years with very little wear-and-tear.

Mesh beach bags - perfect for outdoor activities

While I sometimes have taken my retired quilted tote bag on outdoor adventures, I find that the quilted material is not the best option for hiking, camping, river-wading, or sandy beaches.  I have found the the best bags for the beach are inexpensive, but very durable mesh bags.  With mesh bags, the sand shakes out of the bag, the bags are able to be rinsed out, and air circulates around your wet beach towels on the way home.
see-thru mesh bag

I prefer the beach totes with webbed straps and bags that are not see-through. Because I often travel alone, I prefer that folks passing by are not able to see the contents of my bag.  

When my children were young, or when carrying items to share with others, I preferred the see-through mesh bags. It makes locating items in the bag easier to do. You are able to easily reach into the bag and find your item without dumping the contents of the bag.

CutePurseNalities bag

More quilted bags from CutePurseNalities

If you are looking for a quilted tote bag but want something specific for a holiday, or a design other than prints offered by Vera Bradley, you must visit the CutePurseNalities store.  She offers handmade quilted bags, similarly sized to the bags I carry, but with a variety of colors and prints. 

This adorable Leprechaun Kitties bag is just a bit smaller than the bags I carry, only 10" tall as opposed to 13 1/2" tall - but not everyone needs to carry a clipboard back and forth to work. Otherwise, it is very similar and includes four inside pockets instead of three. 

Women are very particular about their bags. They have specific needs and preferences.  But if you are looking for a tote bag for work, casual, or outdoor activities, these bags are wonderful options. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I was trying to pick my new color and decided to share with all of you.

  2. Me too! I love tote bags and I completely agree with you on their criteria. It is quite a recommendation when you can say a quilted tote bag has lasted for 4 years with daily use and weighed down with supplies. I have admired the Vera Bradley bags many times before, but never owned on. Now, I feel like I have been deprived. We also use the mesh bags at the beach. Plus, that Leprechaun Kitties is absolutely adorable!

    1. I am trying to take a photo to show you the slight fraying that is happening. Because of the print, it's hard to show the fraying. I've owned two of these bags since just before 2007... I'm horrible at math but I think that's about 4 years each bag. I couldn't imagine that they wear so well, but they do,

  3. I love tote bags as I also need to haul around a bunch of stuff. I especially love the handmade tote bags by CutePursenalities in their many colors and holiday themes, and I know for a fact how well made they are as I personally know the designer.

    1. Wednesday Elf... I hope you pass on to the designer how adorable I think her bags are. I've seen her reviews, several times, and I've only seen good reviews. The bags are just too cute!

  4. These are lovely, funny I rarely think of using a Tote Bag, but now, after reading this, I'll remember that these are a great way to carry items - I think since the boys grew up I just stopped carry extra bags and even when I needed them, I stopped thinking about using them! I do like the Vera Bradley Bag

    1. It's weird, I prefer tote bags to purses. I don't carry a purse at all. I do know what you are saying about when the kids were young... Too Many bags! Haha.

  5. I confess I haven't thought much about the quality and appearance of the totes I've been using. I've received many free as promotional items and have tended to just use what I have. What I've discovered is that most are cheaply made and either get tears and holes or fall apart fairly quickly. I'm also not crazy about the advertising on their sides. Maybe it's time to spend a little cash and get a tote that will hold up over time and that I can be proud to own. This was a very helpful review.


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