You probably have fond memories of your favorite late-‘90s/early-aughts handbag. You know, that cute shoulder bag knock-off of the coveted Fendi Baguette that Carrie Bradshaw dangled before your eyes on episodes of Sex and the City. Yeah, that one. Ahh, those were the days. The days when a tiny purse symbolized your carefree lifestyle, when all you needed was some lipgloss and your wallet to breeze out the door. But these days you’re probably on the hunt for a bag that can hold all the stuff — like the best tote bags for moms.
While the humble tote bag may not have as glamorous a history as the Fendi Baguette, its conception actually has an interesting backstory. In the mid-40s, the outdoor brand L.L. Bean created the large, boxy bag with parallel handles as a way for shoppers to transport ice from car to house. Yes, ice — not toys, snacks, iPads, and everything else modern moms stuff into their handbags today. But the practicality of that tote-style bag was immediately embraced and these days you can find all kinds of stylish iterations. From chic leather totes that you can take to work to sturdy canvas totes that are practically made for grocery runs, there are so many great options. You can even find mom totes that double as beach bags, travel carry-on bags, and more. And if being able to toss your mom bag in the wash is a priority for you, we’ve made sure to note which bags below are machine washable. Mini Tote
So, scroll on to find what’s sure to become your new favorite tote — and rest assured, all the bags below have enough space to store your mom must-haves.
This super roomy canvas tote bag has a minimal design that makes it look less like a “mom” bag and more like a fashionable bag that you’ll want to carry every day. Editor-approved as a diaper bag, the canvas material will hold up to just about anything that comes at it. When it needs to be cleaned, just pop it in a delicate wash cycle.
Editor Praise: “I quickly abandoned my bulky diaper bag for this more streamlined BAGGU, and I haven't looked back. It holds everything I need for leaving the house with my preschooler and baby. I love that it's lightweight, simple, and doesn't look like a Mom Bag. Plus, it's machine-washable.” - Scary Mommy Associate Editor, Ileana Morales Valentine
Available Colors: 15 | Machine Washable: Yes
Beautifully crafted in grained genuine leather with a pebble effect and shiny hardware, this sleek tote bag is a luxurious choice (and an editor fave). It’s not just pretty to look at either. It has a large main compartment, perfect for a laptop, and a dedicated phone pocket for never having to dig to the bottom of your bag again. Sure it may look professional, but you’ll know what’s truly inside: Goldfish crackers, sippy cups, stash of toys, and more.
Editor Praise: “Never underestimate the power of the right bag to make you feel like a functioning human even if you’re sleep-deprived and walking around with milk stains on your shirt. This bag makes me feel polished even in frenzied mom mode. The leather is gorgeous and I love the dedicated phone pocket.” - Kate Miller, Scary Mommy editor
Available Colors: 1 | Machine Washable: No
For moms, a weekend away might seem like a fantasy. But if you do find yourself trading in your usual routine for a romantic getaway — or any getaway — this weekender tote bag is the perfect bag to pack up your things. It has a roomy main compartment and tons of extra zippered pockets for keeping smaller items organized. And if you get tired of holding it by the tote handles, just shlep it over your shoulder with the wide, shoulder strap.
Helpful Review: “This bag is well made and a good size for travel. It holds a lot and has pockets inside for organization. Sturdy straps and you can slip it on the handles of your upright luggage. I liked it so much, I ordered a second one for my husband and have this on my Christmas shopping list for family members and friends.”
Available Colors: 3 | Machine Washable: Not specified
This classic canvas tote bag is an accessory staple, and fans can’t seem to get enough of it. It comes backed by 5,000+ perfect five-star ratings on Amazon. It’s not fancy like some of the leather tote bags on this list, but what it may lack in looks, it makes up for in practicality. It’s super deep, fitting an iPad and even a large magazine (if you have time to read one!), and has two side pockets for water bottles, cell phones, keys, you name it. Because all that stuff can get pretty heavy, we’re especially loving the comfy, breathable strap.
Helpful Review: “Love it! Fun color and great for a mom with kids. I like that my keys go in the side pocket and my phone fits perfectly in the inside pocket. It zips which is great. Can be worn as a cross body or over the shoulder. Happy with my purchase.”
Available Colors: 8 | Machine Washable: No (Hand wash only)
A tote bag that converts into a backpack? Yes, please! The leather is sublime, giving this convertible bag an ultra high-end look at a fraction of the cost of some designer bags. Carry it as a tote, a shoulder bag, or as a backpack. There’s even a hidden side pocket for easy access when it’s slung over the shoulder.
Helpful Review: “I love this backpack purse! It's roomy enough to hold my MacBook and lots of other stuff too. It has pockets for a phone, keys, etc. The top zipper makes storage secure while on your back. The zipper, rivets, etc. are all top quality and securely attached.”
Available Colors: 2 | Machine Washable: No
Want a large tote bag that looks expensive but actually costs less than your monthly Starbucks tab? This extra large faux leather tote bag is what you need. The snap close top opens wide so you can find what you’re looking for, quickly. And the two smaller interior pockets are great for storing smaller items. It comes in so many beautiful colors — all lined in a vibrant red color that’s sure to have other moms asking where you got it.
Helpful Review: “I needed a durable bag because I'm a mom and it seems to be pretty sturdy. And has an easy closed clasp. The colors are really neat classic design. I like that there is a little bag inside that detachable and you can unattach it and put all kinds of different things then it can be a makeup bag it can be your pens and pencils can be a small bag that you need to carry a certain things they don't want to get lost at the bottom of the bag. The straps fit nicely and stay on my shoulder which is nice. It's easy to wipe down when your kids put their messy on your purse. All in all I would recommend it.”
Available Colors: 17 | Machine Washable: No
This woven straw tote bag has a California-cool aesthetic. It features a built-in drawstring bag so you can cinch your belongings safely inside. It has a flat bottom with metal feet so it won’t tip over either. Use it for everyday, the beach, and even as a handy carry-on bag while traveling.
Helpful Review: “Perfect bag. Holds all the essentials and drawstring provided security. Used it for a 3 week trip to Italy. Went perfectly with my Panama hat.”
Available Colors: 2 | Machine Washable: No
This Baggallini nylon tote bag is both lightweight and machine washable — a dream made in mom bag heaven. It’s thoughtfully designed with compartments and pockets of different sizes for maximum organization. It’s great for everyday use and large enough for a day trip with the kids.
Helpful Review: “I purchased this to use as my handbag/diaper bag/carry-all on an extended road trip with kids. It was an awesome choice. The Avenue is light weight yet sturdy, and has an integrated laptop/tablet sleeve in the main pocket that came in handy for corraling my iPad. I paired this with the Baggallini Plaza Mini as my wallet/wristlet and it was great. Organized without being overwhelming with too many little pockets. The crossbody strap made life easy when I needed two free hands, but the shoulder straps were of the perfect length and the strap material didn't slip off my shoulder.”
Available Colors: 14 | Machine Washable: Yes
Not all tote bags are big and bulky, and this slim tote bag is proof. Although it’s slim, it can hold a ton thanks to a well-thought-out design with compartments for things like your water bottle, laptop, and wallet. You won’t lose your keys again with this bag either — it’s got a built-in key clip to keep them secured.
Helpful Review: “The Tokyo compact tote is my daily driver. It fits so much stuff in it and has numerous pockets that make finding stuff a breeze. I love the front pocket with a key ring attached. It still manages to keep its trim look even if I have it filled to the brim.”
Available Colors: 16 | Machine Washable: No
Heading to a sporting event or a concert soon? You will need this stadium-approved tote bag. Most venues require clear handbags so security can quickly see what’s in your bag as part of their enhanced security measures policy. While it might be a little awkward to have all of your belongings on display, at least they’ll be organized and safe thanks to thick, waterproof vinyl, heavy-duty zippers, and lots of compartments.
Helpful Review: “This was PERFECT for taking the kids to a college football game. We took both of their Fire tablets (with the kid cases) and still had plenty of room for my wallet, sealed bottles of water and other essentials.”
Available Colors: 10 | Machine Washable: No
This designer city tote bag is sure to work double duty for you as a work bag and mom bag all in one. It’s made from coated canvas for durability and style, and the handles offer the perfect 10-inch drop to sling over your shoulder. Choose from dozens of colors and prints, all adorned with the signature COACH hardware.
Helpful Review: “Bag came in coach box and still wrapped in coach paper with sticker seal. Super Cute bag, great size! Saw it at the outlets but it sold out! Love the easy to clean material on the outside and lightness of it, great for a work tote!!”
Available Colors: 35 | Machine Washable: No
This canvas weekender bag has a faux leather base and straps ideal for a quick wipe-down after trips. It’s not overly large either. Big enough to fit a weekend’s (or more) worth of stuff but also small enough to qualify as a carry-on for air travel. The back sleeve slips over standard luggage handles, too. And with a 4.6-star rating after nearly 4,000 reviews, it’s a clear that this weekender bag gets the job done.
Helpful Review: “This bag is a perfect size for a weekend trip. It's a great size, has decent compartments, and will force you to travel light, but not too light. It's also super well made, and the colors are vibrant and lovely. It is also a good day tripping bag if you've got several kids. Snacks, books, toys, diapers, wipes, all of it will fit perfectly within.”
Available Colors: 10 | Machine Washable: No
The variety of tote bags has come a long way since that first L.L. Bean bag intended for carrying ice. But come to think of it, this insulated lunch bag tote does that, too. And it has all the features and functionality you’d expect in a lunch bag, including four free ice packs, for picnics or even for transporting your favorite canned wine — 18 cans to be exact. You’re welcome.
Helpful Review: “My family really likes this lunch bag!I have adults and teens in my house and the only lunch bags we had were for kids. I got this bag and everyone was happy. It looked nice and grown up!”
Available Colors: 7 | Machine Washable: No
This waterproof tote bag makes for the ultimate diaper bag, gym bag, work bag, and more. The nylon construction is easily wipeable for small spills and machine washable for bigger messes. It has nine pockets, both zippered and open, for easy access to things like baby bottles and your cell phone. Carry it like a tote or over your shoulder with the comfy strap. What’s not to love?
Helpful Review: “Was seeking a larger purse than I carried previously. This one is well-priced. Features excellent organizational space. Love the large interior pocket, that allows easy access to items. Can easily see inside, and therefore, reach contents. Good size pockets. Awesome color choices.”
Available Colors: 4 | Machine Washable: Yes
If you’ve ever returned from a day at the beach and dumped out an entire bucket’s worth of sand from your tote bag, you’re probably wondering at this exact moment why you didn’t think of getting a mesh beach tote bag sooner — and this one is a fan-favorite on Amazon with more than 5,500 ratings. Large and small pockets provide a place for towels, water bottles, toys, and more! Choose from 21 cute colors.
Helpful Review: “Took on vacation to Mexico with the kids and it was perfect for towels, snorkels and fins, toys, shoes, lotion, etc. It fit it all. We had to watch how much we put in it because it would be heavy when full. It folds really small for the suitcase and I didn't worry about bring sand home with the mesh bottom. It looks the same after a week at the salty sandy beach and pool as it did when we unwrapped it. I even used it a few times for swim lessons at the pool for the wet towels and suits and it's great for that too. I used the little inner pocket for the room key card and some $, and the outer pockets for the lotions and stuff. I wish I had gotten this when the kids were younger!”
Black Leather Tote Bag Available Colors: 21 | Machine Washable: No