Between the Cuyana, Everlane, and Madewell tote – which tote is best?
I am not just a bag lady, but specifically I am a tote lady.
I LOVE totes. Totes are easily the most functional handbag – perfect for work, weekend, travel, and everything in between.
When researching what totes are best, the “holy trinity” seem to be the Cuyana Classic Structured Tote, Everlane Day Market Tote, and Madewell Transport Tote. I have a whole archive filled with blog posts and YouTube videos reviewing these bags individually – but this post is the moment of truth.
Let’s break down the details, pros, cons, and ultimate verdict between these three totes. Buckle in – this will be a long one.
For size reference: I am 4’11” tall and weigh approx 135 pounds.
W 19.5″ x H 13.25″ x D 6″. Handle drop of 8.875″.
The Cuyana Classic Structured Tote has a long list of pros. The Cuyana tote is big, versatile, and incredibly functional. Personally, I love this tote. This tote has my favorite overall shape of the three, as it has the most structure. I also love that this tote has a special organizer that was designed specifically for this bag – it literally makes the bag for me. Yes, the organizer adds cost – but I can tell you right now it’s totally worth it.
The biggest con of the Cuyana Tote is its weight. Having worn all three of these bags religiously, I can confirm the Cuyana Structured Tote is definitely the heaviest of the three – even when empty. The leather this bag is made with is definitely on the thick side, adding to the structure and durability, but at the cost of weight. The organizer is a must have for me, but does add even more weight to the bag. If you’re sensitive to weight, the Cuyana Structured Tote may not be your best bet.
The Cuyana Tote is also the most expensive of these three tote bags – especially if you purchase the organizer with it! While I definitely think the cost all in is worth it (I wear this tote weekly), it’s definitely a con when compared to the Everlane and Madewell totes that ring in at more reasonable price points.
W 16.5″ x H 13″. Handle drop of 9.5″.
The Everlane Day Market Tote is the most streamlined and cleanly designed out of all three of these totes. The Everlane Tote is lean, definitely more narrow at the base, and has the smoothest, crispest leather of the three. The design overall here is the biggest pro – it’s just so chic and a perfect addition to a capsule wardrobe. This tote will never go out of style.
There are truly only two “major” cons of the Everlane Day Market Tote – the size and the durability. I personally don’t love how thin the Day Market Tote is – it honestly makes it a little tough to fit tupperwares for lunch at work. If you’re trying to take the entire world with you on your commute, you may struggle with the size of this bag. I also visually love the smooth leather on this tote, but it’s not very durable. I already have some marks and scratches – and I haven’t owned the bag for that long. Neither of these are deal breakers, but just something to consider.
W 14″ x H 13.75″ x D 6.25″. Handle drop of 8.25″.
The Madewell Transport Tote is just so…easy. That’s truly the best word to describe this bag. This tote is big (but not overbearing), wide (but not heavy), soft (but still has some structure), all with a classic design. The size of the Madewell tote sits at a great sweet spot – not too big, not too small, not to narrow, not too wide. I can fit everything I need for a full day in this bag.
The Madewell Transport tote is also the least expensive of these three totes – especially if you find it on sale like I did.
Similar to the Everlane tote, the Madewell tote isn’t quite as durable as Cuyana. This tote’s leather isn’t nearly as scratch prone as Everlane, but it’s still a smooth leather vs a pebbled leather like the Cuyana tote – meaning knicks and dings will happen. The overall structure of this bag is also a little mushier than the other two – could be a pro or a con depending on how much you like structure in your bags!
The long story short in comparing these three totes is…
The Cuyana tote is the most structured and most durable, but also most heavy.
The Everlane tote is the most lightweight and streamlined of the three, but prone to wear.
The Madewell tote is the softest and most casual (easy breezy), but lacks structure and is also prone to some wear.
Alright. For all the marbles. Between the Cuyana, Everlane, and Madewell tote – which is best?
You thought I was going to give you a straight answer, didn’t you? Lolz. The truth is – it depends.
If you’re an easy breezy, streamlined, doesn’t take the entire world with you when you go about your day kind of a gal – the Everlane Day Market Tote might be your best bet.
If you don’t pack a ton, but also don’t take only a little, don’t mind a slightly softer bag, and are okay with a slightly more casual look – the Madewell Transport Tote would make a great choice.
For me, personally, there’s a rhyme and a reason for all three of these tote bags in my collection. I was also strategic – I have them all in different colors.
That being said, if I truly had to choose only one tote.
Cuyana all the way, baby. For my lifestyle, I live and die by the structure of the tote (it’s more durable than the other two) and the organizer (omg it’s SO GOOD).
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