Simply The Best Vegan Leather Bags and Accessories. Our Materials Make The Difference


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October 25, 2021 5 min read

A tote bag is a really useful accessory, it’s simple but it has so much versatility. In basic terms, a tote bag is a medium to large sized bag which has two parallel handles. Tote bags usually aren’t fastened at the top and are bigger than most other handbags.

You can’t carry your phone, wallet, laptop, workout clothes, and your ereader in a satchel or wristlet. So does that mean to be able to carry all of your things you have to cast aside your fashion sense and use a duffle bag? No, leave the toting to a tote bag!

Are you interested in buying a tote bag but don’t know if it’s the right fit for you? We want to help you find questions (and answers) that are commonly asked about tote bags. Hopefully then you’ll be able to decide if a tote is the right fit for you!

History of the Tote Bag

A black tote bag with silver buckles on the handles and a small embossed "Doshi" logo.

The word “tote,” in America, doesn’t have a definitive origin, but a lot of people believe that the term originated from West Africa.

In 1944, L. L. Bean introduced a product called the ice bag. They created this bag for the purpose of carrying ice from your car to your freezer. However, the ice bag ended up being used for more than just carrying ice, and L. L. Bean took notice of this. Seeing their ice bag take off and be used for different purposes inspired them to offer the bag in different design and color options.

L. Bean may have gotten the ball rolling but we have Bonnie Cashin to thank for taking the tote and turning it from useful to fashionable. Bonnie Cashin was an American fashion designer who designed a leather tote that came in a variety of different colors. The tote trend didn’t stop there, today totes are regularly featured on catwalks and in magazines throughout the fashion industry.

What Is a Tote Bag Made Of?

A red tote bag with a smaller zippered pouch in the same color. Both have an embossed "Doshi" logo in gold.

Tote bags are made from a variety of different materials, though it should be noted that almost every tote bag is durable and can hold a significant amount of weight due to their design. A tote can be made of anything from cotton all the way up to vegan leather.

Cotton tote bags are most often used as reusable grocery bags to replace plastic grocery bags to cut back on the use of plastic. Leather tote bags are often used as handbags due to the amount of space they offer; you can have a functional bag without having to sacrifice your sense of fashion.

What Sizes Do Tote Bags Come In?


Tote bags can be found in almost every size imaginable, but there are standard sizes available that we can discuss. The sizing guide below will help you decide which is right for you.


Small tote bags are usually around twelve inches wide, four inches deep, and thirteen inches tall. This size is not the average; it’s considered a little small. However, it still offers a fashionable look while giving you a handbag size that’s easy to carry.


Medium tote bags are usually sixteen inches wide, five inches deep, and fifteen inches tall. Though these bags have less haul than a large sized tote, they are considered large handbags. Medium tote bags offer more space but can still be dressed up or down.


Large tote bags usually measure around twenty-two inches wide, eight inches deep, and fifteen inches tall. If this sounds like a large handbag to you, don’t worry; that’s because it is. Anyone who needs to carry a lot loves large totes.

How Do I Choose the Correct Size for Me?

So, you may be wondering, how do I choose the right size tote for me?

Small tote bags are great for those who like the look of a tote bag but prefer a hand bag size that’s manageable. This size bag can carry the essentials along with a few extra things like your keys, wallet, phone, a small notebook, an ereader, and a travel umbrella.

Medium tote bags are perfect for those looking for a handbag that can easily switch from daywear to nightwear with ease. Medium-sized tote bags have more space than the average handbag but you can still take it on a night out.

Large tote bags are for those who don’t have time to go home to change outfits between work and the gym, or for those who need to have their laptop with them at all times. If this sounds like you then a large tote bag is most likely for you. They also make great briefcases!

People Also Ask


Here are some more questions people ask about tote bags:

Can Tote Bags Be Formal?

Yes, tote bags can be formal! Tote bags are THE essential wardrobe item. They’re minimal and sophisticated which allows you to dress them up or down. Tote bags are very versatile and functional, they can be worn with everything from casual looks like carrying your belongings in the grocery store or gym or formal looks where you just need a good bag to go with your outfit.

How Long Should Tote Bag Straps Be?

Handle length will vary from tote to tote but the standard size tote straps should be around twenty to twenty-two inches long and a nine-to-eleven-inch drop. This strap length is the most common option due to its ease of use; the length allows the tote to fit snuggly and be propped over the shoulder comfortably. You won’t find the handles slipping or being too tight.

Should I Purchase a Vegan Leather Tote Bag?

Yes! Vegan leather is in and it’s here to stay. While leather requires animal skin, vegan leather is an alternative that allows us to look good while doing good! Vegan leather is not only better for the world but it’s also better for your wallet and closet; vegan leather is almost always cheaper than the real thing.

Final Thoughts

So what is a tote bag? It’s not just a big durable bag with parallel handles. It’s a bag that can be used in so many different ways. They’re big enough to carry everything you’ll need for the day while also being fashionable. The good news is there are all kinds of tote out there so you’ll definitely be able to find one that fits your needs and taste.

We hope this tote bag FAQs article helped you decide if a tote bag was right for you and answered any questions you may have. Here on the Doshi Blog we want to encourage and support people in buying and wearing vegan and ethical products, that's why we’ve shared vegan tote options!

Vegan totes are just as timeless as the conventional version, they also have price advantages. When you compare vegan tote handbags to ones made of real leather you’ll often find that the vegan tote handbags are cheaper.

Interested in getting a vegan tote bag? We offer handmade designer vegan tote handbags. Try our Weekender Tote, Debut Portrait Tote, and Debut Casual Tote Seconds.

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