It’s Monday and you’re already running five minutes late. You’re running through the same morning checklist: lunch packed, gym clothes ready, book accounted for. But you identify a problem; you don’t have anywhere to fit all of your needs. Sure, a small purse can hold your phone, wallet, and keys—but the bigger items, well, there simply isn’t enough real estate. Instead of throwing on a free-with-purchase tote, consider changing up your commute style with an oversize bag that equally prioritizes function and style.
“When it comes to an oversized silhouette the first thing I consider is practicality,” says Mathilde Mader, Chief Creative Officer at Everlane. “Can it be used for a day out in the world? Is there enough space for my laptop [and] notepad, along with everything I would carry in a smaller handbag?” Ask yourself similar questions as you set out to find the bag that’s right for you and review our favorites below.
Cuyana Classic Easy Tote
There’s a reason this style is called the Easy Tote. Cuyana’s oversize leather bag is designed to make life simple for you—everything can go inside, no questions asked. The supple outer has a relaxed, slouchy design that’s perfect for holding close while commuting around town. If we had a Best Leather category, this bag would win that one, too.
Price at time of publish: $248
Dimensions: 2.3 x 21.6 x 5.1 inches | Material: Leather
MADEWELL The Oversized Shopper Bag
If you’re looking for a roomy everyday bag for toting everything you’ll need, this is the style for you. This leather shoulder bag is durable and made to last. The slouchy silhouette makes it easy to tuck under your shoulder, and it has a single wide shoulder strap that’s ideal for weight distribution. An outside pocket can hold your phone or keys for easy access, while the inside can hold just about anything else.
Price at time of publish: $168
Dimensions: Not listed | Material: Leather
The Row Park Large North West Tote
Convenience with a luxury twist. This elegant oversize bag from luxury label The Row is designed to fit your laptop, gym clothes, and maybe even your lunch. For the shopper that loves to travel with every potential need, this bag will make the experience feel like an elegant endeavor.
Price at time of publish: $2,400
Dimensions: 16.9 x 15 x 8.5 inches | Material: Leather
Kule All Over Striped Tote
Canvas is a rough-and-tumble, throw-in-the-wash alternative to more traditional leather. For everyday use, consider pairing a canvas oversize bag with a smaller standout handbag—the combination checks all the boxes. Though you could opt for a more subdued style, the preppy stripes of Kule’s take will add a punchy touch to any outfit.
Price at time of publish: $198
Dimensions: 25 x 17 inches | Material: Cotton canvas
Coach Rogue Bag
Oversized bags are made for carrying all of your necessities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get heavy. Enter: the crossbody strap, designed to distribute weight more comfortably as you move through the day. This practical style from Coach has an oversize yet still compact silhouette. It’s a perfect style if you’re looking for something that can stash a book and water bottle, but is still small enough for evening drinks or date night.
Price at time of publish: $850
Dimensions: 12.25 x 9.75 x 6 inches | Material: Leather
Celine Bucket 16 Bag
Bucket bags are generally known for their cylindrical shape, but Celine’s modern take has a slightly more relaxed fabrication than what you might be used to. The soft, collapsible upper serves as protection from anything spilling out as you’re on the go.
Price at time of publish: $2,750
Dimensions: 9 x 10 x 9 inches | Material: Leather
Mark Cross Arc Tote
Subtle elegance is the best way to describe this leather shopper from American heritage label Mark Cross. The round bottom and curved upper lend a soft feel to this structured bag while the wide top is great for stuffing all of your necessities inside.
Price at time of publish: $1,850
Dimensions: 22 x 14.6 x 4.7 inches | Material: Leather
Best for Travel
Metier Market Weekend Leather Tote
When you’re traveling, you don’t want to worry about losing anything in transit, that’s why a bag with a zippered top is the way to go. This robust style from travel brand Metier assures that you’ll arrive in style with everything intact.
Price at time of publish: $3,250
Dimensions: 12.6 x 14.2 inches | Material: Leather
Free People Roma Suede Tote
Soft crescent shapes are an of-the-moment option if you’re looking for something different than a more typical tote. This soft suede bag is bigger than first meets the eye.
Price at time of publish: $98
Dimensions: Not listed | Material: Leather
Best for Work
Everlane Luxe Italian Leather Tote
If you tend to be in constant transit with your laptop in tow, you need a bag that does double duty as an elegant work bag and a practical carryall. “I was just in New York last week walking from Soho to the Financial District, and then back to midtown,” says Mader. “I carried the Luxe Italian Leather Tote in black with me the whole time and it had my laptop, my notepad and pen, water, aromatherapy roll-on, make-up purse, and phone in it- and sometimes my cashmere beanie and scarf too!”
Price at time of publish: $75
Dimensions: 20.8 x 7 x 12.8 inches | Material: Leather
Ree Projects Helene Tote
“Make a statement with an oversized bag. Play around with big volumes, shapes, color, and materials for that ‘je ne sais quoi’ look,” suggests Desiree Kleinen, Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Ree Projects. This elegant suede style from Ree projects is versatile and intriguing all at once.
Price at time of publish: $695
Dimensions: 15.35 x 12.99 x 3.94 inches | Material: Suede
Best Suede, Runner-Up
Aerin Weekender Bag
Suede can be tougher to spot clean than leather or canvas, but this soft, supple material can still be a durable option for your everyday bag. Opt for darker colors to help hide dirt or scuffs.
Price at time of publish: $1,450
Dimensions: 24.8 x 9.8 x 14.6 inches | Material: Suede
Khaite Sara Leather Tote
Turn heads with this statement bag from New York label Khaite. The bold studs add edge and intrigue to a signature silhouette.
Price at time of publish: $3,200
Dimensions: 20.5 x 13 x 20 inches | Material: Leather
Best Vegan Leather
A.L.C. Leo Bag
If you prefer vegan leather, ALC’s slouchy leo bag is a stylish option with a handle that allows you to easily throw it over your shoulder once you’re heading out for the day. If you’re looking for something that has a more relaxed feel to it, this bag is just the thing.
Price at time of publish: $395
Dimensions: Not listed | Material: Viscose, elastane
Co Triangle Bag
Think outside of the box with Co’s triangle-shaped bag. It’s a playfully unexpected shape that is still able to fit all of your necessary items. If you want an everyday bag that not everyone has, this is a standout choice.
Price at time of publish: $1,250
Dimensions: 13 x 17 x 9 inches | Material: Leather
Best Straw Bag
Brother Vellies Sailboat Basket Tote
For warm weather, especially picnics and trips to the beach, a straw bag is a welcome alternative to other oversize bag styles. While the basket shape may not be the most practical choice for commuting, it’s a cute style to consider for outdoor adventures.
Price at time of publish: $450
Dimensions: 9.5 x 11 x 9.5 inches | Material: Straw
When shopping for an oversize bag that’s best for you, it's best to start by considering exactly what you need it for—how much will you be carrying inside. Our recommendations, whether it be a practical everyday tote like that from Cuyana or a sleek office-friendly design from Madewell, can fit your needs without sacrificing style. Once you’ve chosen your bag, make sure you’re regularly cleaning it out, or swapping it with other styles to avoid overuse. “It is imperative to swap out your bag every 4–6 months,” suggests Chris Moore, the owner of Artbag. “You will be surprised how much excess is collected in a bag over that period of time. The excess weight causes undue stress on the straps and the seams of the bag. Also, when the bag is not in use, stuff it will white tissue paper, old T-shirts, or old pillowcases. This will help the bag maintain its shape.”
Meet the Expert
- Chris Moore is the owner of Artbag, a Coral Springs, Florida-based business first founded in 1932 in New York City. He specializes in making and repairing luxury bags and is an expert in handbag maintenance.
- As the Chief Creative Officer at Everlane, Mathilde Mader specializes in creating timeless, elegant pieces for day and night.
- Desiree Kleinen is the founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Ree Projects, an Amsterdam-based handbag line that has garnered attention for its elegant yet distinctive designs.
What to Look for When Buying an Oversize Handbag
“The material is very important—particularly for bigger bags the material needs to be softer, durable, timeless, and not too heavy as a bigger bag contains a lot of material,” suggests Kleinen. While Moore recommends being particularly careful with suede and patent leather, which can stain or transfer color, he finds leather to be a durable long-term option. “Textured leather will hold up better than smooth leather. Smooth leather will scratch easily and show much more wear and tear,” he says.
Kleinen suggests a tote shape when it comes to larger bags, as they can be handy for fitting all of your items inside comfortably. Sloped sides may also be worth considering, as they make it easy to reach the bottom of your bag to find small items that shift while you’re on the go. “The Luxe Italian Leather Tote that I just designed as part of the Everlane Editions: Dressed Up Daywear collection, has sloping sides to give the bag a bit more character and shape than just a square or rectangular tote, but it still holds its shape just as well and will stand up straight when put down,” says Mader.
Since oversize bags are generally used to carry a larger number of items, you’ll want to make sure you have straps that are both supportive enough to hold all of that weight and are comfortable enough for you to use long-term. Look for wide top handles that can fit over your shoulder, or opt for a crossbody that will help to distribute the weight. “You would be better served using an oversize bag that has a cross-body strap,” says Moore. “The cross-body strap allows you to keep your hands free and distribute the weight of the bag more evenly.”
What qualifies as oversize?
There is no single definition of what qualifies as an oversize bag. Some typically smaller silhouettes have been sized up in a way that makes the proportions particularly larger than usual. Other bags are simply designed to be larger than your usual everyday handbag—intended to hold all of your daily necessities and more.
What do you carry in an oversize bag?
What you choose to keep in your bag depends on a number of factors—with so much variation in what qualifies as an oversize bag, there may be a different threshold for what you can fit. Gym clothes, books, makeup bags, and a laptop are all day-to-day necessities that you may find yourself wanting to take along with you. Kleinen is keen to keep everything from hand cream and cuticle oil to a lucky desert rose gemstone in her bag.
Why Trust Byrdie
Aemilia Madden is a writer and editor who has spent the last decade covering the latest trends and advancements in the fashion space. For this piece, she weighed expert advice and harnessed her own trend expertise to find the best functional yet stylish oversize bags. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, and more.