Our Favorite Madewell Handbags

madewell brown leather tote bag on desk

I don’t have expensive taste in handbags. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few designer handbags (I love Hermes and Chanel bags), but most of my bags cost less than $100 as I don’t have money to splurge on luxury items every other day. I have student loans, rent, cute shoes to buy! But I digress.

That said, I need bags that are functional, affordable and will look great at work or play for many years to come. Madewell bags check all the boxes.

I’m a fan of leather bags because they look chic, professional and durable than many other materials so when I came across Madewell’s collection of handbags, I knew I had found a winner.

In fact, several winners. These English-saddle colored Madewell bags have a timeless design with that makes them look more expensive than they are.


This is the flagship Madewell bag. It has a simple design that belies its appearance and functionality. It comes in a wide range of different color and ring options and is, quite frankly, the perfect tote bag for work.

I love the smooth and luxurious looking brown leather option for the fall and winter seasons as it goes with any outfit.

It has a spacious an wide 13×14 inch body that’s big enough to fit everything I need for the day(and sometimes night). I can fit my MacBook, scarf, book, planner and more in the main compartment.

It has a small zipper compartment on the inside that I use to store my phone, ID, keys, lipstick and nail clippers.

It has glowing reviews over the years so it will certainly hold up to everyday city life, and the leather will actually look better with age. This is my favorite tote bag so far.


But what if you don’t want to tie up your hands so they can be used for (carrying) other things? Madewell’s Zip Top Carryall is just the thing.

It has a crossbody strap, a zipper top, and is large enough to carry around your essential items without feeling too bulky. I particularly like the zipper top when I’m in crowded places as an extra layer of protection from potential thieves.



This is the largest bag of them all and is the perfect bag for when you basically need a trash bag to carry all of your stuff (in style) lol.

In all seriousness, if you’re planning a weekend getaway and want a carry on for the plane or for the car trip, this is the bag for you.

It has the classic shape and color of the other Madewell bags but has 3 inside pockets (instead of 1) to help keep you organized.

It has a zipper top and gives you the option of either carrying it by the handles or wearing it as a crossbody strap.

Update: This bag is sold out everywhere we looked 😐



This is a bucket bag-inspired medium sized bag that is good for hanging out around the town maybe shopping on the weekend or for long walks. Its shaped differently from the aforementioned Madewell bags but I personally love its design.

It has a drawstring top, a crossbody strap, and two interior pockets. Perfect for keeping you organized. It comes

Update: This bag is sold out everywhere we looked 😐


madewell black juniper vachetta leather shoulder bag

This is the smallest bag of the madewell collection and it’s too cute. This is great for a night out or for a meetup with friends.

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woman with dossil black bag

It has the timeless smooth brown leather and durability of the other bags but in a miniaturized version.

Hopefully, you saw something you liked as these Madewell bags could be a great option for work or play.

Update: This bag is sold out everywhere we looked 😐

Update: How do the Madewell and Everlane Tote bags compare?

Everlane Tote Bag

Now don’t get me wrong I still prefer the Madewell Tote, but a solid contender is the Everlane Tote bag as well.

I’m not going to dedicate an entire blog post to it but I will point out a few key differences between the Everlane Tote and the Madewell Tote.


  • It doesn’t have a zipper top. This is a HUGE con for me as I am often on subways, busy streets or in large crowds and want to ensure that no one has easy access to my bag.
  • It also doesn’t have an inside zip pocket to keep my smaller items better organized.


  • It comes in a wider variety of colors.
  • It is slightly wider, but probably not enough to make a difference, unless you’re really carrying a LOT of things.

Bottom line: The choice is yours of course and they’re both great handbags, but for me I prefer the Madewell collection of bags.

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