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This $30 Tote Bag Can Fit Everything

And doesn’t make you look sloppy.

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A blue and white striped tote bag
Baggu Duck Bag ($30)

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I'm a freelancing hoarder (a freelancer and a hoarder, though if you know anyone hiring hoarders, let's talk) and find myself carrying all the things all over the city all of the time. I’ve shouldered gear built for DJs and messengers and moms, and believed for a long time that no one had designed a bag for whatever I was — until I saw a woman on the F train with a flawless leopard-print bag. Its wee logo matched the ones on the nylon shoppers I regularly uncrumple at the grocery store. Wait, I thought: Baggu makes the perfect all-day tote?

Indeed, Baggu does make the perfect all-day tote. (I ordered one when I got home and have carried it every day for the past two years.) Thick canvas and a bucket base gives it a bit of structure when it’s empty; the adjustable shoulder strap doesn't crowd your armpit, and the short ones are just right for purse hooks. The inner snap pocket is an ideal coin purse or phone holster, and the top snap keeps your business yours.

The seams on this tote are tough, so it holds up when I go crazy at a used bookstore and jam it with half a dozen bulky hardcovers. Last week, I stuffed it with a sack lunch, hospital scrubs, subway reading, and my makeup bag for the day I went straight from volunteering at a wildlife rehab center to meeting a friend at the Met. I tuck it under my seat on overseas flights, since it fits my laptop and a novel and a dictionary and a couple of magazines and a bottle of water and Swedish Fish and my lucky plastic polar bear… you get the idea.

It can disappear into another bag the way flimsy giveaway totes do, but the way it maintains a proper-accessory vibe knocks me out. New colors and patterns pop up every season, and at $30, you can cover it with patches or Sharpie it with doodles or take it to the beach without care. It’s ethically produced with recycled cotton.