But I don’t necessarily see fashion editors or writers wearing these bags. Sure, I’ve seen Bella Hadid carry a cheeky Chanel Medallion bag or even a Saint Laurent Icare, but that is the extent of the tote making a splash in the industry. I’d argue the luxury fashion tote is less popular among fashion people, who are constantly in search of the newest It bag, or niche carryall.
Instead, this trend looks incredible on the real-life equivalent of Harlow in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: corporate executives. I work a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Financial District, which is rife with women in suits carrying along luxury tote bags. It’s almost as if their monogrammed totes, specifically, the ever-popular Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote bag, is another appendage—leather and boxy, stacked with contracts and research to wheel and deal. And they look fresh and polished.
I have been cosplaying the exec role over since the end of New York Fashion Week. Harlow in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as her Peter Lindbergh suit shoot from the August 1997 issue of Vogue, are both on my mood board. Overwhelmed by the constant new core or trend or It piece, I’ve been dressing up in more or less the same uniform every day: a button-up and dress pants, or sometimes a full suit. (I’m not the only one: My British colleague Alice Cary noted that Wall Street chic is having a moment.) I have no use for arm candy; even my beloved Michael Kors–era Celine bag crafted from see-through PVC now feels ridiculous. Instead, I find myself gravitating towards a simple Neverfull tote, which is big enough to carry a toddler and someone’s back-taxes.
In the corporate world, especially jobs which are bound by dress codes and yet are flush with cash, the luxury tote is a way to flex success and show one’s taste. To this outsider, it seems like reaching a place professionally where you can afford a $2,000-or-so bag is a somewhat common milestone, which can make the bag feel ubiquitous. But I find it refreshing compared to my industry, which is so saturated with options. It’s to the point; never fussy. Ultimately, the standard investment piece has an air of killer executive realness. It means business.