A top-handle tote bag has always been an essential item in one’s wardrobe. Timeless, transeasonal and gloriously top-heavy, it has long existed as a handbag must, both versatile and eternally elegant.

READ: CAN YOU HANDLE THESE? a series of sartorial short stories featuring this season’s must-have, modern top-handle bags

But top-handle totes have since evolved from a simple shopper or classic structured carry-all. For starters, they now come in sizes big and very, very small. Take, for example, Celine’s new Pico Belt Bag. Sure, it looks like a traditional top-handle tote, but is actually teeny-tiny in size, smaller than their Nano style and designed to wade by the waist-side.

On the other end of the size spectrum is Bottega Veneta’s Maxi Arco, a top-handle tote so great you could indeed fit someone inside (or better yet, more Arco bags – kind of like a Bottega Babushka – and wouldn’t that be the dream?).

Top-handle tote bag

Even the classics have had an update. Givenchy’s timeless top-handle hit, the Antigona, just received a new family member: the Antigona Soft. A superbly slouchy interpretation of their iconic bag, the Antigona Soft captures Givenchy’s Fall-Winter 2020 mood of discreet nonchalance. Crafted in supple calfskin with both classic and seasonal finishes and treatments, it reprises the original Antigona’s signature geometry, bold zips and pentagonal patch, but is reborn with a more informal, slouchy shape (that is even beautiful sandwiched between the crook of your arm as per the campaign).

While Gabriela Hearst’s take on the tote is both novel and practical. Her Baez Leather Tote unfolds from structured pouch to carry-all shopper, both cubist and compact but also very handy come shopping time (and chic!)

And then for a touch of tactile whimsy, Lauren Manoogian’s all-out knitted tote is somewhat of a style revelation. Staying true to her sustainable narrative, Manoogian uses local textiles, with her woolly Oval Tote spun by hand in Peru from a blend of Peruvian alpaca and wool blended with Pima cotton. Just lovely really.

So for a classic with a twist, shop our edit of trendy tote bags, which make up this week’s Fab Five. They’re totes cute, we promise.



Gabriela Hearst

Baez leather tote, Gabriela Hearst exclusive at Net-a-Porter, $4,160. shop now

Lauren Manoogian

Oval knitted tote, Lauren Manoogian at matches fashion, now $345. shop now


Pico Belt Bag in grained calfskin, Celine, $2550. shop now

Bottega Veneta

Maxi Arco slouch, Bottega Veneta, $9580. shop now

SEE more of grazia’s fab five here