For the last couple of years, you’ve probably found that the only baggage you’ve been toting about (dragging, perhaps) was the emotional kind. The shift to working from home meant that diddy, shoulder-liberating crossbody bags, and perhaps a canvas tote for overspill, were suddenly sufficient for stowing your stuff.
But now your new-old life has returned, which means actual baggage is back. A Lilliputian pouch won’t cut it any more. There are laptops to lug, heels to haul and all manner of general flotsam and jetsam, up to and possibly including the kitchen sink, to cart about.
The big bag comeback might not be the best news for your back, but it needn’t spell a washout for your spring style outlook. Capacious carryalls made their presence felt on the SS22 catwalks, from Giorgio Armani’s textured totes to Khaite’s luxe leather sacks and Richard Quinn’s humongous hat bags. Hero buys, like Alaïa’s studded Gail bags and the lavishly logoed Fendace holdalls, prove that big bags = big bragging rights this season.
And if further evidence that bigger is better was required, consider this: Mary- Kate Olsen, a woman near deified for her impeccable style, has been spotted carrying not one, but two leather bags so generously proportioned that she and Ashley could comfortably fit inside. (Women are willing to pay The Row dollar for the look: the brand's Margaux, £4,500, has already sold out in all colour ways at Matches Fashion).
New(ish) mum Gigi Hadid has also been upsizing. She has Medani's soft leather style, which with top handles, a roomy interior and a convenient front pouch, would make a luxe diaper bag. Zoë Kravitz stepped out yesterday wearing a squashy leather tote so capacious that it was the undisputed hero of her otherwise pared-back outfit.
So what should you look for? Anything goes - structured or slouchy, patterned or plain - but compartments are a smart idea. '[They'll] help you stay organised all day and night, so you can easily find whatever you're looking for,' says Ine Verhaert, co-founder of Belgian bag brand Kaai, which just launched in the UK (European sales have grown by around 50% since lockdown restrictions have eased).
Above all, remember that size matters. Be realistic about requirements and have sufficient space space for comfortably carting all the daily essentials you'll need - including, perhaps, a little bit of that emotional baggage, too.
SHOP: The Best Tote Bags
When it comes to leather tote bags, Aspinal of London makes some of the most reliable.
Dior's embroidered bag has got to be the dream work tote.
Smart and subtle, with a detachable shoulder strap, Guess' leather bag looks much more expensive than £135.
We love the woven texture of this leather tote.
A laptop bag doesn't get more luxurious than Gucci's.
Isabel Marant's tote can double as a weekend bag (if you're a relatively light packer).
Check out this brand's selection of colourful woven totes; they'll cheer up your morning in no time.
Little Liffner's bags, with their long leather handles, will draw admiring glances on your commute.
This two-tone style is a winner of a work bag.
Next's white bag is chic personified; just don't spill your morning coffee.
Monikh Dale swears by the woven basket bags from Dragon Diffusion.
Kaai is the ultimate destination for your new work bag.