The Item I Wear to Death: My Marc Jacobs Tote

It's tote-ally changed my life.

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(Image credit: Hana Hong)

In our biweekly series, editors share "the item they wear to death," whether it be a basic white tee or a super-trendy jumpsuit. Prepare yourself (and your credit card) for some guilt-free shopping.

I’m a lover of all things fashion, but my achilles' heel is, by far, purses. Walking into any designer handbag store will surely leave me walking out with a significantly reduced bank balance. There’s nothing like the aroma of crisp leather and the feeling of silk lining against my fingers to make me whip out my credit card. After all, the perfect bag (or, bags) is much more than just a means of carrying things. It represents something deeply private and intimate to its owner.

My current bag collection includes more than 50 purses, from crossbody styles and satchels to shoulder and bucket bags (don't judge). I’ve always been one of those people who switches out her purse every night, depending on my outfit and very capricious mood.

That is, until I moved to New York City. While I was able to wear whatever purse my heart desired in the Illinois suburbs, I found it harder to do so with NYC's daily grind. It’s a concrete jungle out here and a practical but cute purse is part of your survival kit. Function and efficiency truly trumps all, so with this lesson learned, I set out on a quest to find the perfect tote bag.

Enter: the Marc Jacobs t-pocket grind tote. I spotted it in Saks one fateful Saturday and instantly fell in love with the bag's simplicity.

Marc Jacobs

My trusty Marc Jacobs tote sits front and center in my closet.

(Image credit: Hana Hong)

My busy work schedule has me constantly running around the city and this tote can hold ALL my survival items. I stuff it with snacks, makeup for touch ups, a book for the commute, and more. The interior is separated into two compartments for more organization (I’ll take as much help Marie Kondo-ing my purse as I can get). It even has a third zippered section for personal items and a functional front pocket for things you need quick access to. I also found that it fits my laptop to a T (pun intended), making it the perfect carryall for work trips.

Perhaps most importantly, the straps settle onto my shoulder in the most comfortable way, without sliding down my arm like a lot of awkwardly-sized handles tend to do. That part makes my boyfriend, who is sometimes asked to carry my bag for me during long outings (sorry, Nick), very pleased.

Hana Hong

Nick wearing my bag (and rocking it).

(Image credit: Hana Hong)

I usually get paranoid about the wear and tear on my purses, but I actually love the way this leather gets more worn-in over time. The fact that it’s pebbled leather and not nubuck or PVC means the material is more flexible and forgiving with creases. Plus, the lock-and-key chain accents and dark cherry-colored interior give the otherwise all-black tote such a gorgeous aesthetic.

Hana Hong

A camo print minidress and my tote bag. It's a look.

(Image credit: Hana Hong)

Thanks to this gem, I'm now a staunch believer that every woman needs a tote she can trust. And not just any ol' bag to haul stuff in, but one that's also polished and professional. This doesn’t mean that I won’t return to my smaller purses on days when I plan to pack lighter, but it’s nice having a go-to bag that feels like an extension of me. If you lug a laptop around, or just need a companion to beat the daily grind (and want to look super sleek while doing so), this might be the perfect bag for you too.

Did I mention it’s not a huge splurge? You can snag it now for $395. After all, it does put in the work.

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Hana Hong

Hana Hong is the beauty assistant at Marie Claire, where she covers skincare, makeup, and haircare, and is identifiable by her signature cateye.