Secure The Bag

Marc Jacobs’ The Tote Bag Has An A-List Fanbase & For Good Reason

Everything to know about Hollywood’s favorite bag.

Kendall Jenner stars in Marc Jacobs campaign.
Courtesy of Marc Jacobs
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Marc Jacobs naming his tote bag “The Tote Bag” was more than a stroke of branding genius, it was a prophecy. Since its launch in 2019, the boxy accessory quickly became the quintessential tote, gaining a legion of loyal fans.

Other legacy bags have decades of history sewn into their seams. The Tote, in comparison, is practically in its infancy. And yet it’s already amassed an impressive harem of endorsers — everyone who’s anyone in the realms of Hollywood, fashion, music, and reality TV has given the bag their seal of approval (Kendall Jenner, SZA, Kim Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski, and more).

Marissa Galante Frank, Fashion Director of Beauty and Accessories at Bloomingdale’s, says the bag’s draw lies in its no-frills utility. “The Tote appeals to a wide range of customers, from students using it for laptops to moms using it as a baby bag,” she tells Bustle. “The Tote Bag is incredibly versatile. I have seen people wearing this everywhere; from the office to the airplane to the beach.”

After only five years in the market, here’s how The Tote rose to the highest levels of handbag fame.

The Tote Bag’s Luxurious History

While Jacobs launched his line in 1984, it wasn’t until 2001 that he added bags to the mix. Like his contemporaries, his tote iterations included soft leather options, sequin embroideries, and military-inspired detailing.

By the 2010s, the label was juggling a several tote styles: the trapezoidal Editor Tote, the Little Big Shot Tote, and the boxier Grind Tote. However, the great tote bag streamlining happened in 2019 — and The Tote was released.

While the name was intentionally generic, the new bag gained a much more pronounced identity. It was boxy and structured, but also roomy — perfect for holding all sorts of daily essentials. It’s straight-forward “THE TOTE BAG” label would become a signature for the brand, eventually spilling over to the label’s other offerings, like The Bucket, The Duffel, and The Sack, among others.

Calling it the “perfect mix of fashion and function,” Frank says the bag encapsulates the brand’s sensibilities. “The chunky top zip gives the bag a little bit of edge, which feels so right for the Marc Jacobs DNA.”

Naturally, Celebrities Love The Tote

Since its inception, the bag has become a go-to of street-style stars and celebs alike, with a huge roster of A-list endorsers. Marc Jacobs even managed to bag two members of the Kardashian/Jenner clan: Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian, a feat very few fashion brands have accomplished.

Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

Kardashian has starred in two separate Marc Jacobs campaigns, clutching iterations of The Tote in both. In one, she held a crystal-encrusted style, totally on brand for the SKIMS mogul.

Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

In another campaign, she held up a gray leather Tote.

Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

Another supermodel was the face of the bag for a time: Emily Ratajkowski. She clutched two monogrammed versions in one Spring/Summer 2023 campaign.

As Jacobs is wont to do, the designer expanded his reach beyond fashion girlies. Repping the music industry, SZA posed with a bright orange-red leather Tote that matched her monogram tee.

Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

His reach even extended into the Bravoverse, with former Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna and daughter Amelia Gray, both carrying the bags. Frank calls the Tote “the it bag that spans generations,” and this mother-daughter campaign is easy proof.

Courtesy of Marc Jacobs

Wait, The Tote Bag Costs How Much?!

The bag comes in four sizes, depending on your toting needs: the crossbody, small, medium, and large. It’s also grouped into five main categories: canvas, leather, jacquard, denim, and seasonal fabrics (mesh, teddy, glossy leather, and rattan).

“Marc Jacobs does a great job of updating and evolving the tote each season,” Frank says, which is what makes it a favorite of Bloomingdale’s shoppers. “Our customer has been loving The Tote in novelty prints and fabrications. Denim and camo have been top styles.”

The bag is so popular with shoppers, Bloomingdales made The Mesh Tote a star item in their camp-themed summer Carousel, the retailer’s famous rotating popup shop. “Mesh is a major trend across accessories and we thought this version was perfect for our ‘camp’ Carousel, because it’s transparent, water-friendly, and packable,” says Frank.

Customers keep coming back, thanks to the label’s consistent churnout of new styles. The price point, however, is also an undeniable draw. Unlike other designer bags, which cost thousands, shoppers can get a Tote Bag for as low as $175 for a small canvas style to $595 for a large leather version.