Madewell Transport Tote Review

Madewell Transport Tote Review

madewell transport tote review

The Madewell Tote has Thousands of Fans, and Now I’m One!

It is my go-to bag.

Reviewed’s editors choose recommendations from their own research. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

It’s been years since I was able to get along with my purses. Their size makes it seem like they could be essentially a large phone case. My iPhone is the only thing I fit into them.

A purse that is practical and fits my needs without looking like I’m on a trip for weeks has been something I had longed to find. Reviewed’s fashion editor, I am fascinated by Madewell’s Transport Tote. I wrote hundreds of times about the bag, read the many rave reviews and saw it selling at Nordstrom repeatedly. I’ve even seen it on the arms of celebs like Meghan Markle and Jessica Alba. It was something I’d never done before. Was it able to convert me into someone who uses a purse?

What I like about the Madewell Transport Tote For appearance alone, I give this tote a 10 out of 10. This brown leather full-grain looks and feels aged. It’s soft and supple, not stiff and brittle like some cheaper bags I’ve purchased. I appreciate the simple design. The only thing that is “accentual” to the bag’s exterior pocket, however, is it. You can also get that leather-like scent, which I wish you could make into a perfume.

The bag is just as practical and functional in its convenience. At 12.25 inches by 11 inches by 5 inches, the main interior compartment is large enough to hold my Macbook Pro, wallet, collapsible umbrella, notebook, jacket, hairbrush, and a few other things. You can stash your iPhone 8 Plus or keys in the small zippered compartment on the side. The pocket on the outside is big enough to slip in a book or a tablet my iPad fits with little room to spare yet lies flat against the side of the bag so it doesn’t add any extra bulk.

The tote has two handles. Either the short top handles are sufficient, or you can use the strap to carry the bag over your shoulders. It is also adjustable with a buckle-like belt. I usually carry totes across my chest, but this is the style I really like.

madewell transport tote review

Is The Madewell Transport Tote Worth Buying?

This tote has the greatest versatility I have ever seen.

Would I usually spend this much on a purse? Absolutely not I’m a fast-fashion fan through and through. What if I could make an exception? Surprised to find that I would. It is the Goldilocks bag. I love how it fits with every outfit and can use it for any occasion. It’s fashionable and timeless. So I think it will continue to be popular for many years.

Madewell provides many options for variations on this theme if the Transport Tote is not your favorite or you don’t want to buy it anymore. You can also get a smaller version, a crossbody or even one made from canvas. This reduces the cost by almost $100. You can choose from a bunch of neutral colors and earthy tones for either material, including brown, black, cognac, and olive.

Reviewed product reviewers have you covered. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @Reviewed to receive the most current deals, product reviews, news and updates.

These prices may have changed over time, although they were exact at the time that this article was published.

madewell transport tote review

There are other things you might also like…

The Zip-Top Transport Crossbody More Colors The Medium Transport Tote More Colors The Zip-Top Medium Transport Tote More Colors TERMS OF USE UPDATED PRIVACY POLICY CA TRANSPARENCY ACT CALIFORNIA DO NOT SELL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION “EmailPreferences”: “preferences”, “ManagePassword”: “password-change”, “register?flow=checkout”: “register-checkout”, “register”: “register”, “profile”: “profile”, “Address-Add”: “add-address”, “addressbook”: “address”, “checkout”: “checkout”, “revieworder”: “revieworder”, “orderconfirmation”: “order-confirmation”, “giftcard”: “gift-card”, “checkorderstatus”: “check-order-status”, “login”: “login”, “international-orders”: “international-orders”, “inspo-men”: “blog-men”, “orders”: “order-history”, “madewell-insider-faq”: “madewell-insider”, “loyalty-terms-conditions”: “terms-and-conditions”, “contact-us”: “contact-us”, “shipping-handling”: “shipping-handling”, “returns”: “returns-exchanges”, “store-services-services”: “madewell-IRL-services”, “store-services-custom”: “madewell-custom-madewell”, “store-services-denim”: “madewell-denim-edit”, “store-services-mens”: “madewell-mens”, “store-services-archive”: “madewell-archive”, “student-teacher”: “student-teacher”, “community-heroes”: “community-heroes”, “afterpay-faq”: “afterpay”, “marketplacefaq”: “marketplace-faq”, “about-madewell”: “who-we-are”, “recycling”: “do-well-recycling”, “materials”: “do-well-materials”, “fair-trade”: “do-well-fair-trade”, “operations”: “do-well-our-operations”, “do-well/causes”: “do-well-causes”, “promo-codes-discounts-coupons”: “promo-codes-discounts”, “social-responsibility”: “social-responsibility”, “wholesale”: “wholesale”, “accessibility”: “accessibility”, “dei-landing”: “diversity-inclusion”, “plus-letter”: “size-inclusivity”, “store-services-health-safety”: “madewell-health-safety”, “privacy-policy”: “privacy-policy”, “wallet”: “payment-options”, “personalization”: “custom-madewell”, “inspo-community-hometown-heroes”: “hometown-heroes”, “SheerID-GetVerificationForm?segment=firstResponder”: “community-heroes-verify”, “favorites”: “favorite”

madewell transport tote review


From conspicuous consumption to conscious, you can do reviews and move on. Find plenty of unsponsored reviews of Everlane, Elizabeth Suzann, Only Child, Grana, and Cuyana on the site! Since I purchased the Madewell Tote, but didn’t like it, I returned it to buy the Cuyana Classic Leather Tote. There are similarities and differences between them. Cuyana Classic Leder Tote measures 13.25″ x 18.25(L)x 5.25(w) inches and has a 9.25 inch drop. Cuyana bags are slightly smaller than other totes, but they’re much larger. Cuyana’s soft leather makes it easy to fold down the sides to decrease its size (see picture).

The totes might look very similar but here’s why the Cuyana tee I like better.

First of all, the Cuyana Tote’s leather interior is stunning. The leather feels soft and is incredibly fragrant. The smell reminds me of the leather of Balenciaga bags, even though the textures of the leather are different. The leather on the Madewell tote is stiff and feels and smells like cheap leather.

-The difference in the leather is probably due to the fact that the Cuyana tote is made in the US while the Madewell tote is made in China (plus Cuyana is a brand all about producing top quality items).

The Madewell bag’s strap is just slightly shorter than the Cuyana, which can be a big advantage when you are trying to carry a tote bag across your shoulder while wearing a winter jacket. I think the Cuyana bag might fit, while the Madewell tote most definitely wouldn’t.

Cuyana also offers three options for the Cuyana Tote: the tall, classic and zip-up versions.

So as you can see, my vote clearly goes to the Cuyana tote over the Madewell tote. If we wanted to discuss all my totes (including the Mansur Gavriel Tote and the Everlane Tote), then I’d have to say that the Everlane bag is my favourite. I enjoy the compact shape, the adjustable straps, the deep pockets with snap closures, as well as the interior pockets. You can just stuff things into the Mansur Gavriel and it will hold its shape well. In general I do not like to use a soft bag. If I had to pick one though, this would be it.

madewell transport tote review

Madewell Vs. Leather Tote Fashionable Vs. Cuyana

Updated: March 10, 2018. I saw that the post had been receiving a lot more traffic than it used to, and decided it was high time for an update.

The Madewell bag was collecting dust and I decided to sell it. In the beginning, it was my main purse. It could hold all of our baby stuff and diapers. A smaller crossbody is better for me than a bag. The quality of my Madewell bags has declined since I purchased the first one. I recently bought another Madewell bag. It was the small crossbody tote. It’s made from thinner leather that looks almost synthetic. Also, there is no longer a buckle, but a series of brass knobs holding the strap together instead.

Even though my Able bag is still in use, it’s not something I do a lot with. A second bag was presented to me by Tirhas, the Tirhas Sledbag. This bag is very useful and well-loved.

Cuyana provided me with merchandise in return for my promotion of a Portland event. Since my long tote never felt right for me, the Classic Tote came in caramel. I love the Classic tote. Plus, the caramel tone is now richer and warmer. This bag would be a good choice!

Grechen, a blogger friend of mine from a long ago was the one I came across when I was doing an online search for leather totes. I think I was looking up the Madewell Transport Tote, and I stumbled upon her review Fast-forward a few years, and I realized I’ve compiled my own little stash of leather totes. They have been my go-to bag for about one or two years now, and I feel it is time to share some of my thoughts. That’s the beauty and power of the internet. Before you purchase anything, you can get feedback. You can read feedback on almost any item before you buy it. It’s like a bunch of women (because we are usually the buyers) in the aisle of the item you want to buy, and you can ask her, “How heavy is that?” “Did it break in okay?” “Is it comfortable?” It can be a rabbit hole if you’re not careful though. You can find my direct reviews below on the Zip Transport Tote, Mamuye Leather Tote, Fashionable and Tall Leather Tote. It’s thick enough to have some structure, but the natural grain and creases have begun to show over time. I can use the leather without worrying about spills or stains.

What I don’t like: These handles make it difficult to carry as a full-sized tote. My bag can be carried on either my shoulder or cross-body. Some days I wish I could carry the bag over my shoulder with the shorter handles, but logistics prevent me from doing so.

China. Shape + Weight: The bag’s extra leather strap and brass detailing add a touch of weight, but it is very light for a bag. Zip Transport Tote features an inside pocket as well as a lined interior. This bag is well-shaped because the leather is quite thick. The bag retains its original form even when it is filled with chock.

madewell transport tote review

The $158 Item That Finally Made Me Feel Like A Grown-Up

I am ashamed to say that I have never had a work bag since I was in my twenties. I have been full-time working for six years, but never bought a work bag. Then one day, everything changed: A friend of mine told me she just bought “the best work bag ever,” and after a few minutes of hearing her rave about it, I was convinced I needed to place an order too. Madewell’s Medium Transport Tote in Black is her reference. This bag comes in various colors, and retails for $158. Before I had time to think, I ordered. A few days later it arrived and she was correct: This bag is undoubtedly the best.

You will understand why. It has enough space to store everything that I need (a MacBook Air for reference). The zipper pocket on the interior allows me to keep my smaller items safe and secure so that they are not lost. It’s made out of smooth brown leather and looks much better than the $158 price tag. I love how it is minimal and clean so that I am able to bring it with me when I go home from work. Even though it has only been with me for a few weeks now, it is already gone to many dinners. (I used to bring a smaller, chicer bag inside my workbag to come out with me after 5.) You know the most important (and often omitted) feature of this bag? Having this chic, structured work tote under my arm finally made me feel like a grown-up like a real adult, you know? An individual who makes it seem like they’re in control, compared to the random pedestrians. This is me at my maturest self.

It’s not enough to just believe what I say. This bag is a great buy. Just look at the glowing reviews. This bag is absolutely my favorite. Very high quality,” says one reviewer. “Gorgeous. Spacious. A great bag to take on work,” says another.

This is the ideal tote bag, perfect for work. You can see how I styled Madewell’s Medium Transport Tote here, then go to the website and shop for your own bag.


Madewell Anine Boing jacket (similar design here, $349); Madewell Medium Transport Tote ($158); Shop Madewell Medium Transport Tote $158; Shop Madewell Medium Transport Tote $1158; Shop Madewell Medium Transport Tote $2158. Shop Madewell Medium Transport Tote – Striped Strap Version ($178); Shop Madewell Madewell Transport Tote – Rainbow Stripe edition ($168); Shop Madewell Canvas Transport Tote in Windowpane ($68); These 5 trends are already everywhere this summer.

Learn More:

Are Madewell Handbags Good Quality?

Madewell bags are simple and adorable, but they’re also super high-quality. There’s nothing you don’t need. These bags are extremely well-rated.

Can a Laptop fit in the Madewell Medium Transport Tote

I was so excited to finally get a madewell bag, and I opted for this bag in the dark wine color. When it got here it was so soft and amazingly put together. This bag holds all of my everyday essentials: keys, wallet, keys and my surface laptop. I love the cross-body strap.

Madewell Bags are durable?

The Madewell Transport Totes have many pros. I’ve owned my first for more than three years and they are still holding up well. It comes with a zip-up top, which is a huge plus for commuters and heavy travelers. 12 mar 2019.

Madewell Bags Made of Real Leather

Madewell is the only company that I think of when I want a great pair jeans or some staple sweaters. Because of this, Madewell has partnered with PETA and Faux Leather Inc. to create cruelty free faux leather products without compromising the high quality. …30 oct 2017

.Madewell Transport Tote Review