Coffee Break: Bean’s Heritage Tote

ll bean signature toteA reader tipped us off to this gorgeous leather tote, but it wasn’t until we saw Shopping’s My Cardio post that we realized:  this tote is just the start of things to come.  LL Bean is launching a new signature line, and this tote is among the first pieces available for sale. What can we say? We’ll be eagerly waiting to see the rest of the line — and in the meantime, drooling over the tote.  It’s $189 at LL Bean.  Bean’s Heritage Tote

2016 Update: While the heritage tote is sometimes still available through eBay, you can also find a similar tote here or here.


  1. Am I the only person who wondered why Corporette had posted a brown paper grocery bag (before I looked closer and actually read the post)?

    • Not a fan either. And think the ergonomics are odd also (too deep, short handles, etc). The leather looks heavy and expensive, though. I saw some beautiful large Kate Spade totes at TJ Maxx’s for $99, with several nice, including a cool green. That’s where I’d put my money.

  2. Love the bag – don’t love the handles. I hope they make a similar tote I can carry on my shoulder. I have too many things to carry in my arms as it is.

  3. I can’t look at LL Bean the same after the NYTimes article about how the founder wants to open up a chain of lobster shacks and fund the republican world. Land’s End for me!

    • darn. I LOVE this bag. But now I can’t buy it. Maybe Lands’ End will copy soon!

    • Seriously?? When was this?? I thought LL Bean was trying to rebrand itself as a Hipster Outpost . . . Am I wrong??

    • maine girl :

      I think you’re referring to Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the founder (and one of his heirs). If it’s any consolation, she is not well-loved here in Maine (nor do I believe she has any real affiliation with the store) and her lobster roll business has been quite controversial. Here’s the article:

      Bean’s (the store) tapped hipster-preppy Alex Carleton (of Rogue’s Gallery) to design the signature line. Personally, I’m excited to see the rest.

      • Hooray! I was a little worried there that I would have to give up Beans forever.

  4. I like this. I’d like it better if they showed it next to a body so I could tell if it’s “shoulderable” or not.

  5. I don’t think it’s shoulderable.

    My reaction is ~meh~

  6. maine susan :

    I’ve been carrying this Bean tote
    for the last two years. Wears like iron, carries all the stuff I used to have inmy purse plus carries legal size files, my lunch, a pair of shoes etc. And definitely goes over the shoulder. And the price is right.

    • Corporate Tool :

      That looks great. I have DESTROYED my Kenneth Cole tote, and I need something new, and *ahem* hardier. Can it fit a small laptop (without the shoes and lunch, etc)? That is my biggest concern.


      • maine susan :

        It actually has a pocket in the middle that looks like its made for a laptop, although I have never used it for that . Also has some extra pockets for cell phone, keys, etc. I don’t know how I lived without it.

        • Corporate Tool :

          Thanks! I am ordering one now!

          • I carry my 15″ macbook pro in mine. This thing holds EVERYTHING and I get compliments on it (Dark brown color) every time i wear it. I can’t say enough great things about this bag.

        • Does anyone know where I can get the Coffee Break Beans Heritage Tote?
          They no longer have any available.


    • I love it. I’ve gone through two other bags and need something new. thanks!

      • This looks great! Maine Susan, what color did you buy? I’m eyeing the black or the cordovan.

        • maine susan :

          I actually have the dark brown. I think the white wouldn’t work for everday, but the black or the cordovan should be great. Good luck.

    • I just received the town & field tote for Christmas and absolutely love it! It looks clean and professional and I am shocked by how much stuff it can hold!

    • That looks terrific for the price. I’ve had great luck with LL Bean quality and will definitely consider it when I get around to buying a tote.

    • newassociate :

      great recommendation. i’ve been looking for a bag to lug an expansion folder or two home in, for those days when i don’t have a full banker’s box. i was considering a nylon bag since they are so much lighter but i’m concerned i’ll just destroy it, and that it can’t bear the weight.

      i think C may have done a post in the past on bags to carry files in, but if not, *hint hint.*

    • I agree with all of the recs. I bought that bag for a several-month long trial and it was perfect. Held everything — even large binders, fairly lightweight, easy to carry and totally durable.

    • Thank you so much for posting this! I just spent all weekend searching for the perfect work bag and finding nothing. This bag is exactly what I was picturing in my head while shopping but unable to find. You have just made my day.

      • For any of you tight on cash, TJ Maxx has a generic fake leather tote that looks just like this and holds a TON of stuff for $28. It has a shell for your laptop. My only complaint is the liner looks cheap but hey, it is cheap! I bought it to get me through my first month of work until I had enough money for a *real* bag and love it enough to keep using it until it looks crappy.

    • Thank you for sharing! I read the reviews and decided to purchase the tote. I think it will be perfect for going between work and law school!

      • I also have the town and country in brown. I bought it my first year of law school after my civil procedure book made a hole in my existing cheap bag. It’s lasted beautifully since then (quite a few years), and I second all of the above reviews about its durability/ability to hold everything. Bean is also great about replacing things: should the tote ever die (which I doubt it will), I can just send it back and get it replaced for free.

  7. I have the original version of this tote from Bean’s – I inherited it from my grandmother.
    It’s not shoulderable (but I have a bad shoulder and try to stay away from things that I will absent-mindedly put up there), but it is really gorgeous. It holds a ton, looks amazing with jeans and dresses and it wears beautifully. I’ve received compliments on it from people whose style runs the gamut; corporate types in my company headquarters in middle America , as well as people whose style hews a little more closely to my own here in Brooklyn.

  8. Yes, assuming it’s the same as mine, it does fit a small laptop.

  9. I kind of like it, but I hate the “LL Bean Freeport Maine” embossing at the bottom of the tote. Kind of ruins it for me.

  10. Speaking of bags … any good recommendations for a good, classic “brief bag”? Am looking for something that’s less about toting laptops, shoes, etc., and more about schlepping case files to court appearances and visits with clients.

    • Yes, I’d love to find a brief bag that doesn’t weigh 12 pounds on its own. I’ve been practicing for years and still borrow from a couple of very kind partners when I need one.

      • Maybe I’m just seriously out of the loop but what is a “brief bag” – is that different from a briefcase?

        • Sort of. It’s basically a large briefcase, big enough to hold a few large expandable files. They often have a hard/sturdy frame. I’ve got a small attache case, but it holds next to nothing. My old firm had a few of these laying around when someone needed to use one. But I recently lateraled to a new firm and I suppose I’ll finally need to pony up and get one.

          I might be the one whose out of the loop here; it might be that brief bags have now been supplanted by more stylish laptop bags and totes!

    • We have three of these around the office that everyone shares:

      The case holds a laptop, three moderately full legal size redwelds (or five two inch binders standing on ends and interlocked), a few manila folders, and an assortment of supplies in the front pocket without a problem. The wheels make it a breeze to lug to depos or to the courthouse, although it does not corner all that well. I even have done overnights with just this case and a small tote. The nylon does not make for the most glamorous exterior, but it is lightweight and resistant to dirt, scratches, and so on.

      I only have two knocks on these cases. The first is they only last three or four years. However, that is pretty good considering that about ten people share them and they always are in use. The second is that I often get asked if I am the court reporter when I enter with one, but I like to think that is because I look young, not because I am toting a lit bag!

    • I think in some parts of the country they are called catalog cases. There are some here:

  11. Beans is unbeatable for quality – you can literally wear a bag to death and return it for a new one.

  12. Yeah, I thought this looked like a brown paper bag. Made of leather, of course.

  13. I think it is beautiful, but if you can’t carry it on your shoulder it’s not as usable. maybe the next version will have longer straps?

  14. Am I the only one who thinks the price is a bit steep? I realize most people on here are working women…

    • Umm humm (nodding furiously). See my note re: Kate Spade totes @ TJMaxx. I’m a working woman, btw, but not pulling down BIGLAW bucks.

  15. I carry my files to and from court in last year’s version of this:

    It’s held up quite well, considering what I put it through. Cheap, available, and professional. And it matches everything.

  16. Anonymous :


    I’ve gotten into Cole Hahn. Nice styling but not too loud, and you can get some good deals at sales and even in outlets. The shoes and bags are all good so far.

    I used to like Coach, but it’s become overdone….. Is it just me who thinks this, or does it seem like every teenager has Coach, and it’s looking more young and cheap with every passing season….?

  17. Does anyone have the LL Bean coffe break heritage bag that they would like to sell?