Makeup bag, chewing gum, umbrella, tablet, phone, magazine, endless receipts, lunch, keys notebook and, for some reason, a cat toy. These are the collected contents of my bag, on a good day. This is why I love tote bags.
With life as it is these days, we increasingly have to haul our lives around with us. I’d be lost without my tablet and notebooks – not to mention my supply of chocolate. And if the weather continues to be typically British where I don’t quite know whether to pack my sunnies or a sweater, my tote bag means I can take both with me, and still have room for the rest of my clutter.
If I’m going to carry all of this detritus around with me – I may as well do it comfortably and stylishly.
Tote bags, with their boxy proportions and handles perfect for slinging over the shoulder are the perfect option for the handbag hoarder.
What exactly is a tote bag?
Tote means carry. Which doesn’t exactly tell us much really, as carrying is something you pretty much have to do with any bag… Tote bags are basically open bags. They come in a variety of sizes (usually on the larger size though) with a handle or a strap attached to the top of each side. In most cases, tote bags have one large compartment and nothing else – which is why they’re so useful for day-to-day use.
Luckily for us, we’ve plenty of choice when it comes to which tote to take:
They’ve exploded in popularity in recent years – inspired initially by the backlash towards wasteful plastic bags, Anya Hindmarsh’s ‘Not a Plastic Bag’ started the revolution in 2007. Initially mainly used by causes or charities, the fashion filtered from there to the catwalk to the high street, and soon, endless totes were available with countless images and all at an affordable price.
Similarly to graphic T-shirts, graphic totes are a blank canvas just waiting to printed – a canvas that says something about the person who wears it. V&A tote and coloured brogues – artsy and creative. High-street graphic tote and pastel blazer – frugal fashionista. Prada tote and Alexander McQueen hoof shoes – more money than sense. Or Lady Gaga.
Gone are the days where tote bags were a sturdy, floral design generally used by nice old ladies to keep their gloves and Werther’s Originals in. Givenchy’s Antigona has been hanging off the arms of half of Hollywood’s starlets. Mulberry, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton all also sent totes of all shapes, sizes and fabrics down the catwalk. Luckily, there are plenty of designer-inspired totes on the high street – check out New Look’s winged tote – also totally on-trend in black and white.
While traditionally, totes were free from embellishments like buckles and buttons – today’s totes come in a wide variety of sizes, fabrics and colours while still maintaining the dimensions that make totes so useful.
This post was written by Alisa Martin, a passionate fashion blogger and lover of tote bags.