Are you searching for a new handbag? Then you have a wide variety of options. You could get a shoulder bag, a clutch, a messenger bag, a wristlet, or even a satchel. But in this sea of choices, there’s one option that we can’t overlook - the tote bag. What is a tote bag? And why do so many prefer it over any other type of bag?
A tote is a large bag with a wide opening and parallel handles. Most people who choose the tote bag are looking for a mix of fashion and utility. A tote is easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion. But it’s not just a pretty face.
You can’t carry your wallet, workout clothes, a laptop, and a good book in a cute wristlet or satchel. But does that mean you have to abandon your fashion sense and tote your stuff around in a duffle bag? Definitely not. Leave the toting to your canvas tote bag, a stylish carryall for busy people like you.
But where did the tote bag come from? And how did it become so popular?
History of the Tote Bag
The American word tote or toting has uncertain origins. But many believe that it originated from West Africa. In Kikongo, the word ‘tota’ means “to pick up.” And in Swahili, ‘tuta’ means “to carry.” But when did it become more than just a word?
In 1944, the outdoor brand L. L.Bean introduced its famous Ice Bag. Its purpose was to help carry ice from your car to your freezer, hence the name. But the bag’s popularity went beyond ice-carrying. L. L. Bean took note of this and dressed up the bag with different color and design options.
But it was Bonnie Cashin, an American designer, who took the tote from useful to fashionable. She designed a stylish leather tote that comes in a variety of colors. But the trendy take on the tote doesn’t stop there. Today, the most expensive bag in the world is the beautiful Hermès Himalaya Birkin bag. This tote bag sold for $500,000. And high-end totes are regularly featured in magazines and on catwalks throughout the world fashion industry.
Not to be left behind, the famous New York City book store, the Strand, created its own version of the tote. The Strand displayed its name, address, phone number, and various slogans printed in bold red letters. The totes created by L. L. Bean and the Strand are still popular today.
But what is a tote bag made of? And what’s the best material for your needs?