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MUST-HAVE BAG STYLE: No. 1

Posted by Michelle Zillman on

It’s difficult to resist the temptation to buy that next great bag you fall in love with. But a worthwhile exercise is to take a look at your current collection, see if there are any gaps, any must-have styles that you may be missing. There are 3 bag styles that should cover all your needs. Today, I’m talking about the first: The Tote Bag. (I’ll reveal my other choices over the next two weeks).

Must Have Bag Number 1: Tote 

A Tote Bag is an absolute must, structured if possible. Go for a neutral colour or black so that it works with just about any outfit (no crazy, current fashion colours if you want longevity). This bag will take you to work and out for drinks afterwards.

‘Tote’ (which means ‘to carry’), wasn’t used to describe bags until 1900. The Tote bag craze started in America in the 1940s when L.L. Bean released the ‘Boat Bag’. Because they were easier to carry than luggage, most people opted for using tote bags.

Original 1940s L.L. Bean Tote. Photo: etsy

During the 1950s tote bags began to enter into the main culture. Women primarily utilised them as practical handheld bags because they didn't require much care. It wasn't until the 1960s when the tote bag embraced personal style. Bonnie Cashin released her own line of tote bags called Cashin Carry Tote Bags which combined style and functionality.

Left: Bonnie Cashin. Photo: Vogue; Right: Cashin Carry Tote 1960s

In the 1990s, Kate Spade ultimately transformed how American culture embraced tote bags when she began carrying them as fashion bags. And our love affair with them continues… Here are some of my current faves.

Top Left: Lanvin The Shopper; Top Right: Marni Museo; Bottom Left: Alaia Leather Tote

What are some of your favourite Totes?

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