Women's Tote Bags (1896)

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What is a tote bag?

A better question may be, what isn’t a tote bag? The ultimate carryall, a women’s tote bag is probably the most essential of all handbags. Large and sturdy, with some structure, it typically has an open top or zipper closure with a thick handle on each side. Designed to be carried by hand or over the shoulder, the tote is well suited to everything from the office to the beach.

What is the history of the tote bag?

The word ‘tote’ means to carry, so it can probably be assumed that the tote bag has been around for a long time, helping both men and women to transport food, household items and personal essentials. But, the modern tote bag has its origins in New England, where L.L. Bean designed a heavy canvas tote for the express purpose of carrying blocks of ice. The bag’s classic, no-fuss style caught on, and Bean’s “boat and tote” became a staple among east coast preppies. And why not? The tote bag is the perfect daily handbag, which is why we now see the silhouette in the collections of most designers.

Where should I carry a tote bag?

Where shouldn’t you carry a tote bag? For real. Tote bags go everywhere. The only place where you may consider an alternative handbag, like a clutch or mini bag, is a cocktail party, wedding, or formal affair—totes don’t complement evening dresses all that well. But other than that, the sky’s the limit. Tote bags are perfect for the office, as they are often sized to fit laptops, files and other work essentials. And we’re not talking about canvas beach totes—designer tote bags are made from a variety of materials, including leather, which makes for a very polished looking handbag. For more casual affairs, like weekend farmer’s markets, or beach trips, a tote is the only way to go. A canvas tote is classic, but nylon and other synthetics with prints and embellishments make great statement bags for getting your gear from A to B.

 

Shop women’s tote bags on sale from AnthropologieFurlaKate SpadeMarc JacobsLongchamp, and Ralph Lauren.

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$250.00 $89.99
51
PARKER TOTE
Tory Burch
$298.00
27
$145.00
18
$295.00
35
PARKER SMALL TOTE
Tory Burch
$268.00
21
$138.00
from Macy's
23
$498.00
20
$398.00
12
$458.00
16
BLOCK-T TOTE
Tory Burch
$458.00
48
FLEMING TOTE
Tory Burch
$598.00
38
$89.00 $69.99
11
$228.00 $79.99
10
$198.00
14
$178.00
14
$295.00
from Macy's
5
$380.00 $139.99
7
$228.00 $136.80
from Macy's
7
$295.00
10
ELLA MINI TOTE
Tory Burch
$178.00
20
$550.00
from Shopbop
10
$260.00 $129.00
17
$99.00 $49.49
8
GEMINI LINK TOTE
Tory Burch
$198.00
4
$2,850.00 $1,424.99
16
$78.00 $29.99
4
$298.00
3
$200.00 $99.00
15
$98.00 $73.50
from Macy's
5
$295.00 $176.98
14
$115.00 $89.99
13
$128.00 $85.76
6
MARC JACOBS Knot Tote
Marc Jacobs
$225.00 $112.49
12
French Connection Camden Tote
French Connection
$118.00 $40.50
12
$260.00 $129.00
12
$260.00 $129.00
12
$395.00 $279.00
12
$68.00
from Macy's
3
$278.00 $111.13
from Macy's
3
$225.00 $179.99
11
$245.00 $189.99
11
$260.00 $129.00
11
$180.00 $79.00
11
$528.00
10
$598.00
5
$498.00 $259.99
10