Where does the tote bag come from?
The origins of the tote bag date back to the 17th century. 'Tote' means 'to carry' so the name fits the bag because of its primary function, rather than its actual shape. In 1944, LL Bean released 'The Boat Bag' which is seen as the first tote bag that people started to wear, as it was a more comfortable way to carry luggage.
Fashion not functionality
In the 1960s, so important a decade in terms of fashion, the tote bag evolved from something that was purely functional into something that was now seen as incredibly stylish as well. Bonnie Cohen's 'Cashin Carry Tote Bags' were the first to become popular.
So, the humble tote was now popular for its usability and as a fashion accessory. Today, we are at the point where the vast majority of designers include tote bags in their collections every season.
Tote bags can be stylish because of the designs: simple and minimalist or patterned and floral work both work equally well on a tote. The tote bag is also incredibly functional and is versatile: beach, carry-all, shopping - even business. There are totes that have been designed for it all.
Versatility and adaptability
Totes that feature structured straps enable a greater weight to be carried comfortably, and the large space that most totes contain can be filled with pretty much anything!
Many tote bags now have detachable straps meaning that they can be worn in a variety of ways.
Pockets, pouches and compartments add to the functional appeal - and with the addition of hardware, this can really elevate the style of the piece.
You will find some tote bags that place more importance on functionality over style - and vice versa. But most now have both - and that's the beauty of the tote bag.
Style and functionality
The tote bag has evolved from a travel bag to carry luggage and become an iconic design in the fashion industry.
As tote bags are functional and stylish. This makes them just about the most essential fashion accessory that you can own.