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What is a Tote Bag?

BY Buffalo Jackson Insight
BY Amanda Uher

A tote is simply a large bag suitable for carrying (or toting) lots of stuff. (They’re also sometimes called carry-all bags for the same reason.) There is a wide range of tote bag styles. For example, reusable cotton shopping bags are actually tote bags, but so are Joanna-Gaines-inspired leather totes. However, while the details may vary, the answer to “What is a tote bag?” remains the same in four key ways:


Tote bags are large. They have to be! A great tote bag will be large enough to comfortably carry all you may need for the day -- books, laptop, gym clothes, sunscreen? The beauty of the tote bag is its flexibility. Think you may need something? Toss it in the tote bag.


Another universal feature of a tote bag is its two long straps and wide open top. Tote bags hang easily on the shoulder, and the wide open top (sometimes simply secured with a magnet closure) allows easy access on the go. Tote bags often have a single large interior space, while some offer interior pockets for basic organization. The wide top opening allows you to easily view and access your bag’s contents.

Structure (or not)

Some tote bags are literally just big bags with straps, and they don’t provide any structure at all (like a plain cotton shopping bag), and some are SO structured it feels like you’re carrying a large cereal box from your shoulder. Somewhere in between is a great choice -- like these tote bags with a removable bottom base. Use the base to provide structure or take it out if you’re feeling loosey-goosey. Options are good.


Far beyond basic cotton, tote bags can be found in fantastic materials to complement any style -- without compromising function. Waxed canvas tote bags are both beautiful and durable. Fully waxed canvas, or mixed with leather accents, a waxed canvas tote is the picture of rugged beauty. Leather tote bags can be streamlined and simple or they can include things like braided leather accents to amp up the detail.

Soft leather tote bags and waxed canvas totes are as gorgeous as they are functional, and their on-trend status won’t be fading anytime soon.  

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