The Lafayette Style Watch: Tote Bag

Aleni MacKarey

The term “tote” actually means, “to carry.” It is no wonder these bags, seen everywhere today, are identified by that word. Tote bags typically have two handles in the center top of each side, with a roomy inner. Originally they did not have zippers, but over time, several designers offered this option to protect belongings. The first tote bags hit the scene in America in 1944 when L.L. Bean debuted its “Boat Bag.” This simple, open canvas bag, designed for boaters immediately appealed to women who wanted a version of this practical, and sturdy bag. They were also referred to as the “newsboy bag” since many paper and delivery boys stashed their materials inside. Tote bags then transitioned into luggage, as they are very easy to pack and use while traveling. By the 1950s, tote bags were very popularly used as handbags. Finally, in the 1960s, Bonne Cashin released her Cashin Carry Tote Bags line, which gave these pragmatic bags a place in the fashion world. Kate Spade gave the tote its final push when she advertised the tote as only a fashion piece. Women valued functionality over style. Tote bags traveled through fabric families such as canvas, leather, quilt, and plastic. Tote bags are perfect for activities that require considerable contents, such as picnicking, grocery shopping, or school books. Depending on the fabric and the look you desire, totes can be used as your statement accessory. Totes are not only for women these days! Many men use them to transport fishing and work materials.

Each week Lafayette Style columnist, Aleni Mackarey peruses the campus to find Leopard’s rocking unique and individual trends. Today’s installment features the lovely, Miss Sami Meyerson sporting a tote bag with her shift dress. Let’s take a look.

Sami Meyerson ’15

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Photo by Aleni Mackarey ‘16

What is your class year and major?

Theater, class of 2015.

Where is your look from?

Dress is Target, sandals, Old Navy, and tote from wholesale purse store in Manhattan.

What inspired your look for today?

I was in jeans, but I didn’t want to wear jeans anymore, so I thew on the dress and grabbed my jacket. I accessorize with my blue scarf a lot too.

What was the inspiration behind the outfit you paired with this tote?

Black and white and simple. I know it works together, and it took me five minutes to get dressed. I’ve worn this outfit to work and I’ve worn it to a wedding with a blazer.

What is the primary use of your tote?

Literally carries everything. My passport is in here. Tons of pens, plus my work notebook, sketchbook, ChapStick, charger… etc. My laptop is a perfect fit too.

What is your favorite outfit style to wear to class?

Crazy. I’m usually in oversized knit sweaters and ripped jeans or shorts. Lots of cardigans and pullovers with tanks. I love a good blazer too. If I had to pick one outfit? It’d be a white v-neck and jeans.

What is your favorite fashion trick/trip?

I love wearing shorts through winter with tights. Layering is my other fave trick – and probably the only reason I like winter.

Who is a fashion icon of yours? And why?

Zuhair Murad makes the most amazing gowns in the world. They’re all red carpet dresses but they are amazing.

What are your favorite stores?

Oh Charlotte Russe has been it for me for awhile, or Charming Charlie. Kmart though for those mass pack white v-necks, and my mama makes a lot of my sweaters, or I steal them from my dad.

What does it take to find a cute and functional tote?

Does your laptop fit? Are there zippered pockets inside and out? Do you like the color? Are the straps sturdy?…Yes? You’ve found the tote.