The lifespan of the tote bag starts in the 17th century, but its inception into modern day society happened with the Birkin. The lady famed for her relationship with Serge Gainsbourg was seated next to the former Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on an Air France flight from Paris to London in the early ’80s, when her straw bag broke and its contents spilled everywhere. This sparked a conversation between Jane and Jean-Louis about the perfect bag, and the rest is history. This sizeable but elegant bag became one of the 'it' bags of the 90s, and has kept its momentous status ever since.

Today, totes have become synonymous with the cotton carrier bags often donned by East London art students, but they shouldn't be so readily dismissed. Post-pandemic fashion is focusing on the practical rather than theatrical – elasticated waistbands; you're hear to stay – and that certainly trickles down to our accessory choices. After years of micro-bags taking centre stage, we're in want of a bag that actually functions as one, and the tote is the arm candy to do so

For those whose bank accounts don't quite stretch far enough for a Birkin, there are plenty of other fashion-forward styles on the market to choose from. These styles from Last Frame and Marni Market are expertly crafted; the former by artisan's in the designers hometown of Ishikawa, Japan, and the latter tote bags are hand woven in Colombia. A Mary Poppins bag comes in the form of Rue de Verneuil, as this small bag can hold a hell of a lot. La Double J offers two bags in one with this reversible iteration, and if you want a tote that'll stand the test of all weather conditions, opt for this Staud style. 

Whichever you choose, they're a bag that'll work for you. Tote-ally. 

Style your tote with these stylish sartorial pieces:

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