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What Is a Tote Bag?

Tote bags are one of the most famous handbag designs of today. Practical and functional, you can see it everywhere, in the supermarket, on the beach, or on the street. People love tote bags because you can put everything in them. But what is a tote bag? This blog will discuss what a tote bag is, its history, and why many women prefer it over any other type of bag. 

What is a Tote Bag?

A tote bag is a mid-large sized bag that has two parallel handles. It is a very spacious and comfortable bag to use. A tote bag is usually unfastened at the top and bigger than other bags. 

It can be made from lightweight materials such as leather, canvas, or fabric and come in multiple colors and patterns. 

History of Tote Bags

The history of tote bags began in 1944 when the outdoor brand L.L. Bean introduced its famous ice bag. A tote bag was created to help carry the ice from your car or freezer. But it did not take long for people to realize that a tote bag can be used for more than just carrying ice. Below is a tote bag's timeline.


A well-known Maine-based outdoor store called L.L. Bean created a sturdy bag for carrying ice to allow people to transport ice from vehicles to their homes. 


L.L. Bean brought back and upgraded the canvas bag and called it the "boat or tote." The older basic designs were livened with colorful colors and trims, still featured in today's designs. The tote bag began to gain popularity during the 1960s. It was not only used for carrying ice but began to evolve and be used for many things, such as shopping bags or as part of a fashion statement.


Tote bags grew in popularity during the 1980s as businesses began to use tote bags as promotional merchandise because they are cheaper and easy to manufacture. During this time, tote bags were used as business advertising mediums. Business prints their company name or logo on the bag and sell them as marketable goods. 


IKEA's iconic for a dollar (FRANTA) became popular, which was a game changer for reusable shopping bags. Other stores started creating their designs of reusable tote bags as an alternative to plastic shopping bags.


The 2010s were considered the era of tote bags. During this time, tote bags took center stage worldwide as many fashion houses began to include tote bags in their collections. 


Tote bags have become the most versatile bag styles compared to other styles. It is now used as daily or office bags for beach vacation trips to a classy evening dinner. The dynamic and practical tote bags are now used by people from all walks of life. 


Tote Bag Sizes

Below are the standards sizes available to tote bags. 


Small tote bags are around 12 inches wide, 13 inches high, and 4 inches deep. It may not have the space of an average tote, but it still has that same fashionable look and is much easier to carry. 

Small tote bags are for those who like tote bags but prefer a more manageable size that will carry all the essentials such as wallet, keys, makeup, and cell phone.


The size of a medium tote bag is usually about 16 inches wide, 15 inches high, and 5 inches deep, which makes it easy to use for any occasion.

This size is for someone who wants a bag that can be used from work to a fancy dinner. It has more space that can carry the essentials at the same time it's not too big to bring to a fancy dinner or night out with friends.


A large tote bag is 22 inches wide, 15 inches high, and 8 inches deep. This size is usually used as a carryall bag. 

Large tote bags are for anyone who likes carrying everything. Or for those who don't have time to go home for an outfit change from work to the gym. 

How to Clean and Organize Your Tote Bags?

Why do you need to clean and care for your tote bags? Well, you spend money to buy that beautiful tote bag, so it should be maintained well to preserve its beauty and longevity. A well-cared tote bag can last for a long time.

Before buying your tote bag, it is essential to know what materials it is made of, so you can use cleaning products suited to the materials.

Tips for Cleaning Your Tote Bag:

  1. Take everything out of your tote bag. Be sure to go through the pockets, and once everything is out, clean your tote by turning it upside down and shaking it over a trash can to empty any objects.

  2. Sort everything into piles and put similar items together in one pouch. 

  3. Throw out any trash or items that you don't need. Throw away items that need to be thrown away, like candy wrappers, expired coupons, or old things that need to be replaced.

  4. Pack the items you need the most, like, your wallet, keys, hand sanitizer, and lip balm. 

  5. Use travel-sized items. Instead of carrying large items, opt for travel-sized ones. You may need to refill them often, but they are space savers and will make your bag lighter.

Tips on Removing Stains:

  • Food Stains: remove stains by crushing white chalk on the stain for several hours and wiping it away with a clean cloth. 

  • Water Spots: Blot the water stain and let it dry naturally and bring your handbag to a professional cleaner for water stain removal.

  • Ink Stains: Try rubbing fresh ink stains with a white eraser. Don't use too much pressure to rub the stains. If it doesn't disappear, bring your handbag to a professional cleaner.

  • Odors: Put a baking soda pack inside your handbag when storing to remove odors.

Tips on Organizing Your Tote bags

1. Use a Tote Organizer

The easiest way to organize your tote is to buy a pre-made tote organizer. Ideal for arranging your bag's content in an orderly fashion, tote organizer inserts are products that you need for your tote bags. It's available in different sizes and colors. You can guarantee a perfect fit that will turn your tote bag into an organized one. 

Why are tote organizers great?

  • The exterior pockets make it easy to grab your phone.

  • The multi-functional pockets inside allow you to organize your pens, papers, keys, credit cards, and anything you need to carry.

  • It makes transferring your items from one bag to another easy.

2. Make Use of Pouches

Another great way to keep your tote bags organized is by using pouches. Pouches are great for holding those insignificant items that may get lost at the bottom of your tote bag. You can use pouches to categorize things like storing your sanitizer, bandaids, pens, and medicines in one pouch, while lipstick and makeups are in another. These will prevent you from rummaging through your bag whenever you need something.

Having everything organized and pre-packed in separate pouches will allow you to grab what you need and hit the road while keeping your tote bag organized. As much as possible, use transparent pouches to store your items. Seeing what is stored in a particular cosmetic bag will help you easily find what you are looking for.

3. Clean Your Tote Bag Regularly

No matter how great you are at organizing your tote bag, establishing a routine to declutter and restock is essential. Cleaning your tote bag regularly or at least once a week will allow you to declutter and do something with the papers or items you've collected. It will also give you time to replenish any things you need. So, make time in the morning or evening once a week to ensure your bags are cleaned, organized, and stocked.

7 Best Designer Tote Bags

Are you interested in adding a tote bag to your collection? Tote bags are a must-have nowadays because they are great for carrying all your essentials. So if you are looking for a new designer tote bag, below are the ten best designer tote bags in our list. 

Neverfull Tote Bag

1. Neverfull by Louis Vuitton

You can't go wrong with the classic Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote bag. This is one of the best-selling Louis Vuitton bags of all time. It features a wide open-top design with one main interior compartment that makes it easy to store all your belongings and slip them in and out. The bag also features a detachable pochette that you can use as a wristlet. The Neverfull comes in the classic Louis Vuitton Monogram, Damier Azur canvas, Damier Ebene, and the Epi and Empreinte leathers. 

Ophidia G.G. Tote by Gucci

 2. Ophidia G.G. Tote by Gucci

The Ophidia tote is for those who like a flashier look in work outfits. The bag offers a practical and timeless look with the classic G.G. motif and web stripe. The bag's interior has a roomy and spacious open-design compartment to carry all your bigger items. It also features a zipped pocket for keeping your smaller essentials, while the magnetic snap closure will keep all your belongings safe. The Ophidia tote bag also has long leather handles that allow this bag to be carried easily as a shoulder bag.  



Rockstud Bag by Valentino

3. Rockstud Bag by Valentino

The classic Valentino Rockstud bag is perfect for a working woman who wants to look a bit edgy in her personality. This bag has platinum-finish studs and hardware that looks chic and sophisticated. You can easily carry all your documents, laptop, and other small belongings inside with its large size.

Book Tote Bag by Christian Dior

4. Book Tote Bag by Christian Dior

The iconic Christian Dior Book Tote is another perfect work bag for women that has been a favorite among celebrities and handbag lovers after its release. The bag is embroidered with the "CHRISTIAN DIOR" signature on the front and features a structured, boxy silhouette and a clean, fabric-lined interior. It also comes in multiple sizes and materials to fit any lifestyle.

Saint Laurent Unstructured Tote by YSL

5. Saint Laurent Unstructured Tote by YSL

The sleek Saint Laurent Unstructured Tote by YSL is a subtle alternative for working professionals who don't like flashy flags or logos. It comes with flat leather handles for comfortable wear on one's shoulders and a zippered pochette to keep your smaller valuables. The bag is made of high-quality supple leather that is luxurious to the touch. 

Louis Vuitton Onthego Tote

6. Louis Vuitton Onthego Tote

The Louis Vuitton Onthego Tote bag was designed as a practical everyday bag and an excellent work bag for a woman who is always on the go. The bag has two sets of handles that allow the bag to be carried by hand or a large shoulder bag. Today, the Louis Vuitton Onthego Tote is available in three sizes to suit every lifestyle. 

St. Louis Tote by Goyard

7. St. Louis Tote by Goyard

The Goyard St. Louis Tote bag is a lightweight unstructured bag that can expand to fit large items such as laptops and documents. It can also be folded to be carried inside your other bags (you can use it as an extra bag). It also comes with a removable pouch for storing your smaller daily essentials. This bag features a hand-painted Goyardine fabric bag that is reversible for more functionality and flexibility. The Goyard St. Louis Tote bag is available in different colors, such as red, yellow, green, blue, and white. 





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