Brown bag no more: ladies who lunch and keep it green

6 May 2009

One of my favorite childhood memories, aside from the time my mother discovered I gave my sister a haircut the day before our family photos, is the time spent cruising JCPenney for a lunchbox to start off the new school year. 

While first grade’s My Little Pony theme and second grade’s Monet-esque pastel patchwork boxes were inspiring, nothing quite held the clout of my third grade box of choice:  New Kids on the Block.  A fluorescent orange trophy, my NKOTB lunch box had, as TVC readers of that era may fondly recall, the right stuff.  Danny, Donny, Jordan, Jonathan and Joey accompanied me on the school bus each morning; each afternoon, I’d open my plastic snack case to the tune of a turkey sandwich, apple and Thermos of skim milk.  Little did I know in 1990 and at eight years old that the reusable lunch box would remake itself into a fashion statement and symbol of green nearly twenty years later.  (And there I was, thinking my double-stacked slouch socks were cool.)

I'm not a plastic bagBritish designer Anya Hindmarch caused a supermarket sensation in 2007 when her $15 “I’m Not a Plastic Bag”reusable shopping tote went on sale at London’s version of Trader Joe’s, Sainsbury’s (oh, how I love me some Sainsbury’s), selling out within fifteen minutes flat.  The same, relatively unremarkable canvas bags later appeared on Ebay for $300 to $400 a pop.  Since I’m Not Impressed with labels alone, I like Whole Foods’ variety of reusable totes, which sell for $8 to $12 and are made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste.  (Note:  Anya’s totes were “limited edition,” meaning that if you want her seal of approval, you’ll have to spend $900 or more on one of her couture bags.   That’s eco-unfriendly, if you ask us.)

target nexxt bagIf handles aren’t your thing, this strappy number from Target’s Nexxt line, $15, will do just fine.  Comprised of nylon and fully insulated, it does a better job of keeping things cold, including miniature boxes of chardonnay that are perfect for lunchtime sipping in the shade, away from the guise of your overbearing boss who wants to know if you’re willing to work on Saturday yet again.  (We kid, we kid.  Sort of.)


Whether you’re a lady who lunches or simply want a more subway-chic way to carry last night’s leftover macaroni from point A to point B, a reusable lunch sack is a fashion “do.”

-Karyn Polewaczyk


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Posted by Mirela at 12:55 AM

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