Toting around

22 April 2009

With a bevy of handbags of every shape, size, color and style available at any given moment, it can be hard to declare a winner in a world of objects meant to carry much more than just belongings. My sister, for example, never leaves home without at least three lip glosses (usually in strikingly similar shades and textures), a pack of gum, and five or six variations of pink-inked pens. My mother is a bit more sensible, with emery boards, a (balanced) checkbook and other mom essentials such as a miniature package of tissues, packets of Splenda and photos of her beloved daughters, all stored neatly in her purse du jour. I, seeking comfort in chaos, can usually be found with two or three notebooks, defunct receipts for my last 100 or so Trader Joe’s purchases and Nars lipstick in Dolce Vita, along with a book, day planner and iPod interwoven through the carefully chosen mess.

And that’s where the tote bag, the gold standard of ‘schlepping’, if you will, comes in. No other accessory will allow you to carry everything but the kitchen sink (but perhaps a faucet or two) in an effortless and pulled together package, thanks mostly in part to its traditionally spacious interior. Since not all totes are created equal, and since bargain hunting is our fLLBean Toteorte, why not pack one up with The Vogue City?



It would be a crime against accessories to not start with L.L. Bean’s prepster-worthy Patchwork Madras Tote, $19 at

Yes, that’s right. $19. There are few places where you can find a well-made, durable tote that also comes with a lifetime guarantee for under $20. Their canvas collection of Boat & Tote bags is equally adorable, and with prices starting at just $10.




Felix Rey for TargetFelix Rey for Target has us longing for lazy days at the beach with this nautical-inspired PVC tote, $49 at and at select Target stores. 

The price is slightly higher than we’d like to pay for Target, but keep in mind that Rey’s pieces typically run upwards of $100 plus for smaller clutches. PVC is easily cleanable and works well with the beach, and makes a stylish statement at the supermarket as a reusable grocery bag.





LeSportsac Leight BagWe le sigh for LeSportsac. Their pieces are funky, fun and carry well, whether out for a stroll in the park or out on the town. Their Leigh bag, $128 at and Bloomingdales, is no exception.

The price packs a heavy punch; however, all of their pieces are made in the United States and are sweatshop free. Paying a bit more for ethics, plus bypassing the carbon footprint from having an item shipped from a factory overseas, is something that you can’t put a price on.

-Karyn Polewaczyk

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Posted by karynpol at 06:00 AM

One thought on “Toting around

  • April 22, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Good news Karyn! I was looking for the Leigh bag on Google and HSN has the bag in the picture (silver Leigh bag) for $89. Sweet. I wonder how organized they are inside. My problem with large bags is that I end up spending way too much time looking for things. I have my theory why women love large bags.:I think they are our grown up security blankets.


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