Tote Bags - Personalized Tote Bags - Custom Tote Bags - Canvas Tote Bags


Tote bags have become one of the most used bags in America. They can be utilized for a multitude of purposes, which explains why they have become so popular. These bags are truly an American Classic. For those looking for convenience and ease of carrying things, the tote bag is often the best suited for the job.

The word tote started to be used back in the mid 1700’s and literally means to carry, with technically unknown origins; originally attested in Virginia. The Oxford English Dictionary questions the popular theory of its origin in a West African language (cf. Kikongo tota "pick up" and Kimbundu tuta "carry, load," linked to Swahili tuta "pile up, carry").

Some people are surprised to find out that these types of bags have been used for centuries, though the name 'Tote bag' wasn't recorded until 1900. Today, tote bags come in many shapes & sizes, with the classic tote being a simple, large open top bag with one handle on each side of the bag usually.

The interior area of a tote bag is left open, thus allowing the user to insert and take out items as they please. Despite the ease of object transference, zippers and other ways of closing the opening of these bags were introduced in order to protect the contents of the bag. At first, tote bags were made with thick, heavy fabric. Today, they are often made from canvas, nylon and jute fibers. The In Thailand, Malaysia, and other eastern parts of the world, tote bags made from jute are more popular than other fabrics. Of course, the people of these countries did not refer to them as tote bags or anything of that sort at the time.

LL Bean introduced their signature Boat Bag in 1944 which started the tote bag trend, made of basic canvas. As you could guess by the name, it was designed primarily for use on boats, however, the simplicity and sturdiness of this bag caught the attention of many other groups of people, particularly the female population. Soon, the design of the tote bag spread into the luggage market. Since tote bags allowed carrying luggage to be so easy, people found it more convenient to use them instead of other forms of previously popular bag styles. To make the design even better, leather tote bags were introduced which were more stylish and sturdy than the average tote bag.

In the 1950s, tote bags became part of the American culture, and women could be seen all over. All over, women were using them as handbags because of the function and practicality which was considered at the time to be more valuable than style by women during this time period.

Tote bags became part of the fashion scene in the 1960’s when design pioneer, Bonnie Cashin released her own line of Cashin Carry Tote Bags onto the market. Bonnie made them more sophisticated by decorating them in a way that was stylish, yet still practical. Kate Spade, in the 90’s solidified the transition of the luggage tote into a fashionable travel bag. Ever since, tote bags have been part of the fashion world as we know it today.

In the late 1940s, tote bags were often used by newsboys during their daily tasks, so much so that people started referring to them as ‘newsboy bags’. The student population of America quickly picked up on this trend, using them for books and other various functions and is still being used in similar fashions today. It may not be very apparent today, but lots of messenger bags and sport equipment bags have a similar design to that of a tote bag. A number of bag and purse designs would not exist today if it weren't for the tote bag.

At first, tote bags were made only from canvas material, and then later were made of leather. Today, tote bags are being made from several types of fabrics. In some countries, tote bags were and are made from animal skin. These types of tote bags are frowned upon in many cultures, along with those made from fur, which has caused their popularity to decrease. In some countries these types of bags are banned and people who distribute or use them may be fined for doing so.

Tote bags are widely popular today, and as most trendy items, they began with practical usage, eventually gaining popularity as more and more people found them to be handy. The tote bag has contributed to countless bag designs since its birth. It is hard to believe that the tote bag's influence will end here.
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