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Goodbye ‘It’ Bag. Hello Everyday Bag

Six super-sized totes that are stylish and practical, too

By Anna Saunders

I have never owned a leather tote – and in fact, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I owned a handbag at all. Handbags – and especially leather tote bags – always felt like something an older, more grown-up version of me would carry. In my mind, leather totes always belonged to the type of woman who always remembers birthdays, is never without the perfect manicure, and drives a pristinely clean car.

I am not that woman.

But this year I’m tempted by a chic tote – and I’m not the only one.

Would you like some melons with your Marni? PHOTO Sarah Adamson

Marni coated canvas tote, $485

Luxury retailer Matches Fashion recently reported a surge in sales of functional lifestyle bags like totes, while Afterpay’s Biannual Trends report suggests that roomier styles are becoming more popular.

“As a general trend, handbags are getting bigger,” confirms Lucy Wood, who styled this story. “While they have been cute and street style-worthy in the past, now we need more from our bags”

Plenty of room in The Daily Edited's fully customisable canvas tote PHOTO Sarah Adamson
Hanging out with Lee Mathews' stripy summery tote PHOTO Sarah Adamson

The Daily Edited white canvas tote with leather detail, $195; Lee Mathews tote, $199

It’s true; at a time when fewer of us are dressing up and heading into the office, our handbags need to complement our dialled-down lives and laidback aesthetic. They also need to hold different things: hand sanitiser, masks – maybe even groceries.

“As we eliminate plastic bags, we need to get more out of our day-to-day bags. I often find myself wanting to buy something from the supermarket or grocer on a whim, and when I’m without my own shopping bag, my handbag carries the extra load,” says Lucy.

Oroton's chic tote sitting pretty PHOTO Sarah Adamson

Oroton klara large tote, $699

That means that micro-handbags (remember them?) are out, and more practical bags like totes are in. Luckily, there’s a range of totes for every taste and budget. As well as those pictured here, there are stylish jute totes at Worktones ($45) and simple canvas totes at Able2Online ($55) and more structured and luxurious versions at AJE ($237) and David Jones, including Anya Hindmarch’s I Am Not A Designer Bag ($1299), made from 32 recycled plastic bottles.

Lucy points to the 100 per cent recycled Gunes Collective (below) as her personal favourite: “Not only is it good for the day-to-day shopping run but it would be a great beach bag and carry-on travel bag. I love the array of colours it comes in. Hello summer!”

See-through stylishness from Kate Spade PHOTO Sarah Adamson
Gunes Collection bags are going up, up, up PHOTO Sarah Adamson

BY Anna Saunders

Anna is the co-founder of PRIMER. She may (will) buy the Lee Mathews tote.

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