Whether it's the style blogosphere or your friend's cousin's sister-in-law over posting on Instagram, there always seems to be a lot of talk about bags. The It Bag of the Moment. Or the hot shapes and colors coming down the runway for next season. But for those of us who simply cannot leave the house without a ton of stuff (as in sunnies, smart phone and backup charger, makeup bag, Kleenex, pens or pencils, and a hair brush for starters) and who want something East Coast classic and durable, especially for Spring and Summer in the OS, there's the LL Bean tote.
What started as a way to carry ice (dating back to the 1940's) and later became a staple of the New England prep look (spotted like crazy on Nantucket and the Vineyard, at Chatham Bars, and of course, in Newport) gradually morphed into a downtime must have carryall for some legit icons of American style, from 90's high profile fashion plates like the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, indie movie darling Chloe Sevigny, and designer turned sometime RISD professor in residence Todd Oldham to actress and wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow, movie screen sweetheart Reese Witherspoon, and more recently, RHONY's Tinsley Mortimer.
Bean also has an updated version of their signature boat tote with a braided rope handle that frankly, I'm obsessed with.
Go Ahead, Make It Your Own
So, both GP and Reese have been known to have theirs monogramed with their initials and that's swell. But you my friend can take things to a whole other level with these awesome alternatives for the snarky sophisticate in all of us, that I stumbled upon after falling down many a rabbit hole over on Pinterest:
In Search Of Vintage Bean
Stalk EBay, Etsy, thrift stores, and your mom's or grandmom's cedar closets for LL Bean leather totes like these from the 60's and 70's:
Also, spotted on social media standouts like Jenny Walton...I guarantee if you're lucky enough to find one in mint condition, you'll have ppl stopping you on the street (or at the dry cleaner's), complimenting your taste and the bag and asking where on Earth you found it.
*Revised and updated from the original post that appeared on the blog in Spring 2015.
**Photo Credit: Top Image of handbags used with permission; Image of Reese from Just Jared/FlameFlynet Pictures; Image of Gwyneth and Chris Martin courtesy of Pop Sugar/INFphoto.com; Additional bag images also from Pinterest