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About TotesTotes have a long history. In fact, people used animal skin tote bags throughout history to carry a variety of items. The word "tote" itself (meaning "to carry") can be traced back to the 17th century, but it was not used to describe bags until the 1900's.
Totes as we know them today, however, originated in the 1940's when canvas totes for boaters first hit the market. Since then they have evolved into practical bags for shopping, school, and everyday as well as fashionable accessories thanks to innovative designers like Kate Spade.
The basic tote or tote bag is a medium to large square-shaped bag with a large open compartment and double handles. Traditionally, totes have an open top, but more brands are offering styles with zip tops and magnetic closures. The greatest advantage of carrying a tote over another style of bag is in its versatility. The large interior allows you to carry a variety of items from books to beachwear and work essentials to everyday necessities. That's why you'll see these carry-alls everywhere from the boardroom to the boardwalk to the beach.
There are many types of tote bags beyond your basic all purpose tote (often referred to as "shoppers"). Laptop totes include a padded laptop compartment and are popular among businesswomen who want a laptop bag with a little style. Travel totes are available in over-the-shoulder and rolling styles and are designed to be used as a companion to luggage, often carried on board airplanes as a personal item or in place of carry-on luggage. Handbag totes are meant to be used as everyday purses and offer a more fashionable take on the traditional silhouette. Finally, there are totes for specific purposes like beach totes and college totes designed with features to hold activity-specific items like books or towels.