Staying Tote-ally Chic

(Image above: taken from

I love the fact that carrying an eco-friendly, super practical, multi-purpose tote is a chic trend that’s sticking around! I’m sure you all remember when Whole Foods made the decision to stop distributing plastic bags, and designer Anya Hindmarch launched the ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’ tote to promote  green efforts. Celebrities like Keira Knightley, Ivanka Trump, and Lily Cole were spotted with the reusable totes hanging from their arms, and hundreds of other retailers and designers jumped on the tote bag bandwagon. That was the summer of 2007. Lucky for the Earth, we’re now more conscious of our plastic bag usage, and many of us have made the switch to cloth. If you’re like me, you’ve got canvas totes stuffed under your office desk, in your purse, and your glove box,  just in case you need them. With so many of us toting around this green accessory, how can we keep the look fresh and fashionable?

Keep reading, and find out how to have the hippest tote at the market…!

Ways to Rock Your Tote:

1. Have someone famous design it for you. The best way for you to have the most unique tote would be to get it designed by a celebrity like, oh, let’s say Chevy Chase. Or Dan Akroyd. Or maybe Martha Stewart. Impossible? Nope. From now until April 29, 2009, you will be able to bid on celebrity-designed tote bags in support of the Earth Day Network! You’ll be supporting a great charity, and your friends will be green with envy when you tell them Ed Begley Jr. made your grocery bag.

2. Have an adorable 5th grader design it for you. Our ModCloth designer and ‘We Can’t Stop Talking About…‘ blog writer Natalie teaches an after-school program run by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Every week, she meets with these awesome kids, and they work on art projects using recycled materials. Their latest creation made use of those pesky plastic shopping bags. With a hot iron and some velcro, they fused the plastic together and made their own reusable, colorful, reinvented purses! I decided I want to do this project, too, but I’m making mine a tote bag. Interested in how they did it? Find out Wednesday, March 25th, in Liz’s DIY post!

3. Design it yourself.  This option guarantees one-of-a-kind style, and the possibilities are endless. All you need is a basic tote bag and an idea. You could stick with the ‘I’m Not a Plastic Bag’  idea and make a statement on your tote, be it eco-informative, funny or weird. Maybe your favorite song lyric, your favorite line of poetry, or your personal motto will look good on your bag. Heat up your hot glue guns and get your puff paint, iron-on decals and transfers, googly eyes, buttons, and scraps of fabric ready. I’m a fan of vintage pins, so I cover my totes with crazy fashion jewelry. Do you sew? What about stitching a design on your tote? Thanks to Bust Magazine for providing this amazing iconic ‘thank you’ pattern! (The complete directions for that ‘thank you’ tote can be found in the Bust Feb/March ’09 issue.) Or find some fabulous vintage fabric, and make your own tote from scratch. Then, post the image here and show us!

4. Leave it up to us. Who says you have to put in tons of time and money staying tote-bag chic? ModCloth has a great selection to keep you trendy and Earth-friendly. Check out the reversible Rocking in a Treetop Tote, the Sustainable Bouquet Baggu Tote which folds up to fit in its handy little pouch, and the sweet-as-chocolate Mocha Cupcake Tote.


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  1. Avatar
    Bucca 03/23/2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Hi there love your site and I would be very happy if you would add me to your blogroll!

  2. Avatar
    Ben 03/24/2009 at 11:25 am #

    that plastic bag tote is an awesome idea… can’t wait to see how to do it!

  3. Avatar
    Lucy G. 03/25/2009 at 2:45 pm #

    I have that tote. I LOVE IT, but the handles fell apart after a few months. I even tried tying them back together and supergluing it. Still fell apart. Just FYI. I’m sad I cannot use it anymore.

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