What is a tote bag? How to choose a tote bag

Looking for a new bag?

Even if you say bag in one mouth, there are many styles.
Shoulder bags, handbags, camera bags, messenger bags, rucksacks, even sacoches and pouches. You can see various kinds of bags in shops in the city and online shops.

However, there is one style that cannot be overlooked in this plethora of bag options.

That's the tote bag.

Now, instead of saying that every family has one, don't you just have two or three of them?

What is a tote bag? And why are totes preferred by so many people over any other type of bag?

To put it simply, a tote bag is a type of handbag that has a wide opening and two handles .

A tote bag (English: tote bag) is a hand-held bag that usually has two handles and is used for many purposes. "Tote" is American slang for "carry". A kind of handbag. The greatest feature is the functionality that cuts waste.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But this explanation is not enough.

Many people who choose tote bags want something that is both fashionable and practical.
The tote is easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion. But that's not all.

You can't carry your wallet, smartphone, jacket, laptop, novel you're reading, and PET bottles you're drinking in a cute pochette or sacoche.

But does that mean you should ditch fashion and carry your stuff in backpacks and duffel bags?

That's not true.
A tote bag is a stylish bag for busy people like you who don't want to give up on fashion.

But where did the tote bag come from? And how did it become so popular?

The history of the tote bag

The history of the tote bag

Etymology of Thoth

The etymology of tote seems to be unclear, but it is widely believed that it originated in West Africa. In Congo, the word "tota" means "to pick up", and in Swahili "tuta" means "to carry".
But when was it more than just words?

Origin of tote

In 1944, long-established American outdoor brand LLBean announced the famous "Ice Carrier" ( ice bag). Its purpose was to help transport ice from the car to the freezer.

However, the background to the actual popularity was not only the original purpose of carrying ice, but also the versatility of being able to carry various items. LLBean took note of this and increased the variety of colors and designs to dress it up and spread it to the general public as a tote bag.

Sublimated as a fashion item

In the 1960s, the tote bag changed from a practical item to carry to an important fashion item.

The catalyst for this was American designer Bonnie Cashin of the luxury brand Coach.
She designed many stylish leather totes in different colors.

In the 1960s, American college students began using tote bags as college bags.

It was an American college student who first saw tote bags as a fashion item, even though they were just camping gear. They carry a large amount of textbooks and notebooks every day, so they focused on a sturdy and durable tote bag that can hold anything freely. When they started using totes for school, they quickly became a big hit among young people on the East Coast.
Japan was no exception, and it became popular as a standard item for the ivy boom. Nowadays, there are more types of materials, from leather to nylon to Japanese paper, and the designs are sophisticated, and it has become a fashion item.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tote bag as an advertising medium

In the 1980s, tote bags began to be used as a means of advertising.

The pioneer was the historical bookstore "STRAND BOOK STORE" on Broadway in New York.
The logo and address of the bookstore were printed on a plain canvas bag and sold. Many people carried the bag around town, and the logo caught the eye of the public, and its advertising effect attracted attention.

As you all know, this method is still one of the most popular advertising methods today.

But what exactly are popular tote bags made of?
And what is the best material for your usage scene?

what are tote bags made of

A variety of different materials are used to make tote bags.

Its main features are durability and the ability to carry a considerable amount of weight.

Tote bags are often made from cotton or nylon.
These bags can be conveniently folded and stowed away for later use. When would you use this tote?

How about a canvas tote bag or a leather tote bag?

Why not use these types of totes instead of your current purse or handbag?

Eco-conscious people can also use canvas, cotton or nylon tote bags instead of plastic supermarket bags.

A simple canvas tote bag reduces the use of plastic and is very durable, so long-term use greatly reduces the environmental impact.

If you're looking for an eco-friendly bag, how about a canvas tote bag ?

Why choose a tote bag?

Because it gives you more space to carry what you need without compromising on fashion.

But if it's a big deal, you want to choose your own original bag, right?

Totes are surprisingly versatile.
Plus, customizing your tote bag is surprisingly easy.

By making most of the tote bag in the color of your choice, you will love it and carry it around every day.The more you use it, the softer it will become. increase.

How to choose a canvas tote bag

Difference between canvas tote bag and cotton tote bag

Both canvas and cotton tote bags are eco-friendly, suitable for men and women of all ages, stylish and affordable.

You use it instead of an eco bag for groceries, or you can put a novel or magazine you're reading, a water bottle or snacks in it, or use it as a casual carry-on bag.

Both types have a certain degree of heat resistance, durability, and stain resistance compared to tote bags made of leather, non-woven fabric, vinyl, or nylon, so you can use them with confidence.

So what is the difference between canvas and cotton tote bags?

Which one is better?

Cotton is a soft material and you can even throw it in the washing machine. (Of course, the color fading and washing method varies depending on each product.)

In addition, cotton tote bags are thin, loose, and soft, so you can easily carry bulky items.

On the other hand, the durability is not so strong, and it becomes easy to tear as you put heavy objects, put sharp objects in it, and wash it repeatedly.

Canvas tote bags are very durable because they are tightly woven, partly because they were used for the sails of sailing ships.

It can carry heavier loads and sharp objects than cotton.

For example, like the tote bag from Kobo HOSONO , there are some items that can be used for decades if used while being repaired.

It is resistant to rain and dirt, and is much more fashionable, textured, and durable than soft cotton.

It seems that it is not possible to say which one is better in general, but there may be an optimum usage that suits your needs depending on various usage scenes.

tote bag size

Totes come in different sizes.

Depending on the size, there are various people who use it, occasions to use it, and fashion to match.

Let's take a look at the approximate size of the bag as a guide.
Can you help me find the right size for me?

large tote

The large tote bag is about 50cm wide, about 40cm high and 15cm gusset (depth).
You will feel that the real thing is bigger than the size you see in the numbers.

People who want to put all their belongings in one place, people who don't want to worry about whether or not they will fit, people who need a carryall for the rest of their lives, and people who want to carry small camping items all at once will love the large size tote. I'm here.

Tote L
simple tote bag

medium tote

A medium tote bag is usually about 35cm wide, 30cm high and 10-15cm deep .

It's a normal size and a little heavier than a mini tote, giving it the impression of a large handbag.

You can easily bring it with you in any occasion, such as a casual commuting bag, shopping at a department store, or dinner with friends or lovers.

Tote flap N mesh Regular price ¥19,800
Side hook tote Vertical type Regular price ¥15,400

small tote

The small tote bag or mini tote bag is about 25-30 cm wide, 20 cm high, and 5-10 cm deep.

It doesn't take up as much space as your average tote, but it's got the same fashionable look while maintaining a size that's easy to carry.

Horizontal tote Regular price ¥11,000
Tote Mini N Regular price ¥3,300

Choosing the right tote bag size

What size tote bag is right for me?

The Large Large Tote Bag is for those who don't have time to get home and change clothes between work and the gym.

Or, it's hot now, but it might get cold in the evening, so it's for people who want to walk with a light jacket in a tote bag.

Or for those who need to keep their laptop close at hand at all times.

For such people, it would be better to buy a large size tote bag.

The medium size tote bag is suitable for those who want a bag that can be used casually from daytime to evening wear.

In addition to essential accessories, it is suitable for carrying paperback books, tablets, lunch boxes and water bottles.

It has more space than a typical handbag, but it's not too big for a night out.

Small bags and mini totes are for people who like the look of a tote bag but prefer a more manageable size.

It's the perfect bag for your lunch break at work, going to a convenience store, or going out for a cup of tea with your mom friends.

You can carry only what you need, such as your wallet, keys, cell phone, commuter pass holder, handkerchief, and tissue.

Useful uses for tote bags

Need a durable shopping bag?
Looking for the perfect bag for your next picnic or beach outing?
Need a bag to hold all your gym clothes for an evening workout?

A tote bag can fulfill all of these desires.
Its versatility is one of the reasons men and women around the world use totes every day.

Why do you use a tote bag for shopping?
Have you ever ripped a supermarket plastic bag on your way home from your car?
Eggs break, potato chips crumble, and it's frustrating.
Having a durable tote bag in your car is an eco-friendly way to make shopping easier.

If you're going on a picnic or going to the beach, a simple, oversized tote bag is the way to go.

Lunch boxes, water bottles, leisure sheets and frisbees for families and lovers will not fit in the messenger bag.

A large picnic basket can be bulky to carry around and feel depressed by the time you reach your destination.

A tote bag makes a picnic so much easier.

Even a large beach towel will not fit in your clutch bag.
Plus, it's nice to have everything you need in one place, like sunscreen and towels, right?

And if you have a tote bag in a color that is perfect for picnics or the beach, it will make you feel even better.

Looking for a gym bag to carry your workout clothes, water bottle and towel?
So why use a tote bag instead of a sports bag or duffel bag ?

A tote bag is easier to carry and unpack than a regular sports bag or duffel bag, and is fashionable with any outfit.


Fashionable mothers often choose cute, colorful, large-capacity tote bags.

As a so-called " mother's bag ", we put diapers, wet wipes, change of clothes, toys, lotion, hand towels, bandages, and other items that small babies and children need for a day in a tote bag.

A tote bag has the advantage that it is easier to check the contents than a backpack or shoulder type, and it is easier to put in and take out.

It can also be used by teenagers as a backpack to carry school supplies such as books, textbooks, notebooks, pens and tablets.

As you can see, tote bags have many uses.

How to care for your tote bag

You finally got your favorite tote bag. But I don't really know how to care for the tote bag.

Why should you know how to care for your tote bag?

Tote bags are so versatile that most people use them in some way every day. As a result, over time, the tote bag will get damaged considerably.


For cotton bags,
There are a few things you should do before throwing it in the washing machine.

If your bag has accessories such as pins or buttons, it is imperative that you remove them before cleaning.
For bags with colored patterns or designs, be careful not to transfer the color to other materials.
If the cotton bag is colorfast or white, you can wash it by hand or machine. However, be sure to remove all the contents of your pockets and follow the washing instructions.


If the canvas tote bag becomes dirty,
Soak the canvas part in water and lightly wash it off with a brush.
If you don't have anything suitable, you can use an old soft toothbrush instead.

Parts that are made of leather may stain as soon as they are submerged in water. Try to keep it as dry as possible.

Also, avoid using solvents and detergents as much as possible.
It may discolor or damage the fabric.

After washing, avoid direct sunlight and dry in the shade before using.

What should I do if my bag has stains that won't come off?

Some stains do not come off easily even with gentle washing.
Although not recommended, you may be tempted to use detergent.
It is very important to dilute it with cold water and test it on an inconspicuous area of ​​the bag to make sure there is no damage.


It's important to take care of your tote bag the right way. That way, your tote bag will last for decades.

Summary of tote bags

So what is a tote bag?

It's more than just a handbag with a wide opening and two handles.

An eco-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags.

It's a great bag that's big enough to carry everything you need for the day, yet it's also fashionable.

It is a versatile item that can be used for both fashion and convenience stores in the neighborhood.

A tote bag in your favorite color will make you feel better just by holding it.

With the canvas tote bag from Kobo HOSONO, you can personalize the canvas color according to your taste and needs.

And it's perfect for gifts.

So, are you ready to find the perfect canvas tote bag for you?

Back to blog

tote bag collection

Studio HOSONO's original canvas tote bag.
Mobile phones, wallets, small lunch bags for lunch boxes, mini totes like bag-in-bags, large totes perfect for shopping and excursions, hand-held totes, and shoulder totes are popular with both men and women.
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