Looking for your next go-to tote bag this summer? We round up the best pieces from small independent British brands.
Scenic walks, park picnics and last-minute trips to soak up the sun in a pub garden – whenever we’re rushing out the door all we want is a bag that A, looks great and B, is roomy, yet lightweight enough to carry our everyday essentials. So time and time again we reach for one piece in particular when the weather warms up: our beloved totes.
It’s a universal fact that you can never have too many totes, because one day you might be in a ‘I’m here to make a statement this sunny afternoon’ mood and the next you’re feeling ‘I’m going to keep things minimalist’. Plus, after all, variety is the spice of life.
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Now, what if we told you there were stylish options that just so happen to support small British brands? Introducing The Drop by Stylist – our ecommerce marketplace to shop over 350 brands that covers beauty, fashion, homeware and everything in between, including an impressive tote collection, of course.
So, to get you prepped and ready for the next time you’re headed into the office or going for a long summer walk, we’ve hand-picked 13 summer-appropriate options to get started with.
Scroll down to find the tote bag that will become the object of all your affection…
Lolly & Kiks African Wax Print Tote Bag
Whether it’s your beach or lido essentials or lugging your laptop into the office in this brave new hybrid working world, Lolly & Kiks’ African wax print tote bags are just the ticket. Made from 100% cotton in a huge array of patterns, you can choose to have your tote lined with a water-resistant nylon and add a pocket for extra storage space.
Shop Lolly & Kiks African Wax Print Tote Bag at The Drop, £17
Here and Now Home Gingham Frill Tote Bag
If there’s one thing we never tire of, it’s a good tote bag. And when it’s reminiscent of one of our favourite homeware items – the frill-edged cushion – and features a classic gingham print in three colours, we’re even happier. So no wonder we fell in love with Here + Now’s tote bag.
Handmade from high quality polycotton fabric, its gingham print is reminiscent of our favourite summer dresses, but with an artistic flare thanks to the oversized frilled hem that adds a dose of cottagecore to our on-the-go lifestyle. All that’s left to do is choose your colour: sweet lilac, pastel lemon or classic black and white.
Shop Here and Now Home Gingham Frill Tote Bag at The Drop, £12.50
Flo London Cotton Statement Print Beach Bag
Beach and park days are naturally joyous events, with all that basking in the sun (slathered in SPF50, of course) and getting lost in a good read. And if your tattered, salt water-stained beach bag needs an upgrade, these roomy colourful styles from Flo London are just the ticket, especially with this special price exclusive to The Drop.
Handmade from 100% cotton in Ghana using traditional wax prints, your hardest decision will be choosing from the seven stand-out patterns – our favourites include the orange-tinged Harriet, the Daphne in a vibrant violet, aquamarine and green, and the greeny-pink Iris.
Shop Flo London Cotton Statement Print Beach Bag at The Drop, £30
Sun and Day Bamboo Hessian Tote Bag
Just like that pair of trusty white trainers that go with any and all summer looks, the tote bag is an everyday fashion staple. Looking for one that isn’t as big as you are? Sun and Day’s bamboo and hessian bag is perfectly sized for those days when you don’t need to carry the kitchen sink with you.
With bamboo handles reminiscent of Gucci’s iconic Diana bag – frequently used by the Princess herself (as well as Sienna Miller) – this is a tote that fits all of your essentials: lip balm, wallet, phone and water bottle included. Whenever you’re running errands or going into the office, this is the practical, stylish companion you’ll want at hand.
Shop Sun and Day Bamboo Hessian Tote Bag at The Drop, £22
The Mad Hatter of Durham Personalised Shopping Totes
Our present-buying antennas shot up when we first spotted these leather-strapped tote bags – with a huge array of personalisation options, they’re brilliant for birthday gifts, hen dos, day trips, overnight staycations and afternoons whiled away in the park.
Also available in black or denim, we have to admit it’s the natural jute option that’s our favourite, thanks to it reminding us of Loewe’s popular woven bags. “Channel the effortless ease of the fashion set’s favourite Loewe holdall but at a fraction of the price,” says Stylist’s digital fashion writer Naomi May. “It’s the perfect roomy vessel for not only all your errands but also a picnic blanket, chilled bottle of rose and a good book.”
You can have up to 20 characters printed on one side, in a choice of classic or scripted fonts and four colours – gold, rose gold, black or white. Names, initials, slogans… the options are endless.
Shop The Mad Hatter of Durham Personalised Shopping Totes at The Drop, £28.99
Kim & Tonic Just Quietly Smashing It Tote Bag
Occasionally, we come across a saying that resonates so much, we need it in our lives all the time, decorating whatever we can find. Already featured on one of The Drop’s bestselling T-shirts, lifestyle label Kim & Tonic’s ‘Just Quietly Smashing It’ slogan is now available on a tote bag so you can shout your achievements to the world even louder.
Available in three contrasting colour combinations, it’s the perfect way to show someone in your life that you see their hustle, or shine light on your own success. Either way, when you’re in need of motivation on the commute to work, grab this tote and start channelling that main character energy.
Shop Kim & Tonic Just Quietly Smashing It Tote Bag at The Drop, £10.50
Lucy Loves This Feminist Tote Bag
Feminism’s for life, not just for International Women’s Day – and this tote will help you promote the cause all year round. Designed by the female-led graphic design brand Lucy Loves This, the sturdy canvas monochrome bag is equal parts stylish and strident.
The ‘F’ design appears simple on first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll see rousing words by women such as Gloria Steinem, Frida Kahlo and Beyoncé, plus illustrations of Florence Nightingale and Virginia Woolf, and names of other brilliant women past and present who have changed things for the better.
Shop Lucy Loves This Feminist Tote Bag at The Drop, £14
Kiss Me At The Disco Personalised Zebra Print Tote Bag
As classic-yet-standout prints go, zebra is up there – and these sturdy, personalised tote bags wear it well. Made from 100% handpainted cotton at Kiss Me At The Disco’s Swansea HQ, there’s plenty of room to fit everything from a quick dash to the shops, your gym kit or laptop for those in-office days.
Fast-forward to summer and there’s plenty of room for picnic or beach essentials, thanks to the square size. It’s also available in classic monochrome, on-trend pastel mint or eye-catching pink.
Shop Kiss Me At The Disco Personalised Zebra Print Tote Bag at The Drop, £35
Stitch With Skye Embroider Your Own Tote Bag
Yes, you’ve probably got 162 tote bags already (roughly). But have you ever embroidered your own? Enter Stitch With Skye’s kits – an ideal no-screen pastime if you’re close to completing Netflix.
Choose from six delicate designs, including a sunflower, a fern and a rather nice cat in a flower crown. Each kit includes a roomy 100% cotton tote with the pattern printed on, allowing you to embroider over the top – plus an embroidery hoop, threads, a needle, extra practice fabric and easy-to-follow instructions (with links to video tutorials, if that’s your kind of thing).
Shop Stitch With Skye Embroider Your Own Tote Bag at The Drop, £22.99
Flower Love Child Zodiac Tote
Whether it’s you who can’t help uttering ‘Thank god Taurus season is here’ every year or your friend who blames everything on being a Scorpio, Flower Love Child’s zodiac tote bags are the ideal accessory for astrology fans.
Made from natural heavyweight canvas, they’re large enough for every summer essential – thanks to the rectangular base, you can comfortably fit a shoebox inside with room to spare – while the modern typographical designs differ slightly for each zodiac sign.
Shop Flower Love Child Zodiac Tote at The Drop, £15.99
Lolly & Kiks Extra Large African Wax Print Cotton Tote Bag
If the return of normality means your small crossbody can no longer hold its own as your do-it-all daily handbag, say hello to Lolly & Kiks’ extra-large tote – available with 25% off on The Drop.
Inspired by her Nigerian heritage, founder Xandra handmakes every bag at her London home using bold Ankara wax print fabric. With two strap options – one for your shoulder and one to carry in your hand – it’s ideal for days when your agenda might just require the kitchen sink.
Shop Lolly & Kiks Extra Large African Wax Print Cotton Tote Bag at The Drop, £28
Undone Stitch Personalised Beach Bag
“Make every day feel like a holiday with this made-to-order personalised tote bag,” says Stylist’s beauty and fashion features director Billie Bhatia. “This will look just as good at the supermarket or in the park as it will to the beach.”
With its nautical accents – we see you, striped cotton canvas and sturdy rope handles – it’s the perfect practical-meets-stylish crossover that your weekend wardrobe has been waiting for.
Available in either blue or pink stripes, you can choose up to three embroidered initials that are available in eight different colour combinations.
Shop Undone Stitch Personalised Beach Bag at The Drop, £38
Rock On Ruby Personalised Initial Gingham Tote Bag
If there’s one print that gets us excited for spring, it’s gingham. Gingham dresses. Gingham tablecloths. Gingham scrunchies. We want it all, everywhere, all the time. So, it’s only natural that our bags also get the checked treatment. Happily, Manchester-based lifestyle label Rock On Ruby brings us a tote that doesn’t just embody one sunshine-ready trend, but two – thanks to its ditsy floral lining.
It’s spacious enough for picnic essentials and you can make it your own by personalising with your initial (or if you’re gifting, that of your friend/family/colleague) in contrasting blue and gold thread. Gingham, florals and monogramming? Sign. Us. Up.
Stock update: more red gingham bags are coming at the end of April.
Shop Rock On Ruby Personalised Initial Gingham Tote Bag at The Drop, £18
Images: courtesy of brands
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