Totes Magotes … for the love of tote bags

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been one for coveting fancy labels or collecting the latest designer handbag … I suppose my personal style has never tended in those directions. I do however like to be as eco-friendly as possible when I shop, and that means forgoing plastic bags whenever I can, and trying to remember to take along my own reusable shoppers.

While I’m not fussy about branding, I am very particular about the look of the bags I use, and the same goes for the eco-shoppers I own. While I seem to have collected quite a number of them, I’m not all that in love with the ‘green bags’ available at the local supermarket. Instead I’ve been using ‘Stuffit‘ eco bags which are lightweight, strong, and fold up into a convenient pocket size. They’ve been great for doing the weekly grocery shop, as they hold an incredible amount of goodies. But when it came to tracking down the right reusable bag for other kinds of shopping, I wasn’t able to find exactly what I wanted … that is, until I realised that my growing collection of tote bags would be just the thing.

tote bags by fieldguided

After all, there’s much to love about a tote – they’re sturdy, often uniquely designed, and seem magically capable of carrying all of life’s little (and not so little) essentials. Apart from that, cotton or canvas tote bags just feel nice against the skin … they seem a little more ‘grounded’, and ‘earthier’ than other eco-bag alternatives.

They also offer a quieter way to shop, making a pleasant change from the noise created by the rustling of plastic bags or the crinkling of paper packages. One of my more fanciful dreams in fact, is to live in a world where shopping is a much calmer and more peaceful activity … perhaps the catalyst needed for this imagined future to become reality, is for us all to show our love for the humble tote.

Well … whatever the future may or may not hold, one thing is certain – I’ll be proudly striding into it with a tote slung over my shoulder. Who’s with me?


PS. These lovely tote bags are from the beautiful dreamy world of fieldguided. SoΒ if you find yourself sadly lacking in the tote department, you should stop by their store.

PPS. What do you think of us trying to bring back the saying ‘totes magotes’? I’m rather a fan of the way it rolls off the tongue, but I’m not sure whether it’s been gone long enough to even bring back. Is this even a globally recognised saying? (if it’s not, so that you know what I’m talking about – ‘totes magotes’ means ‘totally’ or ‘of course’ depending on how it’s used).


  1. Erika Lee Sears

    I love a tote.. I can never have enough.


    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Erika – Ah good, it seems I’m in excellent company with my growing tote bag obsession! πŸ™‚
      I think I may soon feel the need to add some more to my collection …

  2. Galit

    I’m loving totes bags and I think I own some dozen of them in different materials and shapes.
    I’ve recently discover Green Bag Lady and her amazing project to change the world into a greener place, one fabric bag at a time. It’s a wonderful idea and she sent me a super cute bag which I just love! Check out her site!

    As for totes magotes, well… don’t know, I smiled when I saw the post title but for me it’s hard to use it as an expression. I love bringing back old phrases and words though!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Galit – Tote bags are wonderful, and now I feel like I’ve been missing out on them for most of my life! πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for telling me about the ‘Green Bag Lady’ … that’s an amazing project, and what a wonderful way to transform the world. Not to mention, her bags are super cute! πŸ™‚

      I think I’ve only ever used ‘totes magotes’ when I’m joking around, I don’t think I’ve ever used it as a serious expression, but it seemed to suit this post! πŸ™‚

  3. Lucent Imagery

    I have a gorgeous reusable bag from Japan that my mother-in-law bought for me. People always comment on how nice it is. I use it for everything – carrying fresh food at the markets, flowers, camera equipment, picnic stuff. And when it’s dirty, I can just throw it in the machine to wash. Awesome! Haven’t hear Totes Magotes in years! Start a movement girl!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – The bag you have from Japan sounds wonderful … I love a bag that can attract comments from lovely people! There’s something wonderful about those ‘go everywhere’, ‘carry everything’ bags … it’s amazing how much you can fit in! πŸ™‚

      And I completely agree on the convenience of throwing them in the wash when they’re dirty!
      Haha, we’ll have to see how I go in bringing ‘totes magotes’ back in fashion … I suppose time will tell! πŸ˜‰

  4. gracia

    Huge fan of the tote bag I am too. Just so darn practical and swingable.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gracia – Oh yes, that’s another excellent point … totes do have excellent ‘swingability’! πŸ˜‰

  5. Rol

    Considering the post I just wrote, I especially like the black one.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Rol – Oh excellent, I love it when we can see synchronicity in action. Here’s to the thunder! πŸ™‚

  6. Mel

    Oh, I love totes πŸ™‚ I’ve even made a couple – and I’m not a natural stitcher!!

    As for ‘totes magotes’, this is the first time I’ve ever heard it…. Either it never made it to the UK, or it just passed me by individually!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Mel – Totes are fantastic! How wonderful that you’ve given making them a go too … that’s something I’d really like to try too! πŸ™‚

      Maybe there are just pockets of ‘totes magotes’ users around the world? … I’m not even all that sure it’s widely known or used in Australia.

  7. Valerie

    I had no idea what totes magotes meant! Thanks for enlightening me. I like the way it sounds too…

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Valerie – Well at least I’ve managed to bring a little ‘totes magotes’ sunshine to your world! πŸ˜‰
      It has a pleasingly comical sound to it, don’t you think? πŸ˜‰

  8. danica

    i have a serious tote problem – so much so that i decided recently that i could claim that i am a tote collector. i actually have that very same “we’d seen in each other in a dream” fieldguided tote and want to get more. i love how you have focused on both their eco-friendliness and their beautiful tactility, tracey.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Danica – Well that’s a nice life achievement, ‘tote collector’ definitely has a certain ring to it! πŸ™‚

      The fieldguided totes are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l … I could definitely see myself building up a collection just filled with those!
      There is much to appreciate in the wonderful world of totes … I’m glad to share this lovely obsession with you!! πŸ™‚

      PS. Thanks for your visit and your kind comment.

  9. Krystal/Village

    I have never heard the term “totes magotes” but it makes me laugh so I think I’ll start saying it!! Those totes are really cool though, I like them lots!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – Totes magotes is definitely the kind of saying to make you laugh … it just sounds funny, and I always use it when I’m joking around. I saw it defined somewhere as it being used in a way to make one seem ‘awkwardly cool’ … haha, I kind of like that too! πŸ˜‰

      Let’s spread this tote love all around the world! πŸ™‚

  10. Signe

    Got to love tote bags! I use them all summer long!
    And what a pretty blog you’ve got here, glad you stopped by me so I had a chance to find it!
    The design is just precious, did you make the drawings yourself?

    Happy Easter πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Signe – Tote bags are great for every day use … and there is definitely something particularly fun and summery about them! πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much for your kind comments on my blog. While the content is all mine, I commissioned the lovely artist ‘Tabitha Emma’ to redesign the blog and produce the beautiful illustrations. Her work has created a virtual world which looks and feels like home to me. πŸ™‚
      Happy Easter to you too!

  11. Gabrielle Bryden

    I’ve never heard that phrase before – haha! I love totes but often forget to take them with me – must have my brain rebooted one of these days πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Oh I know what you mean about forgetting to take totes with you … sometimes my mind would forget itself if given half the chance. I have to keep reminding myself to take them with me when I go shopping … I like to think it’s just the sign of a busy and full life, rather than a forgetful mind! πŸ˜‰

  12. hila

    I have waaay too many totes, and I love Anabela’s totes, they’re so pretty and simple.

    p.s. cute phrase πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – I seem to be behind everyone on the tote collecting front … so I have some lost time to make up for! πŸ˜‰
      Anabela has produced some gorgeous totes, I really should stop visiting her store and putting myself back in the path of temptation! (but I just can’t resist). πŸ™‚

  13. previously owned

    Loving your new totes! I have the “dream” one too! They’re very sturdy no? I was surprised! haha

    ps: I can’t stop staring at your blog! haha It’s so beautiful!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Fi – Thanks! I adore these totes too … they are beautifully made and yes, very sturdy!! I can’t believe how much of my stuff I can fit inside! (it’s wonderful) πŸ™‚

      PS. Thanks so much for your sweet words about my blog, you are such a sweetheart for saying so. With flattery like that, you’re welcome to visit here any time you like! πŸ˜€

  14. bobbi

    I love tote bags and not only to go grocery shopping. I am making mine from old t-shirt, they’re fun and easy to make and you can use them for so many things. I miss some drawers so I use my recycled tote bags to put away things in my closet, like sport socks, or the sweatpants I wear to work in the garden.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Bobbi – I love that you make your own tote bags from old t-shirts … that’s an awesome idea!!
      I also absolutely love, love, love what you use them for – I know I could certainly do with some better organisation with my clothing, especially sports gear and my ‘around the house’ stuff.

      You, my dear, are an absolute genius!! πŸ˜€

  15. Libby, Vintage Aplomb

    Hahaha…I’m all for bringing back totes magotes!! Makes me think of I Love You Man! Fieldguided totes are so cool, but I still think I’m more of a purse girl. There’s just something about all of my stuff being jumbled about in one big bag with no pockets that bothers me a bit.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Libby – Excellent! I’m very happy with all the support for ‘totes magotes’ … and I think you’re right, it was featured in ‘I Love You Man’ …

      Fieldguided make the most beautiful totes, but I also understand your position as more of a purse girl … I think totes work really well for certain occasions, but as my main bag of choice, I still go for the traditional shoulder purse too. (I like a bit of organisation in there too).

  16. Tammy

    Tote Bag has been Everybody Favorite when it summer!!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Tammy – They’re definitely great bags for when the summer sun shines! πŸ™‚

  17. Kimberley

    WOW! I love these! I want to be stylish and have a cool tote! I’d be totes trendy!! πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kimberley – Glad you like them! Come join the tote toting crowd (it’s a fabulous place to be)!! Haha! πŸ˜‰

  18. Sonia

    Always trying to be environmentally concious, and I think these totes are alot more stylish than the other mass produced eco numbers. I’m now doing all my fruit/veg shop at the markets and use my lovely markets trolley with pride.
    I like a little thought provoking quote or words on a tote. Better than Woolworths or Coles, that’s for sure!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sonia – I think so many of us try to do our best with being environmental aware, but some of those ‘green bags’ leave a lot to be desired in the style department. It takes a while to find something that suits the practical purpose and also looks good. Sounds like you’ve found the perfect thing for you! πŸ™‚

  19. Narnie

    I designed a poetry one with ‘carried home with me, in my bag for life, predictably frayed at the ages.’ But to be honest I use my string bag the most because it just expands and expands to hold at least three normal bags worth and it’s like a magical tardis where it still doesn’t seem too heavy. Or maybe I’m dotty πŸ™‚ Sorry I’ve been away so long – life is hectic here at home. x

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kiersty – Oh I love the poetry tote you designed … that sounds beautiful.
      String bags are ever so practical creations … they just keep growing and growing … I have no idea how they’re able to hold so much stuff.

      No need to apologise for being away … while I do miss seeing you, I know just how busy life can get. I hope things have settled down a bit for you by now.


  20. le @thirdontheright

    love your sentiment about calm shopping …. I can totally see it … I love shopping as much as the next chickadee … but if I ruled the world – nice benevolent (sp?) dictatorship of course …. I would a) only have shops open Thur to Saturday 12noon to 8pm so we could all have lie ins and go to the park first up for brunch b) have valet parking for all c) no malls only strip shops – shops in a row … not strip shops per sec d) have assistants who can really assit – not some disinterested vacant 15 year old e) and in closing all shopers get a bunch of flowers to take home – a gift requiring no purhcase what so ever πŸ™‚ le xox

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Le – Calm shopping is a state I’d like to one day achieve … but I’m just not sure how likely that will be. Perhaps that’s why I find online shopping so appealing? It’s so quiet and peaceful, and I can browse about the place as I choose.

      I love the thoughts you have on what you’d do to change shopping if you were a world leader. I love the idea of a guilt-free sleep in, valet parking AND shops in a row, not malls … that sounds like heaven. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a shop assistant who would actually be able to assist?? It’s been far too long since that happened … oh and a bunch of flowers for everyone!?!?! Could I please be your second-in-charge and we can make this happen? πŸ™‚

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