Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Summer Icon

Carolyn Bessett Kennedy - 1997

 
What bag has been iconic for eight decades, is worn by prepsters and celebrities, and costs $30? The answer is the L.L.Bean canvas tote. I was never a backpack girl and started wearing L.L.Bean totes in middle school. I always loved monograms and would spend hours designing my bag, choosing the trim color, monogram style, and monogram color. 

When I was in college, my family flew out to Bryn Mawr and we did a New England road trip with the highlight being lots of lobster and a trip to the L.L.Bean store in Freeport, Maine. I used their totes during prep school, college and law school. When I graduated from law school, I bought a gorgeous Coach leather tote in the same style that I had embossed with my monogram in gold foil.

I have continued my love for L.L.Bean totes for decades, using one for every imaginable thing - a diaper bag, a gardening tote, dog toys, laundry, picnicking, tailgating, the farmer's market, wine bottles, errands, kid's toys, travel, boating, wedding gifts, bridesmaid gifts, baby gifts, .......................................... I can't begin to count how many I have purchased for myself and for gifts.

They last forever and start at $25. They can carry 500 pounds! It was ideal for carrying law school text books that weigh a ton. They are virtually indestructible. And the older and more beat up they get, the more coveted. A definite to the manor born vibe. Never throw one out - the more tattered, the better! Some people take new ones and run them over with their car, throw them in the swimming pool, and the like to age them!


via Gear Patrol


via Gear Patrol

via Gear Patrol


Here are my tips. They come in small, medium, large, and extra large. The medium and large are the most popular and useful sizes.

The small is a perfect handbag.

The medium is great for a large handbag, errands, the beach, the farmer's market, your laptop.

The large is great for a picnic, family beach bag, travel as an overnighter, a carry on, etc. You might like the zip top version for travel.

The extra large is enormous - too large to carry IMO. Use one in your home for kid's toys, dog toys, laundry, firewood, blankets, etc. Very chic storage.

The natural canvas with navy trim (they call the navy "Blue") is the iconic color, but all the colors are great. I personally love the navy and have a big set of them. At $25 to $40 a pop, they are tough to beat.

Embroidered monograms are only $8 - I prefer initials and almost always use the Times Bold because I like a big monogram. It has been chic in recent years to use a funny word instead of your name or initials- you can use up to 10 letters. (No swear words are allowed - LOL). 

I tend to get the navy blue trim and do the monogram in matching navy or sometimes in pink or green for a pop of color. Navy on navy is perfect for us blue and white lovers!

The straps come in regular and long - I get the regular as I always carry the bags on my arm, but the long is great for your shoulder.

Here you can see the four sizes and the extra large one on the right shows the zip top version. Clip here to link.


L.L. Bean Boat and Tote


Reese Witherspoon


Chloe Sevigny


Julia Roberts


Gweneth Paltrow


I use mine every day depending on my activities. Today I will be using one in large for the beach with all my paraphernalia for the pups and me.








23 comments:

  1. agreed- I just used the XL zip tote for a weekend trip to london- It was so heavy I ended up dragging it on the ground through two airports - came home and washed it w a splash of bleach +detergent + good as new...have a million sizes too. bestest gift . ( i concur- XL too large for use out and about)
    -linda,ny

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    1. I think the XL would fit a week's worth of clothes. I can fit in it. LOL.

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  2. I have a large one in navy with the navy monogram with the zip top that I use for traveling. I can put my purse in it along with my Ipad, masks, snacks, water bottle, whatever I may need on a flight. The zip top keeps things from falling out. Love it! They do make great gifts.

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  3. Oh my goodness. I still have my LL Bean bag. I remember my first leather coach bag. What craftsmanship. It was a Christmas gift from my husband. Used it for years.

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  4. I used mine to carry law school text books too. Lisa

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    Replies
    1. LOL - I don't miss those days.

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    2. Joy in AlexandriaJune 22, 2022 at 11:07 PM

      Holy cow, ladies. You both must be really strong. I had to get a small rolling briefcase by my 2L year. Somebody should do a study to determine correlation between back/neck/shoulder problems & law school!

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    3. I wouldn't have been caught dead with a rolling briefcase - LOL. And I do not have an ache or pain in my entire body to this day.

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  5. The XL in turquoise (offered only one year I think) embroidered with "SCUBA", carries all my heavy gear and has held up for over a decade since I moved to FL. I have other boat & totes but that one says fun!

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  6. Couldn't agree more! My favorite is a large tote we bought in Freeport that has a golden retriever frolicking at the beach on it. Wish they would bring back some of those cute print bags they used to carry. A trip to the L.L. Bean store was always a highlight when we lived in Maine. Terrific quality.

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  7. I’ve given an LL Bean tote to each of my girlfriends and my mother. I’ve now inherited my mother’s (with her monogram); I’d love to know if it’s possible to add a second monogram below to show that it’s been passed on to the next generation. I’d also like to know the best way to clean them; they can get pretty dirty after a while.

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    1. I would take it to a local monogrammer. To clean, L.L.Bean recommends spot cleaning. You can go rogue and machine wash, but it voids the warranty. I machine wash mine on cold, hand reshape, and air dry and they come out great.

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    2. You machine wash..? Thanks for the tip!

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    3. Machine washing softens the canvas, but I like that.

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  8. Does L.L.Bean offer custom monogramming?

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    1. ????? I devoted an entire paragraph to the subject of monogramming.

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  9. They are truly indestructible. I had my dog's name embroidered locally with his his P.G. Wodehouse inspired name Pongo Twistleton-Twislleton who has sadly passed away. I added my new Jack Russell's name Millie Bush; this is their bag for boarding and contains toys and food. It makes me smile everytime I see the two names. I ordered one once with leopard trim but gave it away; it seemed the opposite of everything L.L. Bean stands for.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, my pups each have their own boat and tote - so cute.

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