Home Fashion L.L.Bean’s Ludicrously Capacious Tote Bag Is Only $25 Right Now

L.L.Bean’s Ludicrously Capacious Tote Bag Is Only $25 Right Now

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L.L.Bean’s Ludicrously Capacious Tote Bag Is Only $25 Right Now

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The handbag market is crowded with icons, each more saucily named than the last: there’s the Birkin and the Jackie, the Jodie and the Baguette—and that’s just the tip of the croc-embossed iceberg. But the most fun bag of the bunch isn’t the brainchild of a Parisian design team or the byproduct of a Tuscan factory: it comes straight from Maine, courtesy of the brand that Leon Leonwood Bean (good luck naming a handbag after that) founded in 1912. 

We’re talking, of course, about the L.L.Bean Boat and Tote, a cavernous carry-all designed nearly 80 years ago as an ice carrier, and reintroduced to the Bean’s catalog in the ’60s. In the time since, the sturdy canvas tote has become shorthand for a certain type of yuppie striver (or anybody who just wants to dress like one), and an accidental icon in its own right.

L.L.Bean zip top Boat and Tote bag

L.L.Bean zip top Boat and Tote bag

Despite its popularity with the country club set, the humble Boat and Tote hasn’t changed much since its debut. It’s still made in Maine from heavy-duty, 24-ounce cotton L.L.Bean claims can hold up to 500 pounds; it’s still the perfect canvas—quite literally—to slap a cutesy monogram onto; and it’s still putting plenty of its designer counterparts to shame in the quality department. 

Unlike, say, Patagonia’s slick Black Hole bags, the Boat and Tote can’t be hosed off after a long day at the beach—and that’s a huge part of its appeal. Sure, you can toss it in the wash and clean it up no problem, but like a good pair of blue jeans or dad’s mint BMW coupe, it’s even better battered and banged up. The more patina it accrues, the more likely it is to become a future grail for vintage hunters 20 years from now. In 2023, the Boat & Tote comes in more iterations than ever; you can buy one with a handy zip top or extra insulation, welcome tweaks that make it equally suited to hauling your computer from work to Trader Joe’s or a pack of JuneShines from the bodega to the park. 

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote bag

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote bag

At around $45, the Boat and Tote costs a year’s-worth of prep school tuition less than a Birkin. But thanks to Nordstrom’s spring sale, you can nab one for 45% off, lowering the price to a measly $25. The Bean rarely doles out discounts on its hero products ($45 for a heavy-duty, USA-made bag is already a steal) so we don’t expect any of them to stick around long, especially once your yuppie buddies catch wind of the deal. What’s that old saying about the rich staying rich by shopping like they’re broke?

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