I was pleased but not surprised to find that it has happened again, as I read in the New York Times last week that the latest must-have accessory is a canvas tote bag. "The tote might be the ideal carryall for these post-luxury recessionary times. The tote’s status is stealth. It telegraphs not money but access, ethics, culture — encapsulating the idea ... that happiness grows more through experiences than purchases."
I have been there for a long time. Shortly after I retired, a decade ago, I made a life-changing decision, which was to stop carrying a purse. I had shlepped too many tons of irrelevant crap through too many airports in my business career, and when I realized I didn't have to do that any more, life got better. I downsized to a little card case that I carry in my pants pocket, just big enough for a license, a credit card and a couple of bills.
If I was carrying other things -- date book, handwork, kleenex, comb, checkbook, camera -- I would put them into a canvas bag. I took to maintaining many different canvas bags, which lived in different places and were always ready to go, such as one with crocheting to take to meetings; one with crayons, books and kid stuff to go with me to my volunteer work; one that accumulates things to take to grab bag at my fiber art group. Sometimes I carry two bags at once. My collection of canvas bags grew larger and more exotic over the years, until I suddenly find myself in the flush of fashion.
Of course the New York fashionistas seem to be carrying slightly different tote bags than I do. The article cites bags from big-name designers' shows and Halloween parties, fancy restaurants, international artists and celebrity charities. Mine are a bit more eclectic but I like to think much more exclusive than those mentioned in the Times.
Stains attest to the fact that I actually use these bags -- only working status symbols in this household.