SIGNATURE STYLE : THE TOTE BAG : a large bag used for carrying a number of items 👜

Time to talk “Signature Style” with my buddies Cindy and Kim, and this month we are sharing out thoughts and style tips on bags and my focus is on what I believe, is fast becoming THE new “IT BAG”, the Sustainable Tote ! Whether you like the stylish woven kind, the fabric kind, or even structured leather, there is certainly no shortage of choice out there. And you no longer have to opt for high priced designer versions to find the perfect one. As long as a bag is durable enough to carry the said “number of items” it’s a tote! And we all need a bag like that…

Even Carrie Bradshaw! Rumour has it, her tote of choice relates to the Podcast she now hosts. Time will tell, with HBO SATC remake AJLT airing shortly 😉 And you don’t even have to buy this type, as many companies simply give away canvas (or recycled plastic) bags with their logo on (like Carrie’s) when you purchase. And while reusing these as a “carry all” does have the added eco friendly benefit of being seen as a conscious consumer (ironically perhaps that is a theme the writers of AJLT are promoting 🤔)…. I personally steer away from any free form of advertising and seek a more stylish alternative in which the design is the focus…


I have a large collection of DEED BAGS . These bags are handmade with love by a dear friend. They were designed originally because they are the perfect size to replace that of an average plastic bag. So perfect for a simple trip to the store! But since they have internal pockets for keys, wallet, phone and lippy, they can be so much more! They also happen to fold down to nothing, so easy to slip in a suitcase for travel (if you don’t use one as your carry on 😉) In fact, how you do is up to you…but trust me when I say, they can so easily become a part of your lifestyle, in fact, their motto is SHOP| TRAVEL| LIVE ! which is what they do with me 😊 And since they come in so many lovely patterns, colours and designs there is something for everyone. I think Carrie Bradshaw should have one 😉


Since “tote style” now makes a huge dent in the fashion bag market, I thought i’d share some more that I love that are currently available Worldwide!

The FRENCH FARMERS BASKET is a classic straw tote. I’m sure you all have one! Originally used to carry the produce one would pick up on a provincial market day, they are now so much more than that! And there are so many variations. Usually made in Morocco from palm leaves, they can be bought at relatively inexpensive stores like Etsy with traditional handles, others long. Some are king sized, and some mini. They can also be found at designer stores like Oroton with to Chloe and pretty much everything in between! My preference is the simpler style…but personalised! I’ve recently seen Kim use hers by adding a simple tassel, which I currently covet and love 😍 and Cindy hers, with a sweet scarf. Aren’t these ideas great?

Another tote I adore, but this time from afar is the TURKISH VELVET IKAT Bag. I first saw this in Istanbul in 2019. The style and shape was everywhere, you’ll recognise it from the Dior Shopper…btw, copies of this were going for a song compared to the real deal 🙄 But it was the vibrancy of the silk velvet in this style that I fell in love with 😍 plus the fact, that I’m not really into wearing labels or logos that scream at you 😫 so it was the silk velvet pattern I fell for. Foolishly, I only bought the mules, but not the bag! But again, it’s online shopping to the rescue, if I decide to go ahead. What do you think? Should I? Is a matching bag and shoes in this pattern just too much ?And is it really me? I’m thinking it could be my go to for Melbourne AW22, but am unsure 🤔

Which brings me to another type of tote, those made in Madagascan RAFFIA STRAW 😍 It’s grown on the island, and is a heavier straw which is very durable and flexible. Naturally its a gorgeous wheat colour, but it may be dyed and then braided coarsely or fine and even crocheted. Which is what one of my favourite artists does. I only discovered Sophie Digard last year, but I pretty much adore everything she makes, including these totes. Every item is handmade, take hours to produce, making it bespoke and a piece of art. Her bags are available from small stores worldwide like Eva’s Sunday here in Melbourne. I’m thinking of treating myself to one for my upcoming 55th birthday 😊

And my final tote of choice would be the ALI LAMU bag. Handmade on the island of Lamu out of recycled sail cloth and rope handles. They are just so cool. I’m not usually one for a logo, but theirs speak volumes to me. LOVE. SURF. SWIM. WILD. What’s not to love about these words on a bag? (I am a CHOOSE LIFE Wham loving 80s gal after all😉) I adore the raw details of the hand stitching and painting. More works of art! And again, sold through smaller businesses like Esplora, here in Australia. I have one, in natural, although they actually come in all kinds of different colours, shapes and sizes.

I really do enjoy searching for something a bit different, so I hope you like this selection. I’m guessing what Tote you need really depends on your lifestyle. Mine is casual and relaxed, but I still like to look and feel stylish and chic….so I currently have little need for the leather structured kind, which is why I haven’t actually featured them. And this last sentence has gotten me thinking, I probably wont use the Ikat silk velvet as many times as I should. So while I love it, it won’t make it to my “IT BAG” collection 😂

I wonder what will make it to Cindy and Kim’s, be sure to press on the links below to read about what they love



Sarah xx


  1. Emma Bowd · November 19, 2021

    Thank you for such a lovely mention, Sarah. You really do have such an incredible eye for style and your tote bag collection is stunning. I can’t believe you find your Istanbul market shop online!! The colours of those weaves are incredible – I love your new bag!!
    Founder and Maker, DEED bags

  2. sarahlondonstyle · November 19, 2021

    Thanks Emma. Love your range so much! Your design and artistry is always incredible

  3. cynthiahattersley · November 19, 2021

    Sarah you and I are on the same wavelength. Thank you for introducing me to Velvetica. I have been debating on the Ikat velvet bag as well. I don’t think the shoes and purse would be too much at all as long as you are wearing a column of color. I love that Sophie Dygard bag as well. I always love your suggestions. This was such a fun post filled with way too much to get me into trouble with!!

  4. sarahlondonstyle · November 19, 2021

    Haha! Thanks Cindy… never trouble if you love and use it 😊 I th8nk, taking time to really think is the secret 😊

  5. kim · November 19, 2021

    Sarah, I so enjoyed this post and I knew you would have some cool things I’ve never seen anywhere else as usual! The Deed bags are great with the prints and with pockets just perfect! I may have to buy one.The Sophie bags really are like small art pieces. I think the velvet bag and shoes are both so cool and why not have them? You don’t even have to wear them together. I love that you started us down this path with the totes and what is trending. You Aussies are ahead of the curve always it seems and that’s why it is so fun doing this with you -and Cindy. I am always getting something new on my radar and learning from you both! great post. xo Kim

  6. sarahlondonstyle · November 19, 2021

    Thanks for reading Kim 🙏🏻 and for the lovely compliments. I think it’s so important to know your own style, rarely stray, and build up a sustainable collection of what you you have with your totes. Avoid trends and buy what you love, because it’s you 🥰

  7. Kim Wheeler (@NorCalStyle) · November 19, 2021

    I forgot to say thanks for sharing the woven tote of mine. Love that and it is so basic. xo

  8. LA CONTESSA · November 20, 2021

    I ONLY USE BASKET BAGS NOW. DONE I AM WITH THE HEAVY LEATHER TOTES……………….I cannot have much weight on my arm which leads to my neck etc……………THATS WHAT 61 tells YOU!

  9. sarahlondonstyle · November 20, 2021

    Love that you know what works for you Elizabeth 🥰 I’ll be 55 in late December.. still some time off, but I’m making it a milestone 😉 in a feel good way of course!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s