What does your tote bag say about you?

Emma Soames

Reusable shopping bags have infiltrated our lives. And your choice can reveal your character

Was it really 2007 when there were queues of people outside many stores – all desperate to nab one of Anya Hindmarch’s canvas ‘I am not a plastic bag’ carriers. Incredibly, they can now fetch more than £100 on eBay, which also carries a four-part guide on how to spot a fake. Not
a bad increase on a £5 carrier bag.
But in the past couple of years eco-friendly ‘tote’ bags have become an essential item in our shopping arsenal as we finally wake up to the damage that plastic carriers do to the environment – and supermarkets started charging for the nasty things. 
There’s no doubt that eco bags say something about us and confirm our credentials as caring, upbeat, savvy people. Now that they carry branding, witty expressions and arty imagery, many of us choose carefully
as we pick one to ‘wear’ in public.
They’ve insinuated themselves
into our lives. The desirable ones have
a habit of disappearing. In my case they turn up in unlikely corners with mouldering gym gear lurking inside. Some have become part of what passes for my filing system; others seem to like living in the bottom
of the car – yet I still forget to pick one up before I go shopping.
So, crazily, I end up buying yet another – which is, of course, exactly what we are not supposed to do.

The culture vulture
I am a seriously artistic person. Art fills my life: though I have to admit those Damien Hirst skulls did freak me out a bit.
They are found in just about every art gallery on earth.

The girly girl
I am fun and sparkly;
in fact, the more sequins and little jewelly bits the better. Flowers, butterflies... all lovely, lovely, lovely! They are found in the accessories dept of most fashion stores. Bring sunglasses.

The thigh slapper
I am huge fun. I love a laff, preferably with a bunch
of gals on a big night out. I’m the one waving a glass of Chardonnay. Yoo hoo!
They are mainly made by individual designers online at places such as etsy.com or notonthehighstreet.com.

The supporter
I am concerned. Endangered species, crumbling castles...they all need my help, so I buy their bags.
Only trouble is, I can’t fit any more in the boot of my car.
They are available in all manner of olde gifte shoppes.

The fluffy bunny
I am an animal lover.
I ‘heart’ anything cute with lots of fluff and big eyes.
I dot my i’s using a smiley face – and give it ears!
They are in shops such as Accessorize or on design websites such as notonthehighstreet.com.

The superstore victim
I am doing the shopping. Again. I’ve bought 15 bags this year. I always forget them. Why? Why?
They are at the checkout, right next to the person smiting their forehead, saying ‘Damn! I forgot my...’

See also The Tote Bag (Mini) by Jitesh Patel (Laurence King, £9.95)
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