The anti “It Bag” (with a side of irony)

I’m a bit late to the party, but over the summer, the classic LL Bean Boat & Tote bag apparently became a thing with some of the fashion cognoscenti (perhaps in conjunction with the Coastal Grandmother trend).

But not just the standard unadorned or Preppy initial-monogrammed version. Witty and ironic personalization is key here. The Instagram account @ironicboatandtote has some great examples. Here are some of my favorites:

I’m thinking about getting one with “Coastal” or maybe “Dog Treats”. What would you have embroidered on a personalized tote?

You’re invited!

Brian Haugen & Susan Blakey invite you to Brian + MW Holiday Open House.

If you’ll be in the L.A. area this weekend, Brian is hosting a Holiday Open House at the Brian + MW studio. There will be refreshments and gifts for everyone, and Brian will be sharing makeup tips and demonstrations. I’ll be there doing some color analysis demonstrations. It will be fun; hope you can join us!

Where: 1359 Masselin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90019
When: Saturday, December 17th, 10:30am to 3pm.

RSVP: [email protected]

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  1. Yes to the bag, the LL Bean totes are such an iconic classic. Just my tastes but “personalizing” the bag seems to take away from the classic nature of it-even a monogram. Also, if for some reason you tire of it personalizing it makes it difficult to donate or pass on to someone else.

  2. I saw an article about the ironic LLBean totes—maybe the NYT? I actually love those totes but don’t feel like I need to have any ironic comment embroidered on them. They’re incredibly handy!

  3. On my tote-

    Our exit’s in 2 miles…our exit is coming up…get over, get over, get over!…ugh, we can turn around at the next exit.

  4. Back in the 1980’s I bought one of the iconic Bean totes to carry towels, sandals and other swim gear back and forth to the pool or beach. After one season I gave it away. It was heavy – especially when full, takes forever to dry when wet and is somewhat cumbersome since it is so stiff. Over the years I’ve used lighter weight canvas and finally settled on a washable tote from Seabags.

  5. I’ve had three or four in different sizes for years – Land’s End and LL Bean. Love them. I rediscover them every once in a while and wonder why I don’t just keep one in the car all the time. Gave them to all the girls in the family one year for Christmas, and they really loved them. The monograms look fun, but I’d prob stay with something plain since they literally last forever.

  6. I was blissfully unaware of this trend. I wouldn’t buy one as it would stain too easily. A leather tote is better for me.

  7. SO funny! I actually am awaiting delivery of a personalized tote for my best friend for Hanukkah. The bag will say “SCHLEP” lol

  8. For over 20 years as a teacher, I used my LL Bean tote bag to carry heavy books and my marking. Now that I’m retired, I’m still using it today as a beach bag. The quality and durability is amazing! I’m also still wearing a fleece kimono/housecoat that’s over 20 years old. It washes up really well and shows no wear and tear. I’m very pleased that we now have an LL Bean store in Victoria, BC.

  9. I own three llbean totes that I have used for the past 20 years (a small, medium, and large) but only had the medium monogrammed with my initials since I like the classic, traditional style. When I saw it trending last summer, I bought my sister (an east coast grandmother) one for her birthday (but chose not to monogram since I wasn’t sure she would like that). Susan, on another topic, I have been watching your hair grow since you posted you were moving toward a new style and it looks great–can you share a photo of the back for reference as I would like to show my stylist.

  10. Great comments! I used to pass a Bean outlet store on the way to our son’s uni. As an itinerant teacher who worked in several schools each week, I used to pick up the “reject” embroidered bags for a reduced price, one for each school. I picked up one embroidered with “LCE.” At one school, I was not well liked by the elementary team because I did not “fall in line” with their way of thinking. One of the colleagues asked me what “LCE” meant. I answered “Lucky C—(name of school) Elementary!” with a big smile on my face and great sarcasm in my heart. I don’t know if she ever knew I was dissing her. Carol in VT

  11. hahaha- this is the best I’ve seen of these bags yet!!! ‘fun instigator’ is what I think I’d put on mine (and throw in my painting gear. 😉