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On Saturday, my friends and I began our day at the National Portrait Gallery and then moseyed on over to the US Botanic Gardens. Schlepping my laptop, sketchbook and camera across the city, I was thankful for my over-sized purse but wishing I had invested in a great tote for all my summer needs. Summer means more pool trips, beach weekends and more activity in general, which equals more stuff.

If you’re in the market for a good tote bag, take a few tips into consideration:

  • Size – Make sure it is big enough to fit everything you might need, but not big enough that it is too cumbersome to carry comfortably.
  • Fabric – In the summer months, stick to fabric totes and steer clear of leather. If a sun tan lotion spills or your bag gets wet by the pool, you can throw a fabric tote in the wash but a leather one will never recover.
  • Straps: Make sure the straps are comfortable. Some extra padding can never hurt and if you are going to fill this baby to the brim, you want to avoid it digging into your shoulder.
  • Color – Make sure the colors won’t rub off on to your clothes – or your skin if you sweat. This is more of an issue with brighter, bolder colors, so if you purchase one of them consider throwing it in the wash before you use it.
  • Price point – If you’re on a tight budget, don’t spend more than $100 on a tote. There are a ton of great options out there, many for around $50. You want something that is affordable and stylish, but not something that will cost you the better part of your paycheck.
  • Durability – Be sure to look at the construction of the bag to make sure it can hold up to the task of lugging your goods. If it isn’t, you could find your belonging strewn across a sidewalk courtesy of a tote tear.

Here are just a few ideas for your perusal. I highly recommend the Gap color block tote. I know two people who have it and it is their Saturday Summer staple. Any favorites?

Summer Totes

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