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The Last Canvas Tote You'll Ever Need To Buy

Waiting while my friend used the bathroom at Indochine Wednesday night, I got really distracted by the bag she had left on her chair. A roomy canvas tote shaped like an square-bottomed U, it was both sturdier and sleeker than the standard-issue khaki shopper. The handles, round and ropey, gave it a slightly nautical vibe, but not in an obvious striped T-shirt, white pants and boat shoes kind of way; more like it was like something that a Parisian lady would pack up with baguette sandwiches and Avene sunscreen for a beachside weekend in Normandy. Surreptitiously, I glanced to make sure my dinner companion was still out of sight before picking up her carryall and trying it over my shoulder. I began to count the things I could use it for: times I'm going to the gym after work but don't want to bring a separate duffel; long lazy Saturdays when I leave my apartment for the farmer's market at 9AM and stay out until dark; stuffing with fashion magazines before heading to Le Pain Quotidien for two hours of reading and lattes.

As it turns out, I'm not the only person out there who was immediately obsessed with this particular carryall; in fact, the very reason it's around is due to popular demand. Originally created as a limited run giveaway at Maisonette 1977's first NYFW show by the brand's designer, Jane Ibrahim, the one-off piece was so favorably received that she and her partner, Thomas Moon, decided to launch Toute by Maisonette 1977. The line, which just debuted this spring, is soley dedicated this perfect utilitarian tote; the only thing that varies is the range of colors and prints. (Although I love them all, I'm especially enamoured with the red and white striped style right now; it's just so Bridget Bardot-y.) And, for such a timeless, versatile item, it's incredibly affordable, too: just $29 per bag.

Since Toute is still a very young label, you can only order through it's main website right now; there are seven styles available at the moment, but the company's founders have assured me that new colors, collaborations and a wine bag are in the works for fall. Also, shopping purposes aside, Toutebags.com is worth visiting for a glimpse of Jane and Thomas's pet and brand mascot, Plato the white bulldog, who's featured throughout the site, along with his "girlfriend" from a neighboring apartment. "We took a snapshot of them and the bag with our phone and it became our postcard. We also decided they're better salespeople than [us]," Tom told me over an email. Well, I'm sold.

Visit Toutebags.com to order your own tote now.

TOUTE Bag (St/Po) Poppy Stripes, $29, toutebags.com
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