Top Totes for Summer

The Birkin basket

Totes were made for summer. In fact, no bag quite spells summer like a tote. From beach to barbecue, office to off-duty, city striding to country strolling there’s only one carry-all you need. This is our pick of top totes for summer cool – slip a pair of Ops&Ops inside and you’re set for the season!

For all-out summer cool? Jane Birkin’s basket (pictured above) has to be up there. Birkin found the round fisherman’s wicker basket with a lid while in the Algarve in Portugal, took it to Paris and elevated it to iconic. She took it shopping, on picnics and trips. At premieres it accompanied a diaphanous mini, in winter she wore it with furs. Her original basket, she once told journalists, came to a sticky end: “My husband, Jacques Doillon, reversed his car over my basket, crushed it on purpose.” That incident led indirectly to the birth of the Birkin bag, but that’s a whole other tale.

Navy and yellow, bold and bright this recycled canvas Vivienne Westwood leopard runner is a bag to be noticed. The latest in the designer’s ‘Handmade with love’ range, it was made in Nairobi by women from the region’s poorest marginalised communities. Stylish and ethical too. And a great match with Bumper Car Blue.

Handcrafted in Maine, New England since 1944, LL Bean’s boat bag is the original tote. First billed as an ice carrier, it is made from heavy-duty canvas and is guaranteed to carry more than you can hold. It comes in four sizes with contrasting colour handles. You can even have it monogrammed. Team with Red No10s for classic summer styling.

The classic flower print from Finland’s Marimekko. Released first in 1964, the Unikko design has since appeared in a kaleidoscope of colours and perfectly captures the summer mood. In durable canvas it has a zip pocket inside and looks as good in the city as it does on the beach. Wear with Chic Black for instant pizzazz.

A simple, no-fuss canvas tote with leather handles and tweed trim on one side, popper-fastened pocket on the other from made-in-England brand M.Hulot. Big enough to carry home the shopping, it’s trim enough for more leisurely pursuits. And coming in sand and tan, summer perfect. Pair with Bronze for added seasonal shimmer.