ll bean boat tote

Quintessential Preppy Style: the L.L. Bean Boat Tote

This summer went by so quickly! I can hardly believe its already September! Unfortunately, in Texas “autumn” really means summer part 2. Its not going to get chilly here until late November. So I may be drinking pumpkin spice lattes in a pool but whatever!

The other day I decided to change out my bag from this cute Mexicali embroidered one to my favorite old L.L. Bean boat tote. My mom gave it to me years ago and she had it monogrammed with my initials. When I was little, my dad would put me in one of these bags and swing me around. When we’d go to the beach, we always took at least two boat totes full of beach stuff down to the shore. During the fall, we’d use those same boat totes and fill them with wood my dad chopped for our wood stove. These tote bags are literally a legacy.

Styling a Boat Tote

In 1944, L.L. Bean introduced these tote bags for the purpose of carrying ice. Decades later, we now use them for everything from going to the farmer’s market to making a style statement. I avoid saying “fashion statement” because a boat tote isn’t fashionable, instead its a preppy closet must-have that carries you through life.

I’ll be the first to admit however, that they don’t go with everything. I’m certainly not carrying one with me to a nice dinner out with David or to a party. But outdoor activities and long shopping days are what this bag is made for. The best ways I’ve seen this bag worn are with shirt dresses like mine (similar here). It’s a simple, classic look! Some of my other favorite combos include:

  • Chino shorts, light weight sweater, Sperry’s
  • Jeans, Hunter boots, sweater, and rain coat
  • Scalloped shorts, button up, Jack Rogers sandals

In my wardrobe, I have a philosophy with everything I buy- if it isn’t easy and doesn’t go with multiple items, then I don’t need it. I’ve always believed that the most luxurious outfits should be comfortable and simple to put together. To me, the boat tote is a must-have accessory to creating beautiful outfits that withstand the test of time. And those boat totes my mom and dad had when I was little? They’re still around and constantly making new memories decades later.


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I'm a Dallas fashion and mental health blogger! I love sharing affordable styles anyone can wear and also sharing mental health topics so people don't feel so alone.

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