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When Millennials think of L.L. Bean tote bags, images of campouts, family beach trips, and, for better or for worse, our mom's taste in fashion, come to mind — and they were all likely L.L. Bean's classic "Boat and Tote" bags. Back then, the only way to differentiate one from the other was through your monogrammed initials, but similar to side parts and skinny jeans, Gen Z has arrived to tell us that we're doing it all wrong.
Dubbed the "Ironic Boat and Tote," Gen Z is using L.L. Bean's classic bags to show off short, funny, and sarcastic phrases instead. It all started with Gracie Weiner, who created the first "Ironic Boat and Tote" bag last July, showcasing the word "PSYCHO" on her classic tote where initials would typically be. Weiner got her inspiration from a similar bag she saw on stylist Juliana Salazar's Instagram — and now there's no turning back. She now manages a @ironicboatandtote Instagram account, which has amassed almost 35K followers in just a year, and her original TikTok showing off various witty bags has received over 70K likes.
So what does it take for an "Ironic Boat and Tote" bag to make a statement? In Gracie's video, she says that they're often funny but not all that positive — case in point: this "Broke Bitch" tote is her favorite one she's seen so far. Plus, the quality of the bags themselves is amazing, making them a (classic) trend well worth investing in.
Since we can't help but feel like the world is crazier than ever these days, having a space to show off how we really feel with a practical product is also therapeutic in a way. With just a few scrolls on Weiner's Instagram account, you'll see multiple bags with phrases like "Unwell" and "Unhinged," Pop culture and designer references like "BELIEBER" and "PRADA," and simple, comical phrases we can all relate to like "Baja blast" and "Diet Coke." What's clear in all bags we've seen — on our Instagrams, on our favorite websites, even in the New York City subway — is that anything is fair game (except profanity, L.L. Bean bans it) — and, of course, the funnier, the better.
If you're ready to create your own "Ironic Boat and Tote" bag, we've included all of the options from L.L. Bean below. They sell a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, but keep in mind that you're limited to 10 characters for monogramming — and we especially love that the classic style starts at just $30. So, let your creative juices flow, and if you're feeling extra clever, you can even order a few since they're so budget-friendly!
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