Monday, October 5, 2009

The Life of My CKB Tote

In case you didn't read it on Camilla's Blog (which did I mention - I read daily), here is the guest blogger piece that I wrote for her. 

I once read that Elizabeth Taylor, when asked to comment on today’s fresh female faces in Hollywood, had responded by saying that they “don’t look like they own their clothes.” 

In the era of publicists and Perez, the brevity of a style can last just long enough for trendsters to purchase and then pack away when a newer fad is deemed “must have.”  In my opinion, the best clothes and accessories are those that are well-loved, and therefore evidently well-worn - sun-bleached fabric, tears, and the odd stain are proof that it belongs to you, and is tailored by your life’s adventures.

Having just bought a new Louis Vuitton present for myself at Harrods, I quickly began to wonder how I could make the bag seem less obviously newly purchased. I averted the impulse to douse it with beer or seawater (the closest materials to show evidence of natural wear). I thought that the bag would be a good investment and a step towards preparing for entering the real world of post-graduation life. Much to my dismay, I realized that despite my attachment, I couldn’t exactly waltz into an interview claiming to be a fashion-forward eager graduate, while toting a very obviously loved, but bicycle ride frayed and Juice Bar-stained CKB tote. 

Up until now, my “It” bag was always a C.K. Bradley tote. I always considered my CKB totes to be like oxford shirts in the way that they were comfortable, better with wear, and the perfect addition to every ensemble – able to accommodate the necessary items for lacrosse practice, days at school, sleepovers, movie dates, and summer jaunts to the beach.

I first spied a C.K. Bradley tote at Rags: one of my favorite boutiques to frequent when I visited my family in Greenwich. On one such visit, 3 generations of Laidlaw women simultaneously invaded the store at the top of The Avenue.  It was the height of the preppy ribbon belt revival, and as soon as I recognized the connection between the cute tote bags displayed in the store, and the racks of ribbon belts that I was lately obsessed with, I knew it was exactly what I wanted.

Clearly, I was oh-so-excited when my favorite (and always chic) Auntie Suzy (picking up on my hints), bought me one of the totes for my 14th birthday. The blue floral tote became my favorite, and a quick part of my high school weekend uniform.

In college, the CKB tote still occupied my personal IT bag status, and luckily so, as on my first day at St. Lawrence, I spied my future best friend Samantha because of her equally well-loved CKB tote, and we sparked up an initial conversation due to the obvious commonality.  

Not exclusive to scholastic endeavours on the homefront, when I later ventured to Costa Rica to work on a sea turtle conservation project, though I feel I can rough it with the best of them, I didn’t think twice about bringing my CKB tote with me along with my hiking boots, mosquito net, and lonely planet guide-book.

Over the past few years, an increasing collection of totes (I’m up to 5) accompanied me to the Uffizi as I gazed at Leonardo’s and Botticelli’s, to South African elephant sanctuaries, and on boats in the Seychelles en route to uninhabited islands.  Thinking about what has been “toted” is also an interesting reflection of my life’s adventures as I begin a mental list of the London tube maps, bathing suits, love letters, English reading assignments, carefully hidden to-go sushi and made-at-home kettle-corn smuggled into movie theatres, as well as the seashell treasures that I stashed in the inside pockets.

More recently, en route from London to Nantucket, I stopped by Newport to check in with the CKB gang. Of course, I couldn’t help but pick out a new one from Camilla’s personal archives in the warehouse.  You can bet that through bike rides to Sconset, ferry trips to visit my latest love interest, and autumnal quests to savor the last of summer on Great Point, the newest tote won’t look that way for long.

While I have yet to see it on the trendster pages of US Weekly and InTouch, my well-worn tote, though not a Kelly, Birkin, Louis or Marc, makes a statement of its own – and one that I much prefer to make. 

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