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13 Compelling Reasons to Wear Canvas Shopping Bags More Often

Priscilla Greene |

Life in plastic is definitely not fantastic, and we all know that. With plastic shopping bans seeing their banning across the world, the good old canvas reusable grocery bags are coming back bigger, better, and bolder.

Canvas shopping bags and canvas tote bags are not new as fashionable, wearable, and stylish accessories. On the contrary, they become all the rage right now, as they convey an even more powerful statement than luxury designer purses.

They speak not about money but mindfulness, ethics, belonging, access and culture. And the moment you see huge designer houses creating their branded canvas totes or canvas shopping bags, you know you were on the right track all along.

Nevertheless, what makes canvas shopping bags so desirable and so hip these days? We will take a look at modern trends and identify all the compelling reasons for you to wear canvas shopping bags more often – and not only for shopping, of course!

1. They are versatile

You can easily repurpose a natural cotton shopping bag into a daily casual bag to carry your personal items around town when you are out for a walk, go to the office, or have brunch with your girlfriends.

The beauty of these bags reside in their simplicity. Shop them in bulk in different vibrant colors for your shopping needs and pick the colors that best match your outfits, occasion, or personality. This way you will never run out of stylish and matching purses all year long.

Do you want to know what is even better? Any large and sturdy canvas shopping bag can successfully replace a beach bag or a gym bag.

2. Size Does Matter

Besides their resilience to weight, canvas shopping bags come in larger, generous sizes. In other words, they can also host your laptop, DSLR camera, books, school papers, and other work or personal items.

If you want to carry some of your freelancer, student, or working materials around in a fashionable manner, a large, solid canvas shopping bag can take you all places in a fun, eco-friendly, and practical manner. Protecting your items is also easy, as you can opt for some heavy canvas zipper tote bags for extra safety.  

3. Mindful Protection of the Environment

eco friendly canvas shopping bags

One of the greatest advantages of canvas shopping bags is that they are reusable, completely washable, and easy to carry, fold, store, and grab at any time. You do have to wear a canvas tote bag for a while until it returns on its environmental investment, but you can achieve such a goal with no effort.

You can carry your tote bags anywhere you prefer to shop, be it the mall supermarket or the farmers’ market. As long as you wrap some groceries in butcher paper (meats and fresh vegetables that might dirty the canvas bag), you can easily wash the bag and take it to the market next time.

4. Amazing Travelling Bags

If you need an all-nighter bag or a bag that easily transitions from a day bag to a trip bag, you can grab your canvas shopping bag and be on your way. While these bags do not offer the comfort of a suitcase or trolley bags, you can use them for short-distance trips, car trips, a weekend at your family’s house trips, and so on.

They can accommodate a pajama, an overnight self-care kit, wallet, phone, headphones, and a book or tablet if you decide to visit friends or family right after work on a Friday evening.

5. Great Travel Accessories

When you travel for longer distances and greater amounts of time – think about a week’s vacation abroad or a city break with your loved one – you can pack one of these babies in your luggage. They compensate for all the purses, backpacks, and messenger bags you would think about carrying with you on holidays.

Lighter vacation luggage also means less airport fees and plenty of comfort once you arrive to your destination. They work great in all environments, so you can match one to your jeans-and-sneakers Barcelona walking trip or your seaside kit on a Greek’s island beach.

You can carry them in urban environments, in exotic natural landscapes, in museums, shops, crowded markets, at the restaurant, and during all sightseeing adventures. Besides the fact that they can carry small, big, lightweight or heavy items in the same demure and stylish fashion, you can actually take more than one with you. What is better: filling a suitcase with purses or a suitcase pocket with well-folded canvas tote bags in all the colors you love?

6. They Can Carry Quite a Load

canvas shopping bags in cart

Women do carry plenty of things around in their purses or bags. If you are on a weekend groceries shopping spree, you know your heavy canvas tote bags can really hold their ground and your items with no problems.

In comparison to supermarket plastic bags, they do not break and they will not arrive home with holes in them just because you stacked plenty of cardboard or metal boxes and cartons inside. They are sturdy, resilient to wear and tear, and they make perfect companions to your shopping routines with no problems.

7. They Are Affordable

While this reason is obvious, we cannot skip it. Moreover, now is the perfect moment to emphasize on it. Either you carry one or two reusable shopping bags for shopping, or you buy wholesale heavy canvas tote bags, one thing is certain: you will never run out of money or outfit/occasion matching opportunities. You can actually have one for each cool color-minded summer outfit you can think of and still not feel any discomfort to your budget. As affordable accessories go, they are probably the best ones meeting and exceeding your quality vs. value expectations.

8. You Can Help Somebody Out

Many companies, associations, brands, individuals, and NGOs offer promotional canvas shopping bags and tote bags to promote their activity or increase awareness towards an important topic. In other words, you can help somebody out by carrying around his or her branded canvas bag.

You may want to draw attention regarding the extinction of some animal species; you may want to promote a friend’s start-up; you may want to advertise for the amazing gym you go to or for your favorite bookstore.

You may want to raise awareness regarding a social matter; you may even want to make a powerful social statement with each step you take on the street. As long as you choose a cause or a brand you trust and support wholeheartedly, you can become an influencer, promoter, advocate, and friend of that business, organization, or movement. As we have already seen before, canvas shopping bags are wearable and versatile and now you have even more reasons to proudly wear them in the streets.

If you need more convincing, look for Jessica Alba’s photos as she proves just how versatile and powerful (statement-wise) her Honest Company's Earth Day bag can be by packing it with park day essentials.  

9. You Can Personalize Them

Do you know what is better than wearing canvas shopping bags for shopping and as purses/everyday bags? Wearing them together with your personal style embedded in their fibers. Just like cotton T-shirts or handkerchiefs, for instance, cotton and canvas shopping bags are suitable for monograms. Usually, monogrammed cotton tote bags make the focus of personalized party favors, but nobody says you cannot monogram them for your own tastes and needs.

10. You Can Style it Up

woman wearing

As we saw not so long ago, there are plenty of options out there for you to style up your tote bag and make it a fashion statement. Either you sew some cloth scraps on it to give it a sassy flair, or you adorn it with keychain charms, your plain canvas shopping bag can turn into a designer-style purse in no time. These bags represent the best foundation for your DIY tailoring, artistic, sewing, painting, or gluing projects.

If you want to look like a veritable celebrity, take the examples of Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Aniston, or Maggie Gyllenhaal. Just match a brightly colored oversized eco-friendly canvas shopping bag to your “off-duty” street-smart outfit and go out there to rule the world.

11. Wearable Marketing

We said before about you wearing branded canvas shopping bags to promote others’ messages or activities, but why don’t you consider turning these bags into a small start-up business? The moment you get plain canvas shopping bags in bulk, you can consider styling them up, personalizing them, turning them into unique fashion statements and resell them. Besides engaging in a form of green business, you can create amazing works of art that other people would love to wear and promote.

All you need is one person stopping you in the street and asking you where you got that amazing colorful beaded tote bag you are wearing. The moment you answered you made it with your own hands, there will be no stopping you. In a world hyped with handmade clothes, jewelry, and accessories, you can turn your passion for arts and crafts into a sustainable business from all points of view.

12. They are Easy to Maintain

We insisted on how easy to use, reuse, and wear these canvas shopping bags are, but we mentioned little about their care and maintenance. If you wear cotton and canvas shopping bags, they are easy to care for, as they are washable.

Just keep an eye on the water temperature, as you do not want them to shrink or lose their color. Moreover, if they come with prints, paintings, glued appliques, beads, or other embellishments, be careful to follow the washing and tumbling rules – you do not want to shrink them, get color and print fading, color transfers, tears, and so on.

In case you use the reusable bags for shopping mostly, you should wash them often to keep them clean and hygienic. Moreover, you should dry them in fresh air to get a nice smell and regain their texture. Since you can iron cotton, you can iron them as well to keep them neat and gorgeous – just keep an eye on prints, painting, and appliques, as you do not want to damage them with heat.

If by any chance your canvas shopping bags got some grime and stains from foods and groceries, use your tested-and-true stain removing products or go full organic and try the less conventional route to make your totes clean and spotless again.

13. Timeless Sustainability

bag with groceries

One of the final reasons for wearing canvas tote bags more often is that they come together with timeless sustainability other types of bags do not feature. As we said in the beginning, if you care for your canvas tote bags properly, you can take them shopping or wear them as purses for years. However, they are not infallible or indestructible. When a plastic bag shows the first signs of wear and tear, we throw it away without batting a lash. However, when tote bags show signs of fatigue (straps come undone, seams fall apart, some holes appear, grime and dirt do not come off etc.), they can be repurposed and upcycled. Let us see a few ways to recycle and give a new life to old canvas shopping bags:

  •         Turn it into a pouch: cut the handles, add some drawstrings and turn an older tote bag into a new pouch you can use at home to store sea salt, vegetables, nuts and seeds, even potting soil for your balcony plants.
  •         Turn it into a pillowcase: cut the handles, add some loop-and-button hooks and now you have a new vintage decorating pillowcase wearing the same message, brand, or print as your former favorite tote.
  •         Turn it into a cute kitchen apron (for you or for the kids): Cut the tote in its two identical halves and use one half (the printed one preferably) to make an apron out of it. You can further add two thin strings made of a fabric of your choice on the sides to tie your new apron in the back.

Repurposing a canvas shopping bag or any other cotton tote bag adds to the sustainability and eco-friendliness of these amazing and ever-fashionable products.

Do you have other reasons to wear canvas shopping bags more often for groceries, picnics, or trips? Do you use them as casual purses or gym bags? Do you wear them to sustain and promote your favorite brands and causes? Feel free to share your own reasons in the comments section below!