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The Tote That Reminds Whitney How to Be a Person

There's a good reason this is the first time I've ever bought something straight off of Instagram.

I'm not normally a big fan of words on apparel or accessories, whether in the form of slogans or logos or anything else — I usually prefer to let my outfits speak the language of form and texture and color. But this bag by non-binary poet and artist Lora Mathis sports text that I feel so strongly about that I bought it immediately after seeing it posted on Instagram this week, which is something I never, ever do.

Mathis' work revolves around "radical softness," an idea that has to do with intentionally using tenderness to respond to pain and claiming that tenderness as strength. The word-and-picture-based pieces that result feel just as bold and resonant as iconic text artist Jenny Holzer's, but land with less barbed anger and more of a sense of openness. In short, these little snippets of text and image remind me how I'd like to move through the world. This bag's admonishments about platonic intimacy and choosing vulnerability are ones I'll be happy to carry with me everywhere I go.

Platonic Intimacy Tote, $13, available at Stay Soft

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