I'll cut to the chase: Anne and I could get lost in a paper bag. We've been late to many a lunch because we turned the wrong way out of the subway, and without her iPhone, we'd never make it anywhere. But I've discovered a low-tech, stylish solution for this problem: MAPTOTE. Founded by Rachel Rheingold, a fashion stylist, and Michael Berick, a cartographer, MAPTOTE makes simple cotton totes that are screened with cool schematic maps of tons of cities -- from Austin to Brooklyn to Palm Springs to Paris. The bags feature the cities' neighborhoods, icons and landmarks, so both locals and tourists will get a kick out of the designs (plus some sense of directional orientation -- yes!).
The MAPTOTE line includes regular totes ($15, pictured), hobos ($20) and big beach bags ($35). They've also added zipped pouches ($15) and Mapnotes note cards ($4) too. Functional fashion, you are my friend.