Timeless totes, handbags, and clutches.
Sipping coffee outside at the Royal Poinciana Plaza on a stunning day in Palm Beach, I was intrigued by the ‘simple’ straw bags which many women carry. They are casual and neutral with a carefree, ‘This old thing?’ attitude – but each one has a personality and style. Paired with white or black – they look timeless and chic. Add a scarf for color.
It turns out that ‘straw’ bags can be made of raffia, regular straw, jute, cornhusks, bamboo and even seagrass. Rattan and wicker bags give a similar, timeless natural look.
This Straw Cabana Tote has ‘saddle’ leather handles, and it also comes with navy and white handles. $295
Eric Javits makes tailored, well-made ‘straw’ bags (and hats). I have one which must be 20 years old, and I love it. The secret is Squishee® which is a man-made material that resembles raffia but has advantages in flexibility and durability. It is lighter weight than straw.
This Squishee Bardot Straw tote comes in natural/black and shell/white. It can be rolled up if you can bear to put it into your suitcase. It has two inside patch pockets and a key clip holder. 13½” L x 10½” H X 7″ W. $295
This Squishee® Bel Air natural bag has a zipper top, an outside leather pocket for easy access, a sidewall zipper compartment, dual patch pockets, and a key clip. 12″ L 11″ h 5.75″w. $350.
This Squishee® straw Lucy Bag has an inside zipper pocket and a detachable cross-body strap. Length 10.5” x Height 7.5” Width at bottom 5”. $295.
This Laurana Raffia Top Handle Tote has bamboo handles. I like a bag which stands up and the detail on this one set it apart. It is a carryall with one big open compartment. 16.75″ Top Width (13.25″ Bottom Width) x 12″ H x 5″ D. $298
This woven rattan tote with leather trim from Bembien’s Valeria has a snap closure. 17.75″ W x 11.75″ H x 4″ D. $290
Aerin Lauder has introduced several distinctive raffias and wicker bags into her collection this year. This Amelie Wicker bag has bamboo handles and a PVC lining to keep your belongings from escaping through the cut-outs. It has a detachable strap. 10.6″l x 2.4″w x 8.7″h. $380
This large raffia Aerin bag has an interior zip pocket. 19.6” long. $340.
This Aerin Canasta Mejicana handbag is made of toquilla straw. It is an elevated version of the market baskets found in Mexico and Ecuador. 6.7″w x 12.6″l x 9.8″h. $260
This Carrie Forbes Raffia tote comes in kraft (shown), cognac, and black. It has a magnetic enclosure and two slip pockets. 16″W x 10″H x 6″D. $384
This handwoven Caitlyn seagrass tote has faux leather straps. 12” h x 18” wide and 5.5” deep. A portion of profits goes to the Areeya Scholarship Fund, benefiting Thai weaver communities by providing financial means for young women and children to attend school. $142. A larger Camryn seagrass tote is $151
This simple, chic, raffia moon tote has a magnetic closure and an interior zip pocket. 11.5″W x 13″H x 3″D. It also comes in black. $295.
Giulia Star Wicker Top-Handle Bag. 7″ H x 8.6″W x 3.4″D. $398
Handwoven straw tote bag. L15.8″ x H11″ x W4.5″. $43.99.
This Crochet Raffia Tote has metallic threads. The top handle is a 5” circle. The brand, Flora Bella, was founded by a Dallas-based husband-wife-daughter trio. It comes in Almond/Silver and Natural/Gold. $220
This raffia zip pouch from Aerin can help organize the inside of your bag and double as a clutch. It comes with hearts in natural, chartreuse and denim and closes with a zipper. 10.0″h x 13.0″w. $70
This AERIN small striped raffia pouch has a cotton lining and a zipper. 6.0″h x 8.5″w
Raffia fibers come from leaves stripped from Raffia Palms. The strands are dried in the sun resulting in a warm sand color. The fibers are graded and sometimes dyed. They contain a resin that makes the fibers flexible and resilient and somewhat water-resistant. Raffia harvesting is considered a sustainable practice.
An investment? This HERMES 35cm Barénia Fauvre Straw Kelly Picnic Bag Natural is currently listed on 1st Dibs for $75,000. Choose your new straw bag well and maybe it will become a classic.