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.  On sale for 227.50.


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. On sale for $262.50.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 $160


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


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.  $80







This AERIN small striped raffia pouch has a cotton lining and a zipper. 6.0″h x 8.5″w


This Allegra raffia pouch has a cotton lining and a zipper closure. 8″h x 11.4″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.