The best straw bags are as romantic as they are useful. They tend to evoke a French sensibility, even though woven bags are available worldwide. Blame Jane Birkin. But they can still feel unexpected, coming in a bright colour or unique shape, and designers are constantly updating the familiar warm weather staple. “Straw bags have come a long way since the traditional styles,” Gabriela Pacini, cofounder of handbag line APAYA, agrees. “For this summer, straw bags are coming in unexpected shapes and sizes, giving them a fresh new look. Designers are also incorporating more vibrant colours that remind us of summer.”
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But the best straw bags are not purely for accessorising a summer look. Erin Ryder, cofounder of bag brand Cesta Collective, isn’t shy about how often and where she wears hers. “A basket bag works with everything—so look beyond the obvious choices and don’t feel limited. I find I wear a Cesta Lunchpail just as easily to a black-tie affair—the perfect alternative to a clutch and so much more elegant, in my opinion—as I do just running around the city in a blazer, a T-shirt and any style of jeans. Add a loafer and a baseball cap, and you’ve got my go-to uniform all spring long.” Courtney Weinblatt Fasciano, Ryder’s partner, echoes the sentiment. “I’ve always felt it’s best to not be too precious with a Cesta. I wear mine 12 months a year but most frequently in the spring and summer.”
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“My favourite way to style a straw bag is with an oversized ankle-length kaftan and some simple flat sandals,” Pacini adds. “It is so effortlessly chic. For a more ‘wow’ style moment, I like pairing a small straw bag with an elegant long dress for a summer event or wedding. It looks fresh and young as well as sophisticated all at the same time.”
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Though countless spring bag trends are available to choose from, the straw bag stands out for its handmade quality while nodding to natural elements. “They are truly works of art,” Ashleigh Hults, cofounder of Poolside, tells BAZAAR. “I love how they are completely made by hand but also very sturdy and functional.” Here, shop 20 options that look just as good going to the beach as they do stomping around the city or at your local farmers’ market—from designer options to old-school favorites.