Chic in the city – how to wear the straw bag beyond the beach

The optimistic accessory is an instant mood-lifter, guaranteed to give you the holiday feel

Actress Sienna Miller attends the 11th annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Liberty State Park with her straw bag. Photograph:   Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot

Actress Sienna Miller attends the 11th annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Liberty State Park with her straw bag. Photograph: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot

 

It’s official: we’ve reached peak straw bag. From circular shoppers, to oversized totes, in fabrics such as raffia, bamboo and wicker, the rustic staple that stylephiles just can’t quit has been simmering for a few seasons before reaching boiling point this summer.

An illustrious warm-weather staple, the sheer sight of it conjures up images of balmy beach days and far-flung getaways. While it’s easy to relegate it to just beachwear, a slew of straw bags has cropped up on Instagram feeds accompanying everything from playful printed midis to leather jackets and tailored trousers.

Poshing it up a notch, Sienna Miller even styled her straw bag with a little white dress at the Polo. Transcending its beach origins into a versatile accessory that can be reworked when you get home from your holidays, the straw bag will work for more or less any occasion. City break? Ideal. Summer wedding? Of course. Weekend brunch? Definitely. Plus, the optimistic accessory is an instant mood-lifter, toting a straw bag of a Tuesday is guaranteed to give you all the holiday feels.

Sense of classic

Instead of being too off-kilter cool, there’s actually a sense of classic to the charming bag. Jane Birkin may be most notably associated with her Hermes namesake, but she also favoured the straw bag; styling it with everything from a white dress to a cocktail dress at the Cannes Film Festival. The key to adding a light-hearted insouciance is to gravitate toward straw bags that are more structured in shape, ladylike in aesthetic, and that have luxe trimmings.

Bag, €60, House of Fraser.
Bag, €60, House of Fraser.

A IT bag that doesn’t call for a designer price tag, a bargain market buy will work just as well as the Balenciaga Bistro Panier straw tote that started the whole trend. For mid-price options look to Rae Feather, Cult Gaia, Little Doe, and Muzungu Sisters. High-street wise, straw bags are well represented in Penneys, Topshop and New Look.

To avoid looking like you got lost on your way to the beach, avoid anything that’s too predictable. Straw bags and kaftans are to be expected, as are floaty floral maxis. Excessive embellishment and coastal nods will veer too seasonal. Sleek and simple is a safer bet, as are darker shades like black. 

Bag, €42, Topshop.
Bag, €42, Topshop.

Revel in the contrasts and style up a straw bag with a structured blazer or light knit and chic midi skirt. For a more pared-back option, find shades that mirror the neutral textile, like beiges and khakis, and keep it monochromatic. But for the easy way of capturing that essence of chic, carefree French girl style that Birkin stylishly embodied, you can’t beat her other classic wardrobe staples of jeans and T-shirt.

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