Tuesday , May 21 2019
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Obsessing Over: Woven Bags

woven bag

I’ll admit it: I like to be ahead of the curve as much as the next girl. There’s just something deeply satisfying, something undeniably cool, about feeling like one of the very first people to embrace a soon-to-be-everywhere trend before it’s, well, everywhere. But it’s not always possible to be first—sometimes, you fall in love with something at the exact same moment as the rest of the world. It happened to me for the first time in third grade with some exceptional hot pink Tweety Bird high-tops, and again in middle school with a pair of black platform sandals (which, to my great delight, returned to the scene this season for another much-deserved moment in the sun). But this summer? This was the summer I fell hard for a little woven bag.

little woven bag

It’s hard to remember where I saw them pop up first, but if we’re being honest, it was probably on Instagram. “Oh, that’s cute!” I thought, as I scrolled past a small woven satchel in my feed. And then, 30 seconds later, they were everywhere—a veritable straw explosion. Why so popular all of a sudden? I reached out to Etsy’s in-house fashion merchandising expert Kelsey Taylor Hunt to learn more. “This summer we’re seeing a huge appetite for pieces made with natural materials, whether it’s linen dresses, raw stone druzy jewelry, or rattan bags,” explains Kelsey. “Woven bags are the perfect way to add a touch of retro, Riviera-inspired style to your wardrobe.” Even better? They’re versatile. “Thanks to elevated touches like a leather handle or hand-finished trim, these bags are as at home in the city as they are on the shore,” says Kelsey. “They’re relaxed and refined at the same time.”


vintage summer handbag

The trend confirmed, I was officially torn: There was no doubt I loved the look, but there was nothing remotely original about my desire. If anything, I was late to the game—it was the Tweety Bird sneakers all over again. And yet, there it was: desire, unmistakable and undeniable. Cutting edge be damned—I had to have one. After consulting via text with my high school bestie, who’d recently ordered a woven bag of her own, I took the plunge. My heart soared when it arrived on my doorstep a few short days later. Never mind that it smelled a bit like campfire—the reeds, I’ve learned, are smoked over coconut husks to dry—it was perfect. After a couple days propped in front of an open window, my bag and I were ready for our first public outing: a walk around the block with my other full-blown obsession, my rescue dog, Bo. Sure, I was wearing pajamas, but with my new bag in tow, my confidence was through the roof. I looked good.

large round straw woven purse

Packing for a week-long road trip down the California coast the following month, my beloved straw bag was the very first thing I threw into my suitcase—nestled carefully between stacks of swimsuits and towels, of course. Each morning of the trip, as I got dressed for the day, I was thrilled to discover that no matter what I’d donned—vintage jean cutoffs, a breezy beach cover-up, something a little nicer for lunch with friends—my trusty woven bag provided the perfect finishing outfit flourish. Together we ate seafood on the pier in Santa Barbara, watched Shakespeare outside in San Diego, and stuffed our faces silly with barbecue in LA. (I even considered bringing it along on a moderately strenuous hike.) Everywhere we went, strangers from all walks of life, from the checkout clerk at the farmers market, to our Airbnb host, to the couple sitting next to us at dinner, went out of their way to praise my new purse.

1970's box straw tote

By the end of the trip, my little woven bag felt more like an extension of my person than anything else. I’d mastered the art of opening it one-handed (no easy feat with an industrial-grade snap fastener), and knew just how to squeeze my wallet, sunglasses, and mini sunscreen inside without breaking a sweat. On the flight home, it sat loyally (and adorably) at my feet, a spot normally reserved for Bo—I just couldn’t bring myself to check it.

small basket bagIt’s safe to say I’m obsessed. If there was any doubt, the fact that I don’t even care that woven bags are officially everywhere (and that I wasn’t even close to the first person to hop on this particular bandwagon) confirms my full-blown infatuation. Is it trendy? Sure. Will I love it as ardently next year? Who’s to say? Maybe it’s a forever love, or maybe it’s just for a season. But one thing’s for certain: This summer, it’s my ride or die.

What are you obsessing over right now? Tell us in the comments.

About Katie Hawley

Katie Hawley
Katie Hawley is an editor. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

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  1. Valentina

    I have wanted to crochet the bag for myself a long time . But I do not have time. Now I am crocheting 2 orders – a big crochet doll and a rooster. After reading your post – I will definitely to make a my crochet bag.

  2. elle and belle Forster
    elle and belle Forster

    I love these woven bags too…so stylish and come in so many shapes and sizes. Haven’t aquired one yet though. Love the small one on the chair. I like the retro vibe. By the way, I also love your writing style…felt like we were sharing a conversation. 🙂 Have a great day!

  3. Jelena Odilova

    I weaving furniture for dolls. Also I want weaving handbag, for myself. Now I know that is trending things, so i need to find time to do that! <3

  4. These bags are so cute! I am using Japanese rayon raffia for my crochet summer bags and hats, love this material, it is Eco friendly and really does resemble natural raffia, and no smell whatsoever)

  5. renee and gerardo

    Super cute trend!! Lovely shift from summer to autumn season!!! TFS!!

  6. cindy Q.

    I have so many woven bags. The ones featured here are nice. Do your thing, dont wait for a trend. I am the trend for whatever I want to wear. So enjoy your bags, and thank for sharing! CQ

  7. Dorikri

    I love those bags, all so natural and stylish! Great article!! Thanks! Grazie!

  8. Charmaine

    I myself have joined the straw bag train. Love them. And you’re right, they are so versatile – they go with absolutely every type of outfit!

  9. Oh, such cute bags! I agree they’re relaxed and refined at the same time! Thank’s for sharing this wonderful story.

  10. Helen Skrynnik

    Very nice and stylish! I really want to try to crochet something like that!

  11. Katrina Dzerkale
    Katrina Dzerkale

    I can see myself carrying all the market goodies in the straw basket.

  12. These are really lovely! I especially like the straw market bag 🙂

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