Summer brings on so many wonderful things…fresh strawberries, juicy tomatoes, sandals, cotton dresses, broad-brim hats, and basket bags. These are all things I look forward to enjoying during these hot summer days.
Basket bags can be made of wicker, raffia, straw, paper, reed, or water hyacinth. They are usually trimmed with leather, fabric, or wood handles and bases. Although a multi color or special weave can provide all the visual interest needed, additional embellishments of flowers or fruit are common. Some designers such as Kate Spade and Timothy Woods make themed bags such as picnic basket or flower shop replicas.
At a very young age my parents took my sister and me on a vacation to Mexico. I can’t recall where we went or how long we were there, but I do still have my beaded necklace my parents purchased for me as well as my first basket bag! The yarn embellishment has been nibbled on by something through the years, but the bag is still in great condition! My bag is oval and my sister’s was round (my necklace had a lady pendant and my sister’s had a man pendant). I think the bag above used to have a lid with the little woven flowers (green, purple and yellow) in front of the bag affixed to the lid.
I have a few other basket bags from through the years. My mom and grandmom had a few basket bags that I still have.
Be they large or small, basket bags can be as cute as they are practical. Fill a large basket bag with all your beach or swimming pool needs such as a towel, water bottle, sun protection, lip balm, hat, and a few dollars. A medium sized basket bag can add to a summery outfit for daily wear, and a small evening bag made of raffia, straw or wicker will lend a bit of summer charm to any dinner date attire.
I am majorly crushing on a pink Prada Giardiniera Canvas and Leather-trimmed wicker tote, which is as rare as a unicorn. Even if I found it, I doubt I would spend the money for it. But if I decided it is worth getting a job, skipping dinner for a year, or selling my car to afford it, then you may see me sporting a used one! The one I dream of is pink wicker with pink handles and accessories (Prada has made them with blonde wicker and pink trim as well as lots of other color combinations). Not only does it have a perfectly proportioned top handle, but it includes a long strap which allows it to be worn as a crossbody or shoulder bag. It is perfection.
Loewe has some cute and practical basket bags if you like a designer bag, but of course a cute straw tote by any brand will prove its value through the summer. A large sturdy basket bag would be perfect for a summer picnic in the park. A thermos of peach lemonade (see my recipe here), a few snacks, and a magazine are all you need to while away the hours in the shade of a big tree on a quilt.
Basket bags are timeless. A search on eBay of vintage basket bags brings up lots of options in size, color, and price. Each one has its own unique character. There are bags to suit every budget and style. If you prefer a new bag, now is a perfect time to shop your local retailers for this summer staple!
I have found my woven bags to be pretty resilient. I am very careful with all my handbags because my mom taught us to keep our things looking like new. I wouldn’t carry any of these out on a rain-soaked day (might discolor or weaken the fibers), nor would I put lots of heavy things in them (might break the fibers or cause the bags to lose their shape). Any dirt is cleaned off before I put any of my bags away.
I would love to see photos of your favorite basket bag, both old and new! Do you have a basket bag on your wish list?