Taking the Rug (Bag) to the Beach

Summer "Rug" Bags at Yvonne-Estelles

 If this doesn’t say “summer” then what does?

Whether you’re scouting fresh vegetables at the local farmers’ market or collecting souvenirs during vacation. We think this “rug” bag from Dash and Albert is the quintessential summer beach bag ($58).

Look for it at specialty retailers, such as Yvonne-Estelles or order directly from Dash and Albert. Made in India, these bags are use woven construction and are hand-loomed, just like the popular and festive rugs – thus their moniker “rug bag.” 

"Tangerine Dream" from Dash and Albert

There are plenty of styles to choose from, including the “Nantucket” and the “Tangerine Dream” (one of our personal favorites!). The bags have plenty of style and, lots of room (19″ x 16″ x 3″) and are topped with soft leather handles – making this an ideal carry-all for any excursion! 

Ochre Weaves Beauty in Beach Bags

Beach bags from Ochre

With so many styles of beach bags to choose from these days, it’s difficult to imagine settling for just one. But if you so choose, Ochre offers a bag that could be your one-and-only and truly take you through the season.  There’s no doubt – it’s a classic!

The chic yet traditional shape makes it flexible enough to use on and off the beach. Carry it with you shopping or pack a picnic lunch in it! This woven grass bag is a light weight carryall – not to mention a smart investment at only $60.

If you’re not familiar with Ochre, we certainly suggest taking a few moments to visit the store online (or in person if you’re in NY).  The concept began with two friends attending a London art school and eventually expanded (in partners and location) to Soho. Much of what Ochre offers, from pottery to furniture,  is hand crafted by artisans around the globe. They also offer carefully selected vintage pieces.

All of the finds are a reflection of the partners’ collective personal style and careful eye for details and trends. In fact, you can see their knack for design first-hand in the April issue of House Beautiful . Ochre’s very own  Harriet Maxwell and Andrew Corrie have their home featured in the magazine. The casual elegance of this “beach-y” style abode is filled with natural woods and lovely accessories that would make anyone feel at home.  You can even see the home office where they discuss, plan and design for the store.  It’s easy to see why Ochre is such a success – and why this classic woven beach bag is a must-have for the summer!

Kate Spade Goes to the Beach… in Wellingtons

Toting Kate Spade's Wellee Maggee

Utility, wit and playful sophistication…” This is how the Kate Spade brand envisions itself. Truthfully, it seems pretty accurate to us. In fact, we think the same description also easily describes one of Kate Spade’s most recent offerings for spring – the Wellee Maggee bag.

If the name sounds familiar, then you might recognize its source of inspiration – the longtime favorite rain gear, Wellington boots.  All you fashion buffs may well know the history of these practical-turned-charming boots, but we were in the dark so had to do a little digging.

Turns out the “first” Duke Wellington commissioned the leather (yes, that was the first material of choice) boots for his hunts. They were so likable, they quickly became the fashion statement of the time.  Eventually, synthetics came to be and the boot design was recast in its now infamous rubber design. That’s when the utility of the all-weather design was seen as the ideal gear  for farmers, everywhere and a new generation of “commoners” embraced the iconic boot.  From there forward, there was no stopping the Wellington. The boot eventually became a useful accessory for rain days for folks around the globe and it has long since morphed from its basic black to a boot of endless design possibilities, covered with everything from polka dots to  little Scotties.  From kids to grown ups, and from gardening to hailing a cab – these boots have served us well for centuries!

Angelina from Kate Spade

That said, it only seems fitting that a much-loved 21st century designer should re-purpose the endearing Wellington boots.  We love that Kate Spade has taken this all-weather boot and turned it into a stylish bag, that, quite frankly, just makes us smile every time we see it.  Admittedly, Kate does not refer to this little gem as a “beach bag” but we couldn’t help but immediately see it as such. With its sunny-day stripes,  water-proof exterior, modest handles for toting, and its obvious beach-bag-design… how could it not be ideal for toting your most treasured items seaside? At just under $200, it’s certainly a more expensive option for toting your sunscreen, but we feel certain you’ll want to fork over the clams for this one!

Don’t think Spade’s influence on beach style stops there.  Because, sometimes, it’s also about what’s in the bag! If you’re toting the Wellee Maggee to the beach, then we’re betting you may just have a few more stylish beach coverups to go with it  – starting with these great spectacles.  The “Angelina” sunglasses ($148) make your eyes look

iPhone with Style

fabulous while providing 100 percent UV protection for lounging seaside. For those of us who can rest peacefully and insist on staying connected at the beach, the iPhone cover from Kate Spade  ($30) is another must-have. It’s a silicone case, complementing the whimsical stripes of the Wellee Maggee bag – and it fits both the 3G and 3Gs iPhones. As an inspiring treat, the inside of the cover has the inscription, “have courage.” What’s not to love?

Oh, and there’s one more item for all your beachside reading this summer.  For those of you with the electronic reader, the Nook, Kate Spade and company have given it a stylish coverup with “Bella” ($85) – which was designed by Brooklyn artist, Bella Foster. This 100 percent cotton

Bella for the Nook

canvas cover is cute, but we do wish it were available in the matching rubberized Wellee style! At any rate,  you are sure to enjoy this collection of Kate Spade beach-worthy accessories!

Sailing’s in the (Beach) Bag with Ella Vickers

Beach Bags Set Sail

Batten down your personal treasures this summer with these stylish, sea-loving bags from sailing’s first-mate-turned-designer, Ella Vickers.

There are so many reasons to love these’ striking, eco-friendly designs!  They are certain to become your favorite beach bags this summer.  As part of the Recycled Sailcloth Collection, the bags are constructed from discarded and reclaimed yacht sails from around the world. Ella, a previous first mate on an Americas Cup, first created bags for herself out of worn sails. As the story goes, folks at regattas and other events would literally buy the bags right off her arm. Needless to say, that’s all it took and a great business idea was born! Since then, Ella and crew have given crafty remakes to sails from around the world and have recycled over 20 thousands yards of sailcloth from landfills.

In addition to the fact that this is such a stylish way to go green, we simply adore the way she has used the various types of sailcloth to create beach bags that are both usable and trendy. The designs vary by the type of cloth used, but the White Dacron Cruising sailcloth is used primarily for the beach bags, duffles and totes. She also incorporates the Kevlar Racing sailcloth into more sophisticated handbags and cocktail purses (they are very sheik!).  Given the nature of the materials, you can rest assured that all hold up nicely to a day at the beach, or simply getting caught in the rain on the way to dinner!

Crisp White Dacron Sailcloth Tote

If you happen to have your own discard sailcloth by the wayside, Ella offers the opportunity for you to help recycle and send it her way. In exchange, she’ll return a custom-made  beach bag of your very own. Simply send the sailcloth to: Ella Vickers Inc. at 7507 Anaca Point Rd. in Wilmington, NC 28411 or visit her website for more details.  If you simply want to purchase one (which we feel certain you will), bags range from around $90 to $190 for beach bags and totes, and the small handbags start at just over $50.  And, if you happen to be in Greenwich, Connecticut, be sure to stop by and visit her store at 85 Greenwich Avenue.

Green Beach Bags for a Recycled Twist

Eco-friendly Tote from Free People

In preparation for the upcoming beach season, one of my favorite activities is searching for beach bags that celebrate the season in style. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the brightly colored hues and massively over-sized bags that represent a day in the sun. Maybe it’s the promise these bags hold – filled with all the goodies that make being surf side so much fun; whatever the reason, I am simply enchanted by beach bags of all types!   So, today, I am excited to help 365Beach kick off it’s look at beach bags for the 2010 summer season and will post a new find each week.

To get started, why not take a gander at a bag that’s good for you and the environment.  Made from recycled plastic, such as rice paper bags, and detergent and storage bags, each bag is unique with color and design varying. That’s right – environmentally friendly and one of a kind!

Who wouldn’t love this roomy, weather-proof bag to tote your favorite things? Not to mention, at $38  this bag is one of the more affordable green accessories and can be ordered from Free People.