The Fashion Memo

The Best Beach Bags For Vacation And Beyond

Beach-ready bags needn’t be the preserve of your vacation closet – elevated basket designs, sleek raffia styles and minimal linen totes all deserve a place in your everyday arsenal. GEORGIE LUCAS discovers the pieces to shop now, for home or away

‘Panier’ tote, Saint Laurent

When it comes to vacation packing, a beach bag is a suitcase stalwart. Look for a size that will hold all your escape essentials, plus a fabric that’s perfect for summer – think raffia, crochet or canvas – then style it with everything from easy kaftans and wafty white dresses to a bold bikini and denim cut-offs. But the beauty of the smartest picks lies in their closet longevity beyond beach-and-pool attire. Elegant finishing and thoughtful details ensure designs will work day-to-day, too, hitting refresh on tailoring or adding a warm-weather note to classic denim.

Basket-style designs have a timeless appeal beloved of Hollywood starlets from Brigitte Bardot to Grace Kelly, and exude a covetable Jane Birkin-esque French-girl insouciance. Look first to power brands that have taken the humble beach style and revamped it with low-key-luxe finishes and polished details. Saint Laurent’s ‘Panier’ tote is a perfect example, with its classic basket silhouette amped up with gleaming gold hardware and sleek leather straps. Elsewhere, Valentino Garavani’s spacious leather and faux-raffia design is a structured, elegant take, while Loewe’s raffia designs have gained cult status. Cue the brand’s angular black tote: part of the Paula’s Ibiza collaboration, it’s adorned with the label’s instantly recognizable moniker – simply attach the chic black leather shoulder strap for hands-free styling.

A beach bag is a great way to inject a touch of color into your vacation repertoire, too. Design house Ultraviolhat, which is new to NET-A-PORTER, creates colorful handcrafted accessories ideal for adding a bohemian mood, particularly its purple crochet tote. Or, for a flash of contemporary color, Gucci’s ‘GG’ monogrammed design is a refined take on the canvas tote that will work for both traveling and commuting. Chloé, too, offers a sophisticated iteration of the vacation carry-all – it’s ‘Woody’ tote is made from water-resistant linen, trimmed in cognac leather, and forms part of our NET SUSTAIN edit of more consciously crafted pieces.