Spring is in the air - which means I’m back to re-evaluating my wardrobe and wondering how I tackle the four-seasons-in-one-day approach that comes hand-in-hand with living in Wellington.
Typically, I tend to go most of the year with just one or two styles of handbag; something simple, cross-body and usually made of leather. When the weather starts to warm up, however, I need something a bit lighter to brighten my outfits and give my shirt-jean combo a cool Summer twist. Enter my love of wicker bags.
The key to getting a spring in my step this year has been to embrace trans-seasonal layers and adding cute Spring and Summer accessories, like these woven wicker bags. They’ve helped re-invigorate my wardrobe without costing the earth and there’s also a style of woven bag for everybody. From the wide French-lavender-picking bag to picnic basket clutches and rattan bags, a woven number is an essential addition to your look as we move into the warmer months of the year. Whether you’re heading out for an evening out, or walking to work on a busy day, a wicker bag will take you far, with the minimum faff.
For example, here I’ve worn a mix of clothes I’d champion for all seasons: a classic blue shirt from Witchery;* blue denim from Glassons; a recycled raincoat by Okewa Rainwear (made from recycled plastic bottles); a cashmere cream jumper for when it gets chilly by HejHej;* and a pair of crisp white Bata Bullets. I already owned these pieces and was able to restyle them for a different twist on Spring dressing. I tend to wear my clothes year-round so see no reason why you couldn’t wear this combo on a casual Friday in Summer or layered with scarf and gloves in Winter. Just remove the pullover and coat, swap sneakers for sandals - et voila! A great trans-seasonal look for any capsule wardrobe that will bridge these unpredictable late Spring days where sometimes we have a chill and others it feels sub-tropical. Typical Wellington!
As for the bag? Well, you absolutely want to select something that’s quality, but which fits your budget and your lifestyle, which is why I recommend having a bit of a shop around when it comes to finding the right one.
Two places I love are Witchery and Cranfields. Witchery has an ever-changing list of beautiful clothing, such as this simple blue cotton shirt which I adore (c’est French chic, mais non?). They also have a great selection of accessories to revive your wardrobe when the seasons change and you don’t want to buy into a whole new trend by splashing out on a pricey jacket, skirt or dress. Adding accessories is a great way to experiment without emptying your wallet. Their earrings, headbands, bags, scarves and shoes are all a great way to double down on something chic and elegant, to give you a fresh look.
But let’s focus on what to look for in a woven bag. Fortunately, most Summer bags and accessories don’t need a huge amount of investment - I like that both these labels have heaps of options for under $100 - and even cheaper in many cases. You need to keep it easy, breezy - after all, come Winter you’ll stow this one away - so unless you find a bag which is the woven bag of your dreams, keep things affordable.
Witchery Summer Wishlist
The first and most important thing when selecting a Summer bag is it must be lined! You can’t have your lipstick and bus ticket falling everywhere. There’s no point in looking fashionable if a bag doesn’t work (sorry, Cult Gaia bag). I really like that the honeypot bag* has a sturdy Calcio lining which means nothing can go through the gaps in the structure. Ditto the Cranfield’s rattan bags which are all lined on the inside with colourful patterned lining. No matter how trendy a bag is, you need to think practically: “Will my iPhone slide out of this when I’ve had too many bellini’s?” If the answer is yes, avoid.
Second, it must be roomy. A honeypot bag is a great option because it surprisingly has more room than you’d expect. It fits my phone, wallet and keys all with no troubles. Of course, in Summer you probably shouldn’t load your bag stuffed full of items. You want to keep it simple. Streamline what you carry, or opt for a wide woven market-style option. The point is to look casual and free, not like you are a weighed down mule.
I have to say I’ve got a bit of a woven bag collection growing. From my round rattan bag from last season to this seasons honeypot bag and super cute rectangle rattan bag (plus the black one which is great for evenings), they’re perfect to sling on your shoulder and go for a little dance in the cherry blossoms. I’d completely recommend adding one (or three) to your Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe!
Wicker Bag Wishlist
All products with * were gifted. Rattan bags loaned from Cranfields, although I own one of my own which is not pictured.
Photos by Dinosaurtoast.