Bags

Basket à la Birkin

You may recall that my Kayu tote played an essential role in my efforts to savor the remainder of summer. Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve gotten ample use out of it; I’m now content with moving into autumn. In my search for a simple bag that was appropriate for all seasons, Jane Birkin’s signature straw basket came to mind. The actress purchased the item in Portugal (so the story goes), and it was always seen dangling over her arm. It’s evident from photographs of the singer in the 70s that there wasn’t a place the basket wouldn’t go. It accompanied her on errands, to the seaside, and even on nights out with Serge Gainsbourg. It was with her no matter the season.

I considered a lot of baskets before selecting one of medium size from AlbaATN (on Etsy). It’s lightweight, and I’m pleased with its size and shape. I intend to pair my new addition with outfits that don’t require tights (they’d snag). I’ll certainly bring it on errands that don’t require me to carry too many items (e.g. picking up a lemon or two from the grocery store; not on days when I’m due to retrieve my alterations). I doubt I’ll be carrying it to dinner at Parc, but we’ll see. I’ve personalized the handle with a Ratti-print scarf to give it un certain je ne sais quoi.

Works Sighted

AlbaATN (on Etsy) Jane Birkin basket (medium); J.Crew Ratti print scarf (sold out)

Further Reading

At 70, Jane Birkin’s Style Is More Iconic Than Ever (Vogue)

Upgrade Your Summer Bag Game With Jane Birkin’s Signature Basket (Vogue)

The Straw Market Basket

My straw market basket inspires me to pursue adventures of a culinary nature. Large straw baskets are commonly found in the hands of market shoppers all over France. Aside from being stylish, they make a statement about the way the French shop for their food; les Français value fresh, quality ingredients and eating together in an unhurried fashion. My food goals exactly!

I used to go to the farmers’ market every Saturday morning. I enjoyed surveying all of the options around the perimeter. The Amish selling meat, eggs, and milk. The self-made cheesemongers. The produce. Everything at the market was deliciously fresh, but the prices were significantly higher than those at Trader Joe’s (my most-frequented grocery store). It wouldn’t have been economical of me to buy everything on my grocery list from local vendors, so I limited my market haul to a few items each week.

When I lived in London, I’d buy produce from the market on Church Street. In central London, I found the prices to be lower at the market than they were in the grocery stores. I’d buy everything else from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, or Tesco, but the market was consistently my one-stop-shop for all produce. Rarely did I spend over £7 on fruit and vegetables for the week.

My husband and I buy most of our groceries from Trader Joe’s, but I intend to start visiting the farmers’ market again for the experience. Ultimately, the outing is an opportunity to take a stroll in a pleasant outdoor environment, something that has been difficult to come by in Philadelphia as of late. Of course, I’ll be pretending to be in Paris the whole time anyway. You’ll recall that savoring the last days of summer is pretty high up on my list of priorities. Not only is the straw basket a farmers’ market staple, it is also roomy enough to hold picnic essentials. Think of throwing down your blanket in the Parc du Champ-de-Mars! I’ll be dinning en plein air at least once a week until the autumn chill sets in.

Works Sighted: LARLiving large French market basket

 

Kayu Mini Behati Tassel Straw Tote

I’ve always considered the first day of August to be the beginning of the end of summer. Every year around this time, I reflect on my summer accomplishments and contemplate whether or not I’ve spent enough time outside. My reflections on the present season have led me to realize that I’ve spent too much time inside, and now I feel obligated to take full advantage of August. Step one of savoring the remainder of the summer: carrying a straw bag. I often daydream about being back in Paris. Recently, I’ve envisioned myself there carrying a variety of straw bags. I’m not doing anything particularly thrilling—being in Paris is enough. The straw tote symbolizes a carefreeness that many of us haven’t experienced in a long time.

Kayu’s mini Behati tassel straw tote was the first addition of its kind to my closet. I’ve been carrying it often, even on walks around the block. The brand produces bags made of real straw, not the synthetic, straw-like material commonly found in similar products on the market. Furthermore, the brand’s bags are woven by women in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia; the craftsmanship has been passed down through generations. The company’s social impact initiative and handmade approach to production make my purchase even more meaningful. Although I’ve only made one purchase from Kayu thus far, I’ve added a few more items to my dream list. I know I’ll have to stow the mini Behati away when fall arrives, but for now, I’ll enjoy the joie de vivre it stirs up within me.

Works Sighted

Kayu mini Behati tassel straw tote; Castañer Carina 60mm wedge espadrille

Espadrilles and Rattan Clutches

Espadrilles are my favorite spring/summer shoe. The sturdy jute wedge, textured canvas, and luxurious grosgrain ties had me at hello. During the summer of 2016, I wore a pair every day of the work week, and I remember how desponded I was when the time came to tuck them away in the closet at the end of the season. Back when we could enjoy social occasions like brunch, date nights at the movies, or vacations in general, my espadrilles were frequently cast as stars in my outfits. I’m not sure how I made it this far without an appropriate summer clutch to pair with them. This season, I made it my mission to find two clutches, either in rattan or straw, that would compliment my espadrille collection: one that would pair well with my dark espadrilles and one that would suit the lighter pairs. I decided on one style of clutch in two different colors. They are proving themselves very versatile, and the optional chain renders them exceptionally functional.

Works Sighted

J.Crew rattan clutch with chain strap; Castañer Carina 60mm Wedge Espadrille; Brooks Brothers skirt (old)