Five for Finding: The Straw Tote

Quick anthropology lesson. From the dawn of history, developing cultures around the world recognized something simple and yet brilliant: humans interact with “stuff.” Stuff to eat, stuff to keep warm. And eventually, stuff to keep other stuff in. I’ll skip a bunch of steps after this…and voila: basket-weaving. Unless you were lucky enough to find bowl shaped rocks.

Leave it to designers to take what was once a task of necessity and turn the end product into a brand. But lip-biting aside, there’s beauty in this on two levels: the baskets themselves, and the idea that we’re preserving something global–a common artform discovered by every indigenous population, independent of one another, time and time again.

We also used it to make picnic baskets. But strictly speaking, that’s wicker.

We’re accustomed to thinking of straw bags as a spring/summer thing–my guess is we somehow associate the spaces creating by weaving with words like “light” and “airy.” Straw totes in particular have great long-term style potential: even if they’re gone for a season, you can count on a revival a year or two later. With that in mind, I like to think that if you put enough of a twist on a conservative style–an odd stripe, a second material–you’ve got a piece you can count on.

These are five straw totes for finding:

1: Rafe New York, $95, nordstrom.com
2: Juicy Couture, $128, juicycouture.com
3: Medwinds, $176, yoox.com
4: Tory Burch, $238, toryburch.com
5: Dolce & Gabbana: $1495, saksfifthavenue.com

Rafe New York

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About Five for Finding

Five for Finding aims to get us thinking about whether trends apply to our personal style. I don’t want to call it a “Must Haves” list; I’ve never been big on bloggers, publicists or editors (even the ones I know) as an all-encompassing Bible of accessories that consumers should buy (especially the ones I know). Rather, think of this as more of an area for “trend observation.” It’s somewhere to look at innovative pieces with a common theme that are relevant to the way we dress because they’re in stores and online right now.

Maybe there’s an idea in here that fills a great void in our own closets; maybe there’s an idea so off-base, we’d never consider it an appropriate add to our individual wardrobes. But what’s most important is that as ideas, they’ll get us thinking about how we like to dress, how trend relates to the way we express ourselves and how others receive us. Perhaps something will make us consider the way we spend and whether purchases have been worthwhile. And ultimately, if we’re cool with it, the good news is that they’re available today.

Lastly, something about me. I’m a little bit of an industry insider–equal emphasis on the words “little bit” and “insider.” I’ve worked on design teams for some of the best (and some of the most-unknown) brands you’ve heard of: Tommy Hilfiger, Club Monaco, Henri Bendel, Victoria’s Secret, Lacoste, Movado and TUMI, amongst others. I’m a guy who at the office is both highly-informed and highly-ignored, but heck, that’s design. And yup, I’m a guy. A guy who knows some stuff. But a guy supportive of anyone who expresses the pursuit of their passions, professionally or off-hours, male or female.



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