Straw Handbags

I have been looking for a good Summer Straw Handbag. I originally had thoughts of taking it on my trip with me but as chic as it might be it’s not practical, according to Husband. But we’ll see about that. 

I currently have the Village Green Bag from Anthropologie that I purchased last year on sale. I have yet to use it but can’t wait to do so. I thought about adding a drawstring bag inside it to thwart off thieves on our trip. It’s big enough to hold what I need for the flight and for my sight-seeing during the day. It has a flap with a turn-lock closure as well. I’ll have to see if I can convince Husband of it.
Next is one I’ve been using the past week. It’s the Medium Straw Beach Bag from J Crew, circa 2007. It’s a little on the heavy side for me and isn’t very comfortable when I try to carry it on my shoulder. It’s also open with only two suede strings to tie at the top. It is lined in a blue and white striped cotton twill. It’s still a very cute bag and will be used quite well this summer.
I was immediately in love with the Brompton Straw Mini-Hobo from J Crew when it showed up a few weeks ago. Then after seeing DaniBP’s review of it I was sold on it. I love my Suede Brompton, which is full size.. 
Lastly, is the Kate Spade Cobble Hill Straw Leslie Bag. I chose black over white because I thought it would be more functional and then I saw on the Kate Spade site that it also came in Aqua. 
Since I already have the first two bags, and they really are no comparison to the Brompton or the Leslie, I will need to choose between the latter two. 
1) Closure – I prefer a bag that has good closures but is still easy enough to get in to. I don’t want to fumble around with zippers and buckles and snaps to get to my wallet, lipstick or hand cream. The Brompton has a turn lock closure for the main compartment. It also has a top zip for the side pocket that is the full length and width of the bag. The Straw Leslie has the zipper you see in the photo that opens to the interior of the bag. The flap stays closed with a hidden magnetic closure. So if you want to access what’s inside you’ll have to keep it unzip (which is what I would do) or unzip it every time you need something. Winner: Brompton
2) MaterialThe Brompton is a nylon straw while The Straw Leslie is a natural straw. I don’t know how  it would hold up after a few months of use. I know it’s Kate Spade and a great quality bag but you are dealing with a natural material that, if it gets snagged or cut, could start unravelling. The straw on the KS looks to be more tightly woven than the JC bag. Winner: Leslie
Brompton on the left; Straw Leslie on the right
3) Carrying OptionsThe Brompton has a handle with a  6 1/2″ drop along with an additonal strap to change the bag to a cross-over body bag. The Straw Leslie has a handle with a 4″ drop as well as the cross-body strap. The Brompton can be carried on the shoulder while The Straw Leslie does not have that option due to the short drop. Winner: Brompton

4) Size – Both are almost the same size. Some would consider these small bags but, at least for me and my size/height, I consider it a Medium bag. I think both are a perfect size bag for me and don’t overpower my frame. Winner: The Straw Leslie
5) OtherThe Brompton is a little lighter in color than The Straw Leslie but that doesn’t bother me. I like the contrasting color of the leather on The Brompton but I also like the black of The Straw Leslie.  The Straw Leslie has feet! I love that little feature on bags as it helps to protect the bag when you set it down. The Brompton just has the contrasting leather at the bottom with no other protection. I think The Brompton is roomier but probably because it less structured as The Straw Leslie. Winner: Tie

So, as you can see, I like a lot of the features of both bags. The gold-plated feet at the bottom sell me on The Straw Leslie while the ability to carry The Brompton on my shoulder is a selling point for that bag. I can’t decide.
Which would you choose? 


  1. April 11, 2012 / 2:40 pm

    thanks for the reviews.
    i just reviewed a straw clutch from H&M(similiar to jcrews brompton) if you are interested.

  2. April 11, 2012 / 3:11 pm

    Love the Brampton and will probably get it this weekend!!

    Art by Karena

  3. April 11, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    The Brompton, hands down (also because the color is more neutral). I think a cobbler can add the feet if it bothers you.

  4. April 11, 2012 / 4:13 pm

    I know, right? I am torn between these exact two bags and also this one in black:

    I rec'd the first two, but not the Michel Kors… I thought I would like the KS much better b/c of the better protection, but I do like that the Brompton is so neutral. But I also love KS interiors; they always always make me smile. That must count for something.

    Let us know what you decide!

  5. April 11, 2012 / 4:48 pm

    Thanks for mentioning my review of the Brompton! I haven't used mine yet though I keep gazing at it in my closet. I can't wait for warmer weather so I can use it.
    Your list of pros and cons is excellent. They are pretty much tied! I agree with Ema however about the neutral aspect of the Brompton: I think if you wear lots of black in the summer the Leslie would be a good choice, but I know you like color. I think the Brompton would be more versatile.
    And guess what, I owned that JCrew straw bag from 2007, I just gave it away earlier this year, the Brompton replaced it.
    I'll be interested to know what you decide!

  6. April 11, 2012 / 6:55 pm

    Oh my! Great reviews. I think I like the JCrew bag just a smidgen more. Just because!

  7. April 11, 2012 / 9:23 pm

    If I am going to go for a straw bag, then I would choose a real straw one. The Straw Leslie is just a bit more structured, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of the Brompton's shape, but I think the Straw Leslie is nicer.

    You can carry it on your shoulder using the shoulder strap. And the black adds just a touch more class to it, and makes it more versatile, I think.

  8. April 12, 2012 / 12:27 am

    Brompton looks sharper!

  9. April 12, 2012 / 2:01 am

    Oh choices, choices- I personally like the full straw one, in case dk leather bleeds, but there is no way knowing it for sure.

  10. April 12, 2012 / 8:53 am

    I like both on you and was torn the entire time. However, I'm going to say I think the Brompton is more you. Also, you wear the best colors, so having an all neutral bag, no colorblock, will be nice. The black might compete for attention w/components of some outfits.

  11. April 13, 2012 / 2:05 pm

    Kate Spade has a 7 day price adjustment…If I were you, I would go back as soon as possible and get the price changed to reflect the friends and family 25% discount. I just ordered the white one version of the Leslie. I really liked the cobble hill bag in Palamino, but I couldn't pay full price after seeing it already on sale once…and then back to full price.

    I personally don't like the Brompton bag…the shape looks frumpy.

  12. April 18, 2012 / 6:23 pm

    I prefer the Leslie, I think it's more classy and I like that it's more structured, so it will probably hold up better over the long run.