I’m calling it: there is nothing in the sartorial world that is more wanderlust-enducing than a shell bag. There is something about the tinkling noise of shells and the texture of raffia that instantly brings lazy beach days to mind.
A natural extension of the shell jewellery trend from last summer, it serves up an equally nostalgic feel, you can totally imagine having made your own from pukka shells collected on the shore. And if you’re into that sentiment, then beaded bags will also bring you joy.
Shells were everywhere on the catwalk for the spring/summer 2019 shows. Risk-taking designers and brands such as Jacquemus, Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta adorned their accessories with shells during fashion month, and it was love at first site.
Meanwhile, Insta-worthy brands like Marri London and Aranaz put their own twist on the classic basket bag thanks to giant gold-plated and delicate shells, and you can always count on the high-street for budget-friendly options too: we’re looking at you Mango and Zara.
But for all its souvenir appeal, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a holiday-only trend. The shell bag lends itself remarkably well to occasion dressing, and it’s the perfect finishing touch to a wedding guest outfit.
Don’t believe me? Look at Gucci’s mermaid-worthy crystal embellished shell bag or KAYU’s rattan clutch bag. WALD Berlin is also launching its own line very soon and it’s looking pretty spectacular.
That doesn’t mean you can’t put a casual spin on the trend either. Pairing it with a linen bermuda shorts suit and ugly sandals will give you a fresh, urban look, or you can keep things classic with a knitted top and trousers, Riviera-style. Either way, this is undoubtedly the bag of the season, and I can see it easily making its way into my autumn/winter wardrobe too.
Shop my edit of the best shell bags below.