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Before you commit to your first summer beach trip, you need to have the gear to execute the day successfully. More important than a towel or hat is the bag that will help you carry it all in. A designer beach bag can offer ample storage along with the luxurious vibe you need to live out your sunscreen-slathered fantasies. But, not all beach totes are created equal — investing in a designer tote bag that’s both practical and worthy of a spot on the Instagram feed takes some careful curation.
“Think about your beach essentials, and make sure your bag is large enough to stash your beach towel, a book, sandals and a cool drink,” suggests Lisa Park, Vice President/General Merchandise Manager of shoes, handbags and soft accessories at Bergdorf Goodman. “Durability is also key, so invest in something that will hold up to the elements — sand, sea, sun and water. Over-the-shoulder straps or easy-to-carry top handles are also essential as well as pouches or pockets to stash keys and valuables.” Unlike the bag you choose for your day-to-day activities around the city, a beach bag runs the risk of getting sandy, sun-soaked and possibly even drenched in salt water. So, if you’re investing in a luxury purchase, you want to make sure it can handle that type of wear and tear.
Designer beach bag trends for 2022
When it comes to this season’s of-the-moment styles, keep an eye out for luxury details paired with traditional summery materials. “Raffia, straw and canvas totes have been updated with leather embellishments such as caged straps or tassels,” Park says. JW Anderson is a favorite of hers for bold, summery designs. She also suggests Spanish label Loewe and French fashion house Chloé as standout designers for the season. As the fashion world embraces slouchier, 2000s-inspired silhouettes across handbag categories, you may also consider choosing a slouchier option over your usual stiff bag.
The different types of designer beach bags
Still, trends can only provide so much direction; the right bag for you is the one that fits your individual needs — including the upcoming occasion you’ll be breaking it out for. If you’re planning to travel, avoid a structured straw bag that may be too bulky to fit easily in your suitcase. Instead, opt for a soft leather or knit design. Instead, if you anticipate a more active day, you may want to consider something that can handle a bit of splashing — like a neoprene or plastic option. If you’ll be dressing for a beach wedding, think elegance and simplicity. Lastly, take stock of the aesthetic of your warm-weather destination. Bold, colored designs are fitting for tropical shores in locations like Hawaii or Costa Rica. A more classic silhouette and color scheme is suited for the south of France.
Below, shop the best designer beach bags no matter where you’ll be dipping your toes in the ocean.
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Top Designer Beach Bags
- Most Versatile Beach Bag: Tory Burch McGraw Bucket Bag
- Best Classic Beach Bag: Loewe Shell Basket Bag
- Best Crochet Designer Bag: Alanui Beach Break Tote
- Designer Tassel Beach Bag: Chloé Large Tassel Raffia Basket Bag
- Best Nylon Bag: The Row Drew Bag
- Prada Terry Tote Bag
- Best Open-Weave Designer Bag: Clare V. Sandy Tote
- Best Colorful Bag: JW Anderson Bicolor Tote Bag
- Best Mixed Media Designer Bag: Proenza Schouler White Label Morris Tote
- Best Canvas Bag: Raf Simons Canvas Tote Bag
- Also Consider Best Canvas Bag: Sir. Maurice Tote Bag
- Most Unique Beach Bag: Lastframe Ichimatsu Market Bag
- Best Fringe Bag: Petit Kouraj Fringe Net Tote Bag
- Best Eco-Friendly Beach Bag: Altuzarra Watermill Tote
- Also Consider Best Open-Weave Designer Bag: Cult Gaia Irma Tote
- Best Bag for Packing: Isabel Marant Color-Block Tote Bag
- Naghedi Large Tote Bag
- Best Small Beach Bag: Maria Oliver Chris Basket Drawstring Shoulder Bag
- Also Consider Most Versatile Designer Beach Bag: Dior Book Tote
- Also Consider Most Unique Beach Bag: Emily Levine Milan Juhu Tote
Tory Burch McGraw Bucket Bag
Most Versatile Designer Beach Bag
If you want a designer beach bag that can double for use around town, consider this leather die-cut bucket bag from Tory Burch. The style comes with a practical snap-on drawstring pouch for holding your essentials and that can be easily removed for cleaning. It’s also large enough to fit an iPad Pro or Kindle for your beach needs.
Loewe Shell Basket Bag
Best Classic Designer Beach Bag
Designer Jonathan Anderson has helped make Spanish label Loewe a must-own luxury option. This elephant grass tote bag with leather straps is simple and features a keychain with the brand’s anagram. “Loewe’s raffia totes are always a favorite, and since I have a fondness for elephants, the label’s Elephant totes are at the top of my list,” Park says. The wide shell-shaped opening of the basket is ideal for fitting a towel and other beach accessories inside.
Alanui Beach Break Tote Bag
Best Crochet Designer Beach Bag
Add some color to your warm-weather look with Alanui’s crocheted cotton tote in a colorful striped print. Inspired by the hues of the sunset, this lightweight bag with wide handles is a perfect piece to style back to a breezy white dress and gladiator sandals. An added bonus: This soft bag will easily fit in your luggage, making packing a breeze.
Chloé Large Tassel Raffia Basket Bag
Invest in a bag that is about more than just style. Chloé’s large basket bag is made in collaboration with Mifuko, a fair trade manufacturer that works with artisans in Kenya. The bag features long over-the-shoulder straps and colorful tassels that take this above your average woven bag. The inside is roomy and open, making it ideal for packing all the daily necessities for a trip to the ocean — from your book to sunscreen to a change of clothes.
The Row Drew Bag
Best Nylon Designer Beach Bag
Luxury can also be practical. The Row is known for its luxurious, minimalist staples, but this square nylon bag is a sporty option from the brand that you can easily bring along on beach days. The drawstring closure will keep your goodies safe, and the sturdy straps won’t cut into your shoulder as you schlepp your way to the sand. Stick to the pared-back aesthetic of The Row and stylet this piece with a black bikini or one-piece and neutral shorts.
Prada Terry Tote Bag
This square tote from beloved Italian fashion house Prada is the best bag if you’d consider your style trend-forward and fun. Consider wearing it with a relaxed tie-dye tee and denim cutoffs or elevate the ensemble with a cutout dress.
Clare V. Sandy Tote bag
Best Open-Weave Designer Beach Bag
Plan ahead to avoid the pesky sand that often makes it home with you inside of a deep beach bag. This woven rope bag by Clare V. allows any sand and debris to just fall right through. To keep smaller items secure, place them inside a zip bag and tuck it inside the tote. And, consider using the bag beyond the beach, as it makes a great farmer’s market tote for all of your fruits and vegetables.
JW Anderson Bicolor Tote Bag
Best Colorful Designer Beach Bag
“JW Anderson has super fun knitted shopper hobos and totes in a rainbow of colors,” Park says. This playful knit cotton bag is a departure from a standard tote bag, but it still can handle sitting in the sand all day. Pair this funky bag with bold beach pieces like a mesh dress layered over a bikini.
Proenza Schouler White Label Morris Tote
Best Mixed Media Designer Tote Bag
Proenza Schouler is a favorite label for New York’s fashion set, and its raffia tote bag is the ideal city-to-beach choice. The playful color and leather details give the bag an edge that fits NYC’s downtown style. Still, the raffia material is lightweight and sturdy enough to handle an afternoon in the sun.
Raf Simons Canvas Tote Bag
Best Canvas Designer Beach Bag
If you prefer lugging every potential accessory to the beach, you’re going to need a big bag. Raf Simons’ supersized canvas tote bag fits the bill. The soft, richly-colored style includes a zip top to keep your stuff protected. Be sure to pack all of your picnic snacks and a blanket inside — you’ve got room.
Sir. Maurice Tote Bag
Also Consider Best Canvas Designer Beach Bag
Trust beachy Australian label Sir. to create the perfect, simple carryall bag. The ivory tote, made of heavy-duty canvas, can handle serious wear and tear. The bag also comes with a removable zip pouch so you can keep your most important items with you for the day.
Lastframe Ichimatsu Market Bag
Most Unique Designer Beach Bag
Calling all color enthusiasts: Japanese label Lastframe’s bright checkered bag is a playful alternative to a more traditional beach bag. Checker print has been a popular choice among the fashion set over the last year, and it won’t be going anywhere this summer. To style, keep the rest of your look on the sporty side with denim shorts or comfy sport shorts and a baseball cap,
Petit Kouraj Fringe Net Tote Bag
Best Fringe Designer Beach Bag
The best beach tote for a night out is one that has something textural and eye-catching that takes it beyond just a catchall for your things. Petit Kouraj’s fringed tote bag, which is made in Haiti by artisans, has an elegance that is begging to be worn with a silky slip dress post-dip in the ocean. The netted construction means that any sand you may kick up on your evening out won’t make it back to the room with you.
Altuzarra Watermill Tote Bag
Best Eco-Friendly Designer Beach Bag
Park highlights one bag innovation worth paying attention to is the use of alternative materials. In its latest totes, Altuzarra employs cactus leather to create sleek options that do better for the environment. Perfect for shoppers seeking the best minimalist beach bag, the Watermill tote has a sculptural shape and simple lines that keep the style from feeling too casual.
Cult Gaia Irma Tote
Also Consider Best Open-Weave Designer Beach Bag
The bamboo top handle of Cult Gaia’s woven tote is a stylistic detail that instantly sets this option apart. The loose-woven body is made of Abaca straw and is both durable and chic. Opt for this beach bag if you’re spending an afternoon by the pool or have a sandals-only wedding to attend. Style it with a colorful dress and wedges.
Isabel Marant Color-Block Tote Bag
Best Designer Beach Bag for Packing
French label Isabel Marant’s raffia bag is begging for a trip to Cannes. The color-blocked body of the bag offers a bright twist on classic woven styles. Meanwhile, the leather details are durable and elevated. Plus, the silhouette is malleable, making this the best bag to pack in a suitcase without worrying about it being bent out of shape.
Naghedi Large Tote Bag
On the hunt for something that will hold up to the sand and ocean waves? Naghedi’s bag is made of woven neoprene — a sure sign that it can handle the elements. The graphic pink and white pattern pops, so there will be no losing sight of where you’ve claimed your spot at the beach.
Maria Oliver Chris Basket Drawstring Shoulder Bag
Best Small Designer Beach Bag
If you tend to pack light for your beach visits, “large totes have also been reinterpreted in smaller, everyday crossbody versions that are great for a stroll along the water,” Park suggests. This mini basket bag from Maria Oliver fits the necessities but keeps things simple. Pair it with a day-to-night dress and bring your bag along to dinner.
Dior Book Tote Bag
Also Consider Most Versatile Designer Beach Bag
Lean into the super luxurious by way of Dior’s popular book tote, first introduced by creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. The structured silhouette makes this the perfect bag if you’re looking for something that can play double duty for the beach and everyday use. The blue and white color scheme is timeless, and the top handles are big enough to slide over your shoulder if you desire.
Emily Levine Milan Juhu Tote Bag
Also Consider Most Unique Designer Beach Bag
Emily Levine’s silk-blend tote bag is handmade in Milan, Italy, and each bag created is one-of-a-kind. The slouchy silhouette adds a more relaxed feel to a beach outfit, and the oversized body of the bag is great for stowing necessities. If you’re on the hunt for a tote that doubles as a work of art, this is the one.
Meet the Expert
Lisa Park is the Vice President/General Merchandise Manager of shoes, handbags and soft accessories at Bergdorf Goodman. She has previously held similar high-level roles, with a focus on accessories, at Coach and Barneys New York.