This past weekend Vlad and I attended a wedding on the west coast of Florida. While we had beautifully sunny skies, the thermometer was reaching over 90 degrees at 6:00 pm. That means two things: we were sweating profusely and summer has arrived. Living in Florida, which is known as the sunshine state, means we have an easy time getting to the beach no matter where in the state we are. Truth be told, Vlad and I are not huge beach goers, but we will use the beach and resort pools from time to time.

I have never had it in me to buy a strictly beach tote. The reason is because of what I said above, not being a huge beach fan. But I feel like it may be time to spruce up my beach bag department, which is lacking right now. Raffia and straw are perfect materials for beach bags. Designers from Balenciaga, to Jimmy Choo, to more contemporary designers like Antik Batik are making perfect beach totes.

But how much are you willing to spend on a beach bag?

Here we have two very similar looking beach totes, but one is 3.3 times more expensive than the other. Fact is, I find it fairly simple to tell the expensive one from the look for less version. Let’s break it down and see what we think:

While I can’t personally imagine spending nearly $1,000 on a beach bag, the Jimmy Choo Bazli Raffia and Leather Tote is a looker. The combination of raffia with dark brown leather leather gives a very edgy appearance that would by no means be an ordinary or lackluster beach bag. The outside brings so many unique touches to transform this bag from a raffia tote to a stylish bag. In fact, the more I look at this bag the more I think it might be too nice for the beach or pool. What I also know is that people in South Florida are always dressed to impress, and this would be one of the most fashionable beach bags out there. Buy the Jimmy Choo Tote via NAP for $995.

The Antik Batik Cerena Tote is not only more affordable but also has a more laid back design than its Jimmy Choo counterpart. The shape of this bag and pairing of the woven banana-leaf with leather trim is reminiscent of the Jimmy Choo bag but there is a bit less structure and more of a casual feel, which makes this a great beach option. Buy the Antik Batik Tote through ShopBop for $300.

Tell us: What do you carry to the beach or pool?

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