As soon as Fendi announced its Strap You line of mix-and-match bag straps, it was foretold. As with bag charms, Fendi had not exactly invented the product category–a handful of brands, most notably Louis Vuitton, have sold simple, a la carte straps for years–but it took the straps to their logical creative extremes, and customers responded. And when customers respond, other brands tend to leap into action.
If you feel like you’ve noticed a lot of straps popping up lately, you’re right–they’re abundantly available at virtually every price point from $50 to $1,500, every aesthetic from ultra-girly to industrial and in materials from canvas to crocodile. Virtually all high-end online retailers have added a “bag accessories” designation to their shopping category navigation, and those areas are filled mostly by bag charms, straps and a few other embellishments like leather stickers. As seasons tick by, more and more designers enter the category, and its rapid growth shows no signs of slowing.
I shopped around for 20 of the best bag straps, which you can check out below, and during that process, it became clear that there are basically two types of straps available: those under $500, which are accessible to shoppers who want a little variety and personalization for their existing bags, and those above $500, which are a new way to sell to a consumer class that has so much money it has run out of other things to buy.
As a shopper, my interest is mainly in the straps that cost a couple hundred bucks or less, and that interest is mainly practical. I have several bags whose straps are the primary reason I don’t use them more often–either they’re too short, too thin, too difficult to adjust or worn out from past use. Spending $100 or $200 to get those much more expensive bags back into my rotation is a lot more affordable than buying a new bag entirely, and when a good leather repair shop will charge you almost that much to fix a worn strap anyway, it might even be a genuinely valuable option for shoppers to have. On the other end of the price spectrum, well–$1,500 means wildly different things to different people.