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At various times in my life, I have been strapped.
During college: Cash-strapped
At the beginning of my career: Bootstrapped
As a working mom-of-two: Time-strapped
These days, call me Salt-strapped — and, no, it has nothing to do with my sodium intake. Rather, it’s because of my obsession with the Salt strap, a handwoven purse strap that has completely transformed my handbag collection.
When I first read about the Salt strap, and how it was (along with a certain pair of clogs) the uniform for hipster Brooklyn moms, I laughed and thought, “Seriously, women are paying $138 for a strap that doesn’t come with a purse?”
But then I stalked the Salt strap on Instagram and was smitten.
The beautifully-curated feed shows the thick, colorful straps — which are handmade in Colombia and are similar to those on the bohemian-styled wayuu mochila bags from that country — paired with gorgeous designer bags.
They have calfskin leather tabs with brass hooks and can be attached to any bag with a removable strap. Though they only come in one length, on Instagram they all somehow manage to hang just so, making it the perfect crossbody accessory on models who I can only assume reside in the posh Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.
When it comes to handbags, I own a hodgepodge of styles. My biggest splurge was on a Louis Vuitton crossbody that I got for a steal from my favorite consignment shop. But I have plenty of $30 bags from Target or Marshalls. If it’s cute and versatile, I’ll carry it.
I finally ordered the Zoe strap from Salt, a classic black and bone pattern. It arrived within a week and I immediately paired it with purses of different colors and sizes. The woven cotton is exquisite and the wideness of the strap makes it more comfortable than most crossbody straps because it lies flat across your chest. And what’s really great is that it not only gives your purse a stylish flair, but also your outfit.
When summer came, I couldn’t resist getting a Salt for the season, so I bought the appropriately-named Sunny strap — a pattern in buttercup, tangerine and blush, with white leather tabs. I wore it in so many photos that a friend reached out to me on Facebook asking where I got it. Another friend asked me about it at the post office.
I have even evangelized the Salt strap to strangers like the woman sitting next to me at a bar. She ordered one on the spot from her phone.
Since wearing the Salt strap, I’ve noticed other stores are carrying similar products. Anthropolgie has the Zuma Bag Strap for $38. Lululemon has the Festival shoulder strap for the same price. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, where I wore my strap every day — it’s great for traveling — I noticed straps galore. One boutique had a beautiful display of straps made of colorful cloth, leather, chain and even acrylic.
But for me, I’ll stick with Salt. I’m considering the cobalt and ivory Duke strap next. That ought to shake things up this fall.
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As I was trying to justify the purchase of a Salt (which, according to its website would then make me a Salt “Shaker” — how cute is that?), I realized they reminded me of vintage guitar straps. Searching Etsy, I found similar styles made of varying materials at price points ranging from $17 to $70.
I bought a pretty, blue-patterned one for $34, and it’s nylon and adjustable. The quality is decent but the hooks seemed a little cheap. It works well, though, as a strap for my canvas work bag.
If you want to try out the trend on a budget, we've rounded up some more affordable options you might want to consider.
Easily attach this embroidered shoulder strap onto any bag, be it a clutch, a crossbody, a tote, and so on.
Customize any Lululemon mini bag or crossbody with an interchangeable shoulder strap that keeps things light and interesting.
Go the way of the rock star with a highly-rated strap that's easy on the wallet without sacrificing style.
The striped print of this Marc Jacobs adjustable strap adds a blue-flavored accent to any bag and its spring locks will help keep things in place but out of your way.
Give any bag new life with a vegan strap that's woven with vibrant, vintage-inspired designs.
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