We have a deep-rooted need for the sea - a longing for the great blue beyond that we may not even fully comprehend. We feed it with beach vacations, white-noise machines and every marine-themed piece we can find: from fish purses to mermaid decorations to Breton prints. 

Just imagine yourself lying on the beach, with the gentle sunshine warming your skin and the cool sea breeze tickling your cheeks. You close your eyes, and listen to the waves crash against the shore in their own offbeat rhythm - swept away in the sound of sea spray and gulls.

Awwww. Doesn’t that just lower your blood pressure?

There is a reason we love the ocean so much. And it’s even backed by science! 

So, my fabulous finless merperson, grab your fish purse and your bowl of sea salt popcorn and settle in for some watery wisdom. Then, we’ll dive into the best marine-themed bags for your ocean obsession. 

Why do we love the sea? 

The ocean is a fascinating and mesmerizing place. The underwater seascape captures our imagination and draws us in with the mysteries of the unexplored - because the vast majority of it IS unexplored.

Mankind has seen less than 20% of the ocean. And what a fabulous 20% that is! 

Take a plunge into the sea and watch schools of colourful fish swirling through jagged watery cities of coral, majestic whales surfacing from the deep and pods of dolphins playing catch with bulbous pufferfish. 

The ocean is home to so many bizarre and fabulous creatures, from flying fish to too-cute dumbo octopuses to indestructible water bears (which are also lovingly known as moss piglets.) 


It’s no wonder we love the ocean, but its beautiful creatures are just one small part of why we thalassophiles exist. 

There is a reason we choose seaside vacations and put pictures of the white sand beaches as our laptop backgrounds. 

Nothing makes us more at peace than the sea. Watching it, hearing it, floating in it - you name it! 

There is a physical response within our bodies and within our brains when we look at the ocean. 

We love the ocean because of the Blue Mind: a ‘mildly meditative state characterised by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.’ 

This mindful state can reduce stress, lower our blood pressure, and alleviate anxiety and pain. And we seem to instinctively know that being around water makes us healthier and happier. 

Not only does the ocean relax us - it's the stuff of life! 

Ocean plankton provides more than half our planet’s oxygen. And, over a billion people worldwide rely on fish and seafood for their main source of protein. 

We use water to hydrate, clean, travel, ship goods and power our buildings - not to mention all our marine recreational pastimes. 

And if you want to bring a bit of the beach home with you, what better way than with your wardrobe? 

So, to get your closet in shipshape, here is the low down on nautical fashion. 

From stripes to fish purses: all about nautical fashion

Fashion trends change and recycle themselves regularly - but some looks are iconic, and defy the passing of time. Nautical fashion is just such a look. 

Nautical fashion trends first began in mid-19th-century England when Queen Victoria wanted a rather dashing sailor suit made for her son, Albert Edward, to wear on the royal yacht. 

At that time, the British Royal Navy was expanding its power across the globe, and naval uniforms were seen as a symbol of bravery, good fortune and loyalty to the nation. 

When a painting was commissioned of Prince Albert in his sailor uniform, the rest was history. Everyone wanted a fashionable sailor suit of their own. 

Men and women alike found inspiration in navy uniforms and yacht attire. The idea of life on the high seas was not only a romantic one, but a high-status one, and everyone wanted a piece of it. 

But what constitutes a nautical look?

Let’s break down the key pieces of a sea-worthy wardrobe:

Horizontal stripes 

If you want to look instantly nautical with just one piece - grab a Breton shirt. This horizontally striped shirt is the quintessential seaside staple, and is the predominant reason nautical fashion has endured through the modern age. 

We have Coco Chanel to thank for that. After a holiday jaunt to the French coast, Coco Chanel was inspired by the striped French naval uniforms, called la marinière, and decided to incorporate them into her 1917 collection.

This revolutionised the wardrobe of women, who until then were only wearing shirts and pants on holiday (and never, ever as city streetwear). 

Soon, the relaxed naval look became popular for men and women alike. There were even skirts and dresses being made from the Breton print!

And, while the classic combination of navy blue and white is still the go-to choice, there are also extra fun Breton shirts in red, orange, yellow and turquoise! (There is never anything wrong with adding more colour to your life.)

Ocean accessories

Another simple way to add watery splendour to your wardrobe is an ocean accessory (or five). 

A handkerchief with a seahorse or boat print could work wonders, and a sailor hat or floppy sun hat will always complete a nautical look.

And, of course, my favourite choice would be fish purses. A fish purse SCREAMS nautical from its gills to its flippy little tail. 

Plus, a fish purse has oodles of character, and will not only elevate your look instantly - it will make you the talk of the boardwalk. 

Military jackets

Keeping in theme with naval uniforms, military jackets became a huge inspiration for nautical looks. Think double-breasted peacoats, brass-button jackets and duffle coats with ridiculously cute toggles. 

These jackets pair equally well with a dress and fancy wedges as they do with a smart pair of pants and flats. 

Comfortable cuts 

Nautical style is all about effortless, comfortable and loose silhouettes. Boyish cuts, long straight pants and billowing floor-length dresses are all great options. 

For the top, if not donning a Breton shirt, you could try a roll-neck or cable-knit jumper.

On the bottom, you might opt for wide-legged trousers, bell-bottoms, or knee-length shorts.

You want your look to be fresh and easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Spice it up with fun prints and accessories, like a starfish necklace or some bright red sunglasses. 

Natural fabrics 

Nautical is not only comfortable but natural. Think linen, cotton, canvas and hemp. 

A straw hat is perfect. As is a wicker fish purse, or some sassy espadrilles. 

You can also try deck shoes in natural fabrics (as these are as boat-ready as shoes can get). 

Maybe grab some rope earrings, or something made of cork! Have fun with your materials.

Sea-inspired prints 

If you really want to let loose with your nautical looks - do it with prints. Although navy blue, white, camel, red and yellow are the most typical for seafaring fashion - there are NO LIMITS here. 

Mix fabrics, colours, and vibrant prints. But do try to keep them in the marine arena. Starfish prints, sailboat prints, fish, mermaids, anchors, ship wheels, lighthouses, whales, YOU NAME IT. 

Your whale purse would probably appreciate a shrimp-print shirt, and your fish purse would love a whole school to swim with. 

If it’s remotely coastal - it’s golden.

By now you should be ready to throw your nautical look together - all you need is your colourful fish purse! 

5+ nautical purses every thalassophile needs

Here are our favourite nautical purses at Wicker Darling, from fish purses to sea-loving bird purses. 

1. Bubbles the Fish

Here is the fish purse to end all fish purses. (Not literally, because I very much want more fish purses in my life, but you get the idea.) 

He is simply the best fish purse that is - and I dare you to contradict me. 

Meet Bubbles, the glorious, colourful, spangled, sequined, beaded and POMPOMed fish purse. 

Bubbles the Fish is a bright turquoise rattan fish purse who simply loses his head to hold your things. (This time I am being literal - just unlatch his fishy little head to stuff things - GENTLY - inside him.) 

Bubbles will go swimmingly with all your nautical looks - heck, he is wearing three shades of blue already! 

Wear him with a mock sailor dress, or a smart Breton shirt with wide-legged pants and a sea-themed brooch. It’s all up to you! 

2. Moby Wick 

You’ll have a whale of a good time with the Moby Wick purse on your arm. This wicker whale purse is going to be best friends with your ocean-esque attire. 

Moby Wick’s blue and grey tones will look sublime with denim, navy blue tops and dresses, or a bright pop of red or yellow. He will look just as dapper next to a set of comfortable leggings as he will your frilly petticoats - you can’t dull the shine of this sea king! 

3. Marcus the Sharkus 

If you want a nautical look with a little bite, why not add Marcus the Sharkus to your collection? 

Sharks are simply the most uproarious fish of them all, and this feisty fish bag is a playful, fun addition to anything you want to wear.

Marcus the Sharkus is the picture of nautical vintage fashion, with a natural wicker body and navy blue handles. 

Don’t worry, Markus won’t bite. In fact, he’ll even hold something extra for you in his zippered mouth. (Completely safe to stick your hand in there - I promise.)

4. The ultimate beach birds

This is a bit of a bonus. There are THREE bird purses here (with more on the way.)

Now, you might not immediately think of a flamingo when you picture the beach, but if you lived in Aruba you would.

Flamingo Beach is paradise on Earth, and is simply smothered in feathery pink goodness! 

Which is why I insist that a pink flamingo purse is aboLUTELY a nautical purse. 

Fight me. 

And at Wicker Darling you have a whole flock of flamingos to choose from. There’s the OG Chile the Flamingo, the sassy Flamingo Montoya, and our newest flock member - Annie the Anniversary Flamingo! 

And, we may have a certain, distinctive, nautical bird purse flying into our midst. 

A very distinguished and beaky gentleman. 

You heard it here first! 

Stay tuned for more nautical purses! 

My squeaky little sea-cucumbers, as a fellow thalassophile, you can be absolutely sure that they will not be the last marine creatures to hit the shelves at Wicker Darling.

I look forward to dazzling, delighting and amazing you with many more wicker water-lovers. (Though I want to be sure to mention here - your purse itself does NOT love water, so it’s important to know how to care for wicker baskets.) 

Keep an eye out for our latest pre-orders to see if a marine-themed bag is headed your way!