Orange has long been the new black, but what about swapping out those navy nautical stripes for something more unexpected? The new nautical purse has nothing to do with anchors or stripes but is every bit as sea-worthy. 

We’re talking about sea animals. Nothing proclaims your love of the sea like a quirky sea creature on your arm. And, with the animal-shaped wicker nautical purses at Wicker Darling, you’ll be in ship-shape to rock the boardwalk. (Or anywhere you choose to wander.)

But what is it exactly that makes a nautical purse? What does nautical mean, and what makes one purse more nautical than the next? 

Let’s discuss just what constitutes the nautical aesthetic, before celebrating all things marine with some fintastic facts (and even more fabulous handbags). 

What in the great blue world is nautical?

The term “nautical” refers to anything relating to ships, sailors, maritime or the sea. So you see, the word encompasses quite a lot. It’s less one meaning, and more of a feeling - the essence of crashing waves, sailors knots, and seagulls swooping overhead. 

It’s also an enviable fashion movement, if I do say so myself. 

The nautical aesthetic has been around since Queen Victoria popularised naval uniforms as fashion in the mid-19th century. It has since become inspired by not just old naval uniforms, but sailing and the sea itself. 

To imagine nautical fashion, think blue in every shade, horizontal navy and white stripes inspired by Breton shirts, lots of red accents, natural or white fabrics, anchors, ropes and breezy silhouettes. 

Nautical looks are also easily identified by their accessories. A hat with sailor references, braided espadrilles, boater shoes or sea animal earrings.

And of course, the nautical purse. 

Nothing helps you “seas the day” like throwing a nautical purse on your arm. From wicker beach totes, to navy and white striped fabric numbers with rope handles, to all-over anchor prints, a nautical purse adds instant water whimsy to your wardrobe. 

Yet the best nautical purses don’t give a nod to knots or sails or stripes. They give a nod to the sea itself and the fantastical creatures that live above and beneath it. Wicker Darling has just such purses, which I will proudly introduce you to in this post.

But first, if I may, let me get you extra excited about all things nautical, in case you think this style isn’t for you.

Because the ocean is for everyone, and it’s a-boat time we explored it further with some fascinating nautical facts. 

12 Surprising nautical notes

Because “nautical” encompasses so many things, I thought I would take the time to give you fun facts on its different facets. That is, maritime, the ocean and ocean animals.

With so many startling things to explore, these facts are sure to blow you out of the water. 

1. Many common sayings have nautical origins

Sayings such as “learning the ropes,” “at close quarters” and “high and dry” all come from sailor terms. 

2. Even the term “groggy” comes from the sea

Grog was a mix of rum, water and citrus juice used by sailors to prevent scurvy. Of course, if a sailor drank a bit too much, they would become quite dazed and sleepy. Thus, the word “groggy” was born. 

3. Shipping vessels travel a truly astronomical distance

On average, a container ship will travel a distance equal to 75% of the way to the moon and back in a single year. 

4. Unsinkable Sam was a special sailor who survived three sinking ships

He was also a cat. Unsinkable Sam is who our very own Oscar the Cat tuxedo cat handbag is named after. 

5. Less than five percent of the ocean has been explored

According to the Ocean Service, 95% of the ocean has not been touched by man. We have barely discovered a third of the marine animals that live in its depths. 

6. The biggest ocean waves are under the water

While waves crashing into the shoreline can be impressive, they are never the largest. Internal waves take place deep beneath the surface between two fluids of different densities. These internal waves can travel for thousands of miles and grow to be 650 feet tall. 

7. Earth’s tallest waterfall is in the ocean

You may have heard that Venezuela’s Angel Falls is the world’s tallest waterfall, topping in with a 3,200 foot drop. But the longest plummet actually goes to the Denmark Strait Cataract, an underwater waterfall that falls 11,400 feet at a speed 50,000 times that of Niagara Falls. 

8. Almost all life on Earth is aquatic 

According to the USA Science & Engineering Festival, 94% of life on Earth is aquatic, making all the living creatures we see on land (including ourselves) an absolute minority. 

9. Lobsters pee from their faces

Yes, you read that right. Lobsters urinate from openings just under their long antennae. They use their urine to communicate with other lobsters, sending pheromone signals of aggression and attraction.

10. The fastest creature on Earth is a shrimp

A peacock mantis shrimp can strike out so quickly that it causes water to boil, and the shockwave of the movement alone can kill its prey. How fast is it exactly? 23 meters per second, which is 50 times faster than the blink of an eye. 

11. A blue whale’s tongue weighs more than an elephant

Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth - by a long shot. Just the whale’s tongue alone can be heavier than 7,000 kilograms!

12. Jellyfish are some of the oldest animals around 

Jellyfish have been around for at least 600 million years, making them older than dinosaurs, insects and even trees. These ancient, resilient sea blobs have survived through no less than five mass extinction events.

Meet the new nautical purses you need

Now that you’re truly amped up about all things nautical, it’s time to introduce you to the next wave in nautical fashion. Sea animal shaped nautical purses! 

Here are our favourite sea creature creations at Wicker Darling. 

A pretty pelican purse


Jellyfish aren’t the only ancient things in (or around) the ocean. Pelicans, the stately sea-faring birds, are over 30 million years old. We do love our dinosaurs at Wicker Darling, and as direct descendants of the giant beasts, pelicans really do us proud. 

Which is why we’ve made a purse out of one. 

And we are exceptionally proud of our pelican purse. Just look at him! The expressive eyes, the striking wings, the zippered bill (the first of its kind!) just waiting to gobble up your goodies for safe-keeping. 

His name is Pelican Bill. (See what we did there?) 

Our wicker pelican tote is a black and white masterpiece with black leather handles and leather wings and bill. He comes fully equipped with a snack at all times, a fish coin purse made from leather scraps that is 100% sustainable. 

In fact, if you’re wondering “is wicker sustainable?” the answer is a resounding “YES.” So you can feel fabulous about your wicker pelican purchase. 

While Pelican Bill loves the sea, he can’t actually abide the wet. Like all wicker purses, he should be kept out of the water. (SHOCK.) He doesn’t need a ferry-tale ending, just a small place to perch in your home. He will be SO happy there. 

And I know you will be happy to have HIM! 

Because everyone associates pelicans with the shoreline (as they should), Pelican Bill makes the perfect nautical purse for your collection. 

I’m in awe of pelicans, and you should be too. They are awkward, fantastical, and just a bit terrifying. They are known to eat not just fish, but other birds as well. (Dinosaurs, every one of them.)

I’m also really quite fond of Dixon Lanier Merritt’s limerick about pelicans which reads:

“A wonderful bird is the pelican;

His bill will hold more than his belican.

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I’m damned if I see how the helican!”

If only we could store a week’s worth of chocolate in our mouths, what a different world we’d live in!

A wonderful whale purse 


Meet Moby Wick, our larger-than-life wicker whale purse. This nautical purse caused quite a splash during his debut, and it’s no wonder why. 

While the OG Moby was a great white whale, the Wicker Darling Moby has a navy back and cloud blue belly. This blue-on-blue colour scheme makes him an ideal purse for nautical fashions. 

With navy leather handles and a navy interior to match, Moby Wick is a fabulous neutral accessory - if a whale can ever truly be neutral. Indeed, Moby Wick is a head-turner! His substantial belly can hold all your important items, and even a full-size sports drink. 

Don’t be over-whale-med by his size. Moby can still fit into our fabulous reusable tote bag raincoats. He’s just the perfect proportions for fitting all your necessities and then some. 

A fabulous fish purse


Bubbles the Fish, our resident fish purse, is loosely inspired by everyone’s favourite children’s book: Rainbow Fish. 

With sparkly sequin scales, hot pink pom-poms and bead “bubble” straps, Bubbles simply exudes Wicker Darling charm. All of her decorative finery is carefully sewn by hand, taking the superb craftsmanship we are known for to the next level with this design. 

Bubbles has a beautiful aqua wicker body, gold spangles and sequins and royal blue and hot pink accents. She is a veritable explosion of colour - just as you might expect from an Aussie fish. 

As a nautical purse, Bubbles will go swimmingly with any of your outfits. I mean, why use a fish print when you can pair a whole fish with your sailor dress!?

You’ll be the belle of the boathouse for SURE.

Get ready to make waves with your wicker nautical purse

My precious pudding cups, you’re going to cause such a splash around town with your new nautical purse designs. I just know it. 

How do I know?

Because every time I step out with one of my figural animal bags, I’m the centre of attention. No self-respecting individual could ignore such an adorable accessory. (And if they do, they’re just being shy.)

Everyone will praise your purse. They will want one of their very own. But Wicker Darling purses are limited edition collectors’ items, so once you get your sassy mitts on one, you know it will be a delightfully unique piece all your own. 

If you’re concerned by the big SOLD OUT signs on some of our nautical purse designs, fear not! We have an end-of-the-year limited edition restock coming up, and some fabulous sea creatures are sure to show up. Plus we have up to two featured designs available each month. 

There's always a wicker purse making a big splash around here.

Best yet, we offer absolutely FREE shipping anywhere around the world. Which means soon our sea creatures will get to travel ON the boat instead of UNDER one on their journey to their new home at your place. 

That is, if you can snatch them up before our other devoted fans. Keep your eye on those email announcements kittens!