More and more stadiums, concert halls and other large venues where sports, entertainment and other events are held are requiring attendees to carry only clear bags for security reasons — with one of the most recent additions to the list being the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.
But outpacing the growing number of these venues is the variety of transparent bag styles available to those who don’t want to let rules overrule fashion. From designers like Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney to Forever 21, Target, Claire’s and Walmart, everyone seems to be clearing things up these days with upscale looks for all occasions and everyday use.
Styles include satchels, totes, purses, backpacks, crossbody and retro designs — some that can be worn with removable pouches, interchangeable straps, or with a statement bag tucked inside for color or interest. And, while in years past, clear bags would pop up now and again in the world of fashion as a light and airy accessory fit for summer, they’re being carried now year-round.
"The big thing is concerts, festivals and sporting events but they’re great for everyday use," says Joey Bowen, founder and creative director of the Bethpage-based Be Clear Handbags. She sells her products wholesale to stores on Long Island and throughout the country, and direct to customers online. "They’re really stylish and fun, and you don’t have to worry about them when it rains," she adds.
Kate Tuccillo, who owns the Kate & Hale clothing boutique in Port Jefferson and Huntington with her sister, Haley Shea, says Stony Brook University students like to buy the bags for college sport events but they’re becoming more and more of a desirable fashionable accessory.
"It’s like the mask when people got all different ones with patterns," Tuccillo says. "If you have to do something, you might as well look cute doing it."
Bowen says the bags have clear function as well as style.
"They’re great for finding your hand sanitizer quickly, you can wipe them down with alcohol, and you’re able to see your cellphone to decide whether to pick up or not," Bowen says.
In addition to the bags, Bowen sells straps, tassels and other accessories to give them a personalized look.
"Lucite is the new neutral," says Gabrielle Banschick, co-owner of Penelope’s ‘60s-and ‘70’s-inspired fashions boutique in Woodbury. She adds the bags "go with everything, and they don’t take away from the outfit you’re wearing."
Gayle Calamita is co-owner of Ava’s & Around Again boutique and consignment shop in Sag Harbor. She is a buyer for the store and says the shop had sold out of their clear bags by late July and reordered more for August.
Included among the styles Ava’s Around & Again offers is the "Hampton" tote from Be Clear Handbags that’s inspired by the Birkin bag from the French luxury goods maker, Hermès.
"It doesn’t distract from my outfit," Calamita says of the transparent look. Co-owner Marjorie Scanlon, adds, "The bags do very well here. People really like them."
Both Calamita and Scanlon note transparent bags were also popular in the 1950s in hard Lucite form.
"We’ve carried them in the past in the vintage section of the store but the vintage ones aren’t so easy to find anymore because they’re popular again," Scanlon says. She adds they have particular appeal to women in their 20s "on up."
Lisa Smith, owner of the Coquette boutique in Manhasset, says that what was old has become the new must-have. "They’re great and light for summer," Smith says.
Calamita says she sees a need for transparent bags as an everyday staple through her experiences with customers in her shop.Lauren Harris, owner of Let’s Bag It in Merrick, sells a lot of transparent styles in her store and via Instagram. She says she plans to carry one at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
"People love the idea of them being clear, and when you change the straps and put in inserts it can become a completely different bag," Harris says.
WHERE TO BUY
Kate & Hale: 227 Main St., Port Jefferson; 631-509-5950 and 331 Main St., Huntington; 631-824-6434; kateandhaleshop.com
Penelope: 8025 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury; 516-802-7837; penelopefashions.com
Ava’s & Around Again: 1 Long Wharf St., Sag Harbor; 631-725-4067; avasaroundagain.com
Coquette: 1699 Northern Blvd., Manhasset; 516-682-2764; coquetteonseventh.com
Let’s Bag It: 2203 Merrick Rd. #1, Merrick; 516-223-1977; letsbagitonline.com
Be Clear Handbags: beclearhandbags.com