Straws are undeniably chic. Not only do they keep our lipstick in tact and make our cheekbones look (slightly) more like Naomi Campbell’s, they allow us to slurp our morning coffee at about twice the rate we otherwise might. A quicker caffeine intake means more energy means getting shit done. But single-use plastic straws, which cities like New York, Miami Beach, and Oakland are pledging to fully ban in the coming years, are suddenly so out of fashion they might as well be Crocs. Worn unironically. Thankfully, given our love of both cold brew and bold lips, there are plenty of sustainable alternatives, some of which are so statement-making they could become the next It accessory. (That’s right, in 2019, there are no It bags, only It sustainable goods.)
Etsy, which has over 4,000 reusable straws available for purchase, including ones made of glass and ceramic, has seen a 198 percent increase in search volume for the term over the past year. “People are becoming more and more aware and conscious and opting for those other options,” says Etsy’s trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson. “And when you look into it, it takes 200 years for one plastic straw to break down, so you can make quite an impact.”
We first conceived of straws as potentially covet-worthy in 2018, when Tiffany & Co., trendsetter that it is, began offering $250 (£190) sterling silver straws. The internet exploded as we collectively wondered aloud, who the hell would pay that much for a straw? At the time, it seemed completely ludicrous. Now, it seems only a little bit ludicrous. What a difference a year and some local legislation can make!
While we probably still wouldn’t personally spring for such a pricey straw, we also wouldn’t toss one to the curb if some well-off relative bought us one for graduation in lieu of a silver Infinity bracelet. And lest you assume a straw from Tiffany’s might be used for, um, things other than drinking water, there’s a pigtail-like curl at the top to assure you that it’s not. There’s also an unmistakable Tiffany blue stripe, because if you’re going to spend that much on a straw, people should know about it.
Since the debut of what appears to be the fanciest straw on the market, other brands have followed suit. Goop, bastion of earthiness that it is, offers several straws, including a £62 option that has a rose quartz crystal at one end, and an £22 set of four stainless steel ones that come accompanied by a wire cleaning brush. Tableware designer Kim Seyburt has a six-piece set of very useful-looking spoon/straw hybrids for $140 (£107). Makeup brand Jeffree Star offers a four-pack of pink-toned metal straws for $20 (£17.60). Meanwhile, Anthropologie, West Elm, and Urban Outfitters all offer cheaper, more utilitarian options.
Glacce, maker of the aforementioned Goop crystal straws, broke onto the lifestyle market in 2015 with crystal-embellished water bottles. As embellished bottles of all stripes became must-haves, Glacce gained enough of a cult following to warrant a profile in Vanity Fair. The straws, introduced last year, seem like a natural extension of their brand — which leads us to wonder how long it might be before trendy bottle behemoths like S’well and Soma decide to get in on the action.
“It’s funny because the Glacce bottle came to me in a dream, and then this idea came to me when I was up really late one night sketching and designing, almost like a sleep deprivation kind of thing,” says co-founder Sharon Leslie. “And then we realised there were no straws on the market that worked like this.”
The Glacce straw screws into two pieces, which makes it easier not only for cleaning, but for drinking from a cocktail glass or even sharing with a straw-less companion. Leslie also notes that the crystal can be removed from the straw and worn on a chain as jewellery. “The straws make a perfect bar tool,” she says. “I think it’s a really nice thing to have at your house, also as a decorative piece.”
In our era of minimalism, itemised wishlists, and people who seem to “have it all” in every sense of the phrase, gifting has become increasingly fraught. What do you get for someone that’s both useful and beautiful and isn’t a scented candle? The best answer just may be a reusable straw.