The “man bag” has become a bit of a global phenomenon throughout the world of men’s fashion. It used to be that only women carried around handbags and purses but with the needs of the modern man evolving constantly, it is often necessary to carry round a form of bag at all times. Think about it – on the way to work you might need somewhere to store a laptop, change of clothes (for a meeting or the end of the day) and even somewhere for a few essential grooming pieces. You may still be at university or even college/school in which case it is a necessity to carry around essentials for the day and if you are all regulars at a gym/fitness center (which I really hope you are) then obviously you need somewhere for those workout clothes to go.
Having a great bag is no longer a hindrance or associated with low masculinity. In fact it is quite the opposite, and a great leather bag or holdall can really add some class and style to an outfit. The opposite sex particularly like a man who has a good grasp of fashion and style without looking like they tried too hard. You don’t want to go the women’s route where by the bag/purse becomes the focal point of your outfit i.e. sequins, studs or multicoloured – keep it simple and traditional with a great soft leather or washed canvas bag.
Leather is perfect for professional work environments or a weekend away bag. It is a beautiful material and if you don’t know already, I have always been a massive fan of the leather jacket to add some edge to a look. Leather can work with formal or casual looks because the quality of the bag will always shine through – if you rock it with a suit or shirt and tie it will just add class, where as it can completely transform the perception of a casual outfit from someone who “just threw on a t-shirt and jeans” to a stylish/wealthy/classy male who is having a relaxing day.
It’s not fair but the quality of the accessories we own will always influence others perception of us – sometimes you can throw on a cheap watch or belt (like the summer collections I featured) and it rounds out a “fashion” look and makes you right on trend. Other items like a great leather bag will make others presume you have style and even money just because it is a luxury item that not every man down the street is rocking. In terms of cost, you can get a great leather holdall for under £100 and because of the durability and quality of the leather you can wear it for years and it will NEVER go out of style. The problem with a lot of males is that they don’t treat items as an investment and will skimp on cost for something they will only have to replace in a year anyway.
Canvas is tough and durable which means it should be used for those that like to go to the gym, do outdoor activities and generally get down and dirty. It can be washed time and time again quickly and easily, and will not trap odours like leather would. I used a leather holdall for my basketball kit one season and let’s say the end result was not pretty! Canvas also reinforces a laid back and relaxed style and adds more of a fashion twist.
There are so many different types of bags available and I am going to try and show you examples of each and what situations they are good for in the main post.
These are generally larger in size (think cylinder) and will normally have enough room for a long weekend away, or gym kit. You can obviously get them in leather or canvas and to be honest they are my favourite style. You can get them with shoulder straps for ease of carrying but the true gentleman will hold the bag by his side using the hand grips ;)
The record bag tends to be the student bag de jour but this is because they are practical enough to hold everything you could need for a normal work day. Folders, stationary, some grooming items and any other essentials will fit in and not be a pain to lug around all day. They also come with a shoulder strap so that you can just throw them on or off easily. These are perfect for those in the 9-5 routine and when they come in gorgeous leathers then they really do add a touch of class and sophistication to an outfit. Will usually have a flap covering the contents of the bag making them secure and keeping your documents dry.
Does what it says on the tin really. These are a must for all professionals and come in a variety of materials, styles and shapes. They are similar to a record bag in size and have a shoulder strap for ease of carrying around the city or on the morning commute. A great leather version will really look amazing with formal or casual wear and also provide the protection for such a necessary item in today’s need to work on the move. For those in a more relaxed formal environment – I am thinking designers, media professionals and other creative jobs – you may want to go for the edgier canvas types, which have a fashion look and should coordinate well with relaxed work attire.
These shopper bags are more like upscale shopping bags you would get from the local tescos. They normally come in a really simple style which is a large bottom holdall with no pockets or “thrills”. They always have a long should strap that you carry the bag with, and sometimes hand grips on the upper scale ones. Generally do not have a zip or form of closing at the top of them either and as such are open for you to drop stuff in quickly and easily. Again the new leather versions and those with military detailing add a bit of style and flair to such a basic item.
These are a really cool and generally low cost accessory to any relaxed fashion outfit. I am thinking about the old school satchels which come with retro styling and vintage colours. Dunlop, Nike, Fred Perry and the like all make great PVC shiny satchel bags which really do ooze that retro cool whilst being practical.