What To Keep in the Man Bag

So many times has the same question been asked, “What the hell do you put in there?”
I started this article because the other day I had the joy of teaching a friend the wonders of a man-bag (albeit with the help of the not so 'costa del sol' British weather).

I was out shopping, and rocking the very retro Original Penguin Holdall when my friend said to me, “seriously that thing must be empty because what could you possibly have to put in there?”… And just as he said that, the heavens opened up: he ran like a little girl towards the nearest shop and I calmly reached for my Swims Self-Opening Compact Umbrella.

It fails me to see how anyone can question the man-bag. Especially when your attempting to “preserve your masculinity” by running to the nearest shelter, skipping around all puddles to avoid the splash!

This is why I have compiled the top things men should carry, not in their pockets, but in their man bags!
This article will hopefully educate those who are carrying a large leather holdall with only their phone inside (yes, we notice!) and make a few additions to those who already are stocked up and ready for anything.

Excuse the few basics.

The Items You Should Carry

Your mobile phone. Yes a pretty obvious one. But to a few, they say they still favour their pockets to avoid the 'rummaging' look should it ring. Not true! Basically all satchels, holdalls, rucksacks, barrel bags, luggers, totes & dispatch bags have dedicated compartments. It's hardly Aladdin's cave; so when shopping for a bag – just look! They may be on the outside or the inside but they are there so it's just a quick zip or pop and your ready to use your mobiles Internet to check the latest FashionBeans article!

If you are worried about your phone getting scratched in your bag there are plenty of cases available on the Internet including Diesel's Hastings Pouch for the iPhone:

Diesel's Hastings Pouch for the iPhone Diesel's Hastings Pouch for the iPhone

If you missed the moral of my story above (or you were too busy laughing at the concept of my friend running like a wee lassie) then here it is broken down. Neither: the drowned rat or the running for cover look is cool so let's avoid that shall we? Carrying an umbrella at all times is the simple answer. Like I said earlier, I always carry my Swims Self-Opening Compact Umbrella (pictured below) but loads of high street concession and department stores have a great range of designer options.

Quick tip: Make sure you buy a compact umbrella that comes with a carry case and do not leave home without the case. Putting a wet umbrella back into your bag will not only ruin everything else inside; but if you have a canvas bag it will soak up the water quicker than your Nan soaking up the Sherry at Christmas.

Swims Self-Opening Umbrella Swims Self-Opening Umbrella Swims Self-Opening Umbrella

“How about next Tuesday?” You don't need to be a business man, nor a female to want to carry a diary or personal planner. A man who carries a smart planner shows he has his life organised and can handle commitments.

You also don't need to carry a diary the size of the Bible/Koran/Torah/Vedas/Adi-Granth/Theravada, delete where applicable. Just a small, well invested leather-sort. Many will argue with a single response… “Hello, Blackberry?” well by all means come back when your phones battery dies on you and you are left stranded not remembering which bar you said you'd meet that girl in. It goes without saying that an accompanying pen is also key!

Tuscan wrap pocket diary Tuscan wrap pocket diary

This isn't the eighties…so no funk! No matter if you have a busy, hectic day or you are just out shopping there is no excuse for body odour. It really does make a difference to your mood when you look and feel fresh. A way to maintain this is to always carry around a deodorant – preferably roll on. My top pick product is Nickel roll on found on Mankind. Sensitive and alcohol free, this little beaut’ can be kept hidden until needed:

Nikel Deodorant Stick 75ml

Sticking with the grooming side of things; this may seem a little excessive but trust me they will one day save your life (I am in no way endorsing them as CPR giving superheroes; but you get what I mean). If you are taking your man bag with you on a date where you plan on eating, you don't want your date staring at your spinach teeth all night. A quick tip for the more forward males: do not say to your date just before you excuse yourself, “just gonna go pick me teeth” just excuse yourself to the men's room… then get to picking!

Denti-Brush Wire Free Interdental Brushes 20's

I only planned on sharing 5 man bag essentials but I could not leave this one out with it being the festive months and all that:

If you don't plan on leaving the house wearing them, there is plenty of space in the increasingly filling bag of yours for a pair of gloves. Especially if you get caught in the rain and end up displaying your newly packed umbrella. The last thing you want is for you to lose the ability to feel your hand gripping the handle! I can't stress enough to those who don't own a decent pair of gloves how important they are. Get your hands out of your pocket and look ready to face the world… with warm hands.

I recommend a pair of Acne Leather And Wool Gloves which offer advantages in both materials! Pay decent money for a pair and they'll last your nippers till the sun comes out (in a few years). Also check out the FashionBeans latest gloves collection article here.

Acne Two Leather And Wool Glove

The pluses of carrying these things in your bag rather than in your pockets are huge. There is nothing I can't stand more than seeing good jeans set out of shape and bulging like an Italian man's fruit basket by a host of useful goodies in a useless place!

If you have any other top picks of your own or if in any way this article has made you better prepared for 'bagging' it up – let us know by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for reading,
Luke.