Introduction

Unless you’ve been living in complete sartorial seclusion for the past few years, it should come as no surprise that bags are big news in menswear.

Design teams have moved on from the ‘man bag’ messenger creations of the early 2000s, offering a range of decidedly more sophisticated options that not only serve the practical purpose of carting your work/life essentials from A to B, but can also succinctly round off a look.

Is this article, we take a look the key bag styles for 2013/14 and present a hand-picked edit of our favourite carry-all creations…

The Briefcase

The briefcase has undergone a complete reinvention in recent years. It’s still traditionally a business bag, but the modern workplace has changed a great deal, requiring gents to carry more than a few sheets of paper, a Parker pen and a questionable Braeburn apple to and from the office.

Tech devices are a major part of our lives and have influenced both work and play. Modern briefcase styles reflect this change and have been designed with the tech-savvy gent in mind, featuring robust but lightweight structures and padded compartments to store laptops, tablets and multiple smartphones.

Not only do the sleek lines of a briefcase give a tailored look a sharp finishing touch, but this practical design ensures you can take your essential tools of the trade anywhere so you never miss a deadline.

Additionally, there’s always a little extra room for your personal essentials, ensuring the lines of your jacket and trousers are kept neat and trim as intended.

Key briefcase brands to consider include Reiss, Ted Baker, Mismo, Sandqvist, Mulberry and Burberry.

Briefcase Lookbook

Men's Briefcases Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

loewe aw13he by mango aw13ted baker ss13suitsupply aw13angelo nardelli aw13ted baker aw13massimo dutti september 2013brunello cucinelli aw13reiss aw13
Key Styles
  • Topman Green Hugo BriefcaseTopman Green Hugo Briefcase
  • Oppermann London Vallance Cognac BriefcaseOppermann London Vallance Cognac Briefcase
  • Reiss April Medium Satchel Breifcase Whale GreyReiss April Medium Satchel Breifcase Whale Grey
  • John Lewis Dalaman Briefcase BrownJohn Lewis Dalaman Briefcase Brown
  • Mismo Tabac Leather Morris BriefcaseMismo Tabac Leather Morris Briefcase
  • Sandqvist Black Leather Dustin BriefcaseSandqvist Black Leather Dustin Briefcase
  • Hidesign Byron Leather Briefcase  brownHidesign Byron Leather Briefcase  brown
  • Ted Baker Lozzen Leather BriefcaseTed Baker Lozzen Leather Briefcase
  • Mandarina Duck Ebisu Slim Leather BriefcaseMandarina Duck Ebisu Slim Leather Briefcase
  • Asos Leather Briefcase In Vintage LookAsos Leather Briefcase In Vintage Look
  • Burberry Structured Leather BriefcaseBurberry Structured Leather Briefcase
  • Mulberry Heathcliffe Leather BriefcaseMulberry Heathcliffe Leather Briefcase
The Folio

The folio, with its absence of handles and clean-cut silhouette, has been a rising star of the menswear bag scene for some time. Likened to the gent’s equivalent of the clutch, and affectionately dubbed ‘mutches’, folios have divided male sartorial opinion ever since their emergence several seasons ago.

Available in a host of materials including leather and canvas, these streamlined bags coerce you to simplify your life, as they can just about fit a slim laptop or tablet, a few pieces of essential paperwork and your pens. Fastenings are also varied, ranging from zip-top designs to envelope buckle-fastening systems.

Folios are not necessarily about function, but for making a clean, streamlined statement they always come out on top.

A particular favourite of ours is the Goswell folio from London-based Swedish leather brand Oppermann, which reflects the label’s passion for luxurious materials and considered masculinity.

Folio Lookbook

Men's Folio/Clutch/Pouch Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

ramsey aw13brunello cucinelli aw13massimo dutti november 2013louis vuitton pre aw13he by mango winter 2013network aw13sanahunt ss13gant rugger aw13comodo square ss13
Key Styles
  • Briefcase Goswell NavyBriefcase Goswell Navy
  • Allsaints Monument CaseAllsaints Monument Case
  • Mismo Dark Brown 13 Leather Laptop & Document FolderMismo Dark Brown 13 Leather Laptop & Document Folder
  • Topman Tan Leather Document HolderTopman Tan Leather Document Holder
  • Ted Baker Handhal Small Document BagTed Baker Handhal Small Document Bag
  • Reiss Shredder Small Fold-over Document Holder Dark BrownReiss Shredder Small Fold-over Document Holder Dark Brown
  • Allsaints Wyatt Multiple Document CaseAllsaints Wyatt Multiple Document Case
  • Saffiano Print Folio BagSaffiano Print Folio Bag
  • He By Mango Zip Document HolderHe By Mango Zip Document Holder
  • Comme Des Garçons Embossed-leather PouchComme Des Garçons Embossed-leather Pouch
  • Balenciaga Creased-leather PouchBalenciaga Creased-leather Pouch
  • Montblanc Meisterstück Selection Leather Portfolio MochaMontblanc Meisterstück Selection Leather Portfolio Mocha
The Backpack

Previously considered a functional item well out of range of the fashion radar, backpacks are now firmly rooted on the menswear map.

As much of a style statement as they are practical load-bearer, the backpack’s reinvention by fashion forward designers is evident from high-end houses to the high street.

Spurred on by the technical and athletic trends in menswear, brands such as Sandqvist and Mismo with their Scandinavian-inspired canvas rucksacks have brought a new dimension to an everyday design, which are ideal for the more casual dresser.

Luxury brands such as Givenchy and Marc Jacobs have also tapped into the trend, combining their statement graphic and geometric prints with the backpack’s street-ready appeal, epitomising the definition of ‘fashion meets function’.

Backpack Lookbook

Men's Backpacks Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

asos aw12dockers ss12bleu de chauffe aw12Woolrich John Rich & Bros aw13paul smith jeans 2012duffer of st george ss13matalan aw13urban outfittersted baker ss13
Key Styles
  • River Island Dark Red Canvas Square Rucksack SeenRiver Island Dark Red Canvas Square Rucksack Seen
  • Sandqvist Blue Grey Canvas Stig BackpackSandqvist Blue Grey Canvas Stig Backpack
  • Mismo Black Ms BackpackMismo Black Ms Backpack
  • Topman Bellfield Roll Top Backpack Topman Bellfield Roll Top Backpack
  • Mismo Leather-trimmed Twill BackpackMismo Leather-trimmed Twill Backpack
  • Herschel Supply Co. Woodland Camo Quarry BackpackHerschel Supply Co. Woodland Camo Quarry Backpack
  • Sandqvist Helmer Leather Backpack In BrownSandqvist Helmer Leather Backpack In Brown
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Camouflage Houndstooth Padded Mesh BackpackMarc By Marc Jacobs Camouflage Houndstooth Padded Mesh Backpack
  • Herschel Little America BackpackHerschel Little America Backpack
  • River Island Khaki Colour Block RucksackRiver Island Khaki Colour Block Rucksack
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Leopard-print Leather BackpackMarc By Marc Jacobs Leopard-print Leather Backpack
  • Master-piece Over Suede-trimmed Nylon BackpackMaster-piece Over Suede-trimmed Nylon Backpack
The Holdall

With our lives increasingly gaining pace, many business and pleasure trips require us to travel for short periods, with minimal luggage. The 24/48-hour holdall has become an essential item for many gents with busy lifestyles.

Requiring a robust construction to cope with the rigours of travel, while spacious enough to stow all your necessities for an overnight stay, a good holdall should have a strong pair of top handles and a detachable shoulder strap to help lighten the load when waiting in the inevitable departure lounge queues.

Usually rectangular or barrel-shaped, the holdall is also ideal for trips to the gym, with enough room to hold your sporting attire and equipment.

Some of our favourite holdall designs can be found at HE By Mango, Herschel, Bill Amberg, Oppermann and Reiss.

Holdall Lookbook

Men's Holdalls Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

suitsupply aw13he by mango spring 2013he by mango aw13burton aw13he by mango aw13gant rugger aw13river island ss14reiss aw13brunello cucinelli aw13
Key Styles
  • Herschel Supply Co. Army Washed Canvas Novel Duffel BagHerschel Supply Co. Army Washed Canvas Novel Duffel Bag
  • John Lewis Pimlico Wool And Leather Trim HoldallJohn Lewis Pimlico Wool And Leather Trim Holdall
  • He By Mango Handbag G Marc CHe By Mango Handbag G Marc C
  • Herschel Ravine HoldallHerschel Ravine Holdall
  • J.crew Abingdon Waxed Cotton-canvas And Leather Holdall BagJ.crew Abingdon Waxed Cotton-canvas And Leather Holdall Bag
  • River Island Brown Contrast Strap HoldallRiver Island Brown Contrast Strap Holdall
  • Mulberry Small Clipper Leather-trimmed Canvas Holdall BagMulberry Small Clipper Leather-trimmed Canvas Holdall Bag
  • Reiss Sawboss Large 48 Hour Holdall Whale GreyReiss Sawboss Large 48 Hour Holdall Whale Grey
  • Mismo Navy Nylon Ms Explorer Weekend BagMismo Navy Nylon Ms Explorer Weekend Bag
  • He By Mango Nylon Weekend BagHe By Mango Nylon Weekend Bag
  • Ted Baker HoldallTed Baker Holdall
  • Barbour Leather Medium Explorer HoldallBarbour Leather Medium Explorer Holdall
The Tote

Exceptionally easy to carry with the same practical load-shifting potential as a backpack, the tote benefits from its open top design, enabling the wearer to quickly add or remove items while on the go.

A great city or beach bag, totes are a relatively recent import from womenswear, with designers bringing a masculine flavour to the style.

Available in a wide array of designs, totes range from simple cotton affairs to more structured, durable leather and canvas combinations.

Constructed with two large top handles to allow the tote to be carried on the shoulder or held in the hand, they are typified by their large storage capacity.

Some key brands that have really brought the tote into its own within the menswear arena include Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Want les Essentials De La Vie, Zara and Filson.

Tote Lookbook

Men's Totes Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

club monaco ss12h&m aw11Baldessarini ss14CALIBRE ss14tommy hilfiger aw13edwin aw13coach aw13burberry black label aw13louis vuitton pre aw13
Key Styles
  • Asos Shopper With Contrast StrapAsos Shopper With Contrast Strap
  • Sandqvist Blue Herr Judit Tote BagSandqvist Blue Herr Judit Tote Bag
  • Zara Structured ShopperZara Structured Shopper
  • He By Mango Handbag M Marc CHe By Mango Handbag M Marc C
  • Reiss Casey Fashion Tote Bag BlackReiss Casey Fashion Tote Bag Black
  • Allsaints Defend Tote BagAllsaints Defend Tote Bag
  • Wood Wood Tan Leather Tote BagWood Wood Tan Leather Tote Bag
  • Filson Zippered Otter Green Tote BagFilson Zippered Otter Green Tote Bag
  • Mulberry Brynmore Two-tone Tote 159854Mulberry Brynmore Two-tone Tote 159854
  • Mismo Leather-trimmed Twill ToteMismo Leather-trimmed Twill Tote
  • Alexander Mcqueen Leather Tote BagAlexander Mcqueen Leather Tote Bag
  • Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Ohare Leather-trimmed Tweed Tote BagWant Les Essentiels De La Vie Ohare Leather-trimmed Tweed Tote Bag
Final Word

Despite the fact that menswear design has often been governed by functionality, men are becoming more experimental than ever with their style, and designers are responding by producing contemporary takes on traditional designs to suit a more cultivated audience.

Owing to their mobile nature, bags are, like shoes, subject to more wear and tear than the average piece of clothing, so investment in quality and durability should be at the forefront of your mind when selecting the perfect style.

Not only do bags prevent your pockets from becoming a lumpy disorder and keep your daily essentials in check, they can also form a pivotal feature of your look, which is something our female counterparts have known for years.

So whether you’re a briefcase, folio or backpack man, there’s never been a better time to invest in a bag to suit your needs – remember that great bags aren’t just for girls.