A bag? For men? A “man bag”? What’s Next…eye-liner?
Hey guys, if you think a man bag is really just a man “purse” or a “murse”, sorry to say but you’re behind the times.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference between a purse and a man bag. I still treat my wife’s purse as a live grenade whenever she wants me to hold it. No way am I coming in direct contact with a purse.
A man bag is different though. The stigma which insecure guys attached to men’s bags is now just a thing of the past.
Men’s bags are seeing an increase in sales of 50% and climbing each year.
Celebrities and Their Man Bags
Look at most celebrities and any other guy which most people say has “style”. Ever heard of Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman or Ryan Gosling? Each of them are 100% straight and always in style. They’re frequently seen with a variety of man bags.
How about David Beckham or Kanye West? Yup, straight, in style and love their man bags.
If these guys are confident with their style, why can’t you be?
Stuffed Pockets = Opposite of Style
Today, it’s all about style. It’s about time to empty those bulging pockets, ditch the ugly 5” thick wallet protruding out of your backside and get a leather man bag, dammit!
So how do we handle the need to carry crap with style and class? Yup! A man bag. Good news: it’s game over for cramming junk into your jeans pocket. Say goodbye to your sore back & bulky George Costanza wallet.
Not long ago, men didn’t have a variety to choose from. They really only had the option of a backpack or a briefcase to carry their stuff. That or a very plain, canvas duffle for the gym. Now you can find a quality man bag in a variety of styles, sizes and materials, from a luxury leather bag to a men’s shoulder bag.
With all the options nowadays, it can be overwhelming to pick the right man bag for your personality and style.
Guys are now able to carry their laptop, tablet, camera and textbooks. Do we even have textbooks anymore? Gentlemen and not so gentle men carry more stuff on a daily basis. Stuff like:
- Cell phone (are these actually getting bigger?!)
- Wallets (Ugh. So many ugly, fat wallets in back pockets)
- Keys (Yeah, most of our homes don’t have swipe card entry “yet”)
- Chargers (You can’t offer a girl a light anymore but you can offer her vape a charge)
- Fresh breath tools (gum or mint)
- Knives (Within the legal size limit of course)
Now that you know it’s OK to wear a man bag (yeah man, it really is), what should you look for in a leather man bag? How can you find a bag which is both practical and still masculine?
7 Pro Tips to Find the Best Man Bag
From student to vagabond to CEO, we’ve got you guys covered. We know bags.
Materials & Aesthetics
The overall texture, weight and more importantly, the look is influenced by the material of the bag.
Think of a pair of Adidas track pants or a high school backpack. What material comes to mind? Yup, nylon or polyester.
Imagine yourself in a boardroom, retrieving meeting notes and a laptop out of your briefcase. Which material comes to mind first? Yup, it’s a sleek, leather briefcase.
Each material has a place and purpose for it, as well as a price attached to it.
Nylon / Polyester: Usually used in sporting and outdoor apparel. Cheap & lightweight.
Canvas: Heavyweight, plain woven fabric used in sails, tents and backpacks.
Leather: There’s a wide variety of leather types to choose from. If you’re looking for the highest quality leather, opt for full-grain leather.
Great! Now you know you need a leather man bag. Which design is best for you?
The design of a bag takes the hardware and features into consideration. These include:
Opening / Closure: Your stuff is in your man bag. You obviously are going to be opening and closing the bag, often. You want a system which is easy, practical but also provides some security.
Hardware: Something my parents always reminded me about was: “the fewer moving parts = fewer chances of failing”. Hardware can look classy but it’s still one of the first things to go wrong on any clothing item or accessory.
Pockets: Look at the location, the size and the number of pockets. It may look impressive having a thousand large pockets all over the place but trust me…you’ll be frustrated. A couple convenient external pockets to quickly access your wallet, phone and passport is great to have. A couple dozen internal pockets, one of which is concealing your phone while it’s ringer continues to embarrass you, is not great. Note: This is when your leather man bag becomes a man purse.
Appearance: Looking for clean design, matches hardware and features.
Performance & Purpose
Bags are like shoes or watches, you need different styles for different purposes. You’re not wearing your shiny leather dress shoes and a classy Cartier watch to the gym are you?
Professional: Most businessmen tend to leave their duffle bags out of the boardroom. Focus instead of a sophisticated black leather messenger, satchel or even a vintage style brown messenger or satchel.
Ensure this professional man bag has internal compartments and padded protection for your tech gear.
Travel: Look for a rustic leather man bag. These tend to have a “well-traveled” look to them. Next, look for a carry-on sized bag. You worked hard to find your bag, don’t leave the guy down in the cargo area. Keep him up top with you, where other bags will look at him with envy.
Leave any bags with buckles and bring only the most convenient bag to open and close.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in between 2 strangers on flight, reaching down, your ear pressed against the seat-tray while you take forever to unbuckle and get to your kindle.
Stick with a carry-on sized duffle or weekender.
Everyday: Go for a bag which is convenient to pick up and go, anywhere. If you have just a few select items you tend to carry everyday, you won’t want a big duffle bag as your everyday bag. Save that guy for trips and weekend getaways.
Find a design and look which is versatile. Yes, we’re slightly biased but go for a rustic, vintage look in a leather man bag. Whether you have a pair of board shorts and flip-flops or a sports coat and designer jeans, it looks the part.
3 fool-proof characteristics of the best leather man bag are:
With so many styles of bags out there, it’s a headache to narrow it down. To make it worse, not everyone uses the same name for each style.
The Duffle Bag
You will notice this spelled a couple different ways: duffle or duffel. Also called holdall, carry-all, weekender. Same same. This is the bag you want if you lead an active lifestyle, go on weekend getaways or spontaneous road trips. Or if you want to start doing any of those things! Better late, than never. 😉
The duffle should look good new and look great all banged up and covered in dust and mud.
This is my personal favorite since it always remains stylish and you can use it for anything at all really. So damn versatile. Go for a brown, rustic leather duffle.
I’m going to use a word which may have you cringe…briefcase. Yup. I said it. But unlike the old fashioned, clunky briefcase your dad or grandpa had, this leather satchel has a GQ makeover done to it.
A rustic leather satchel with a padded internal compartment is just perfect! It’s a sleek, classy and minimalistic approach to the old briefcase. It hugs and protects your laptop while organizing your other papers and gear.
This style of man bag is awesome for commuters, professionals and students alike. It’s feature is the convenient front flap. Lift it, chuck crap inside, let it flop down and get going. How more convenient can you get? Looks great on the college campus, stylish on the boardroom table and laid back on the beach.
This is the style you see most celebrities with. Celebrity and athlete MEN!
What can I say? Sometimes you just need a backpack. If you’ll be on your bike or walking around with your bag for a long periods of time.. Going hands free and letting it ride your back is the way to go.
Look for a leather backpack with a padded laptop compartment. Toss your tablet, kindle or laptop in there and kick start the Harley.
If you want a bag which will last you a while and get frequent use out of, be prepared to spend some good money on it.
Picture the price as an investment rather than a cost. You’re investing in your overall style, happiness and self-confidence.
If you go around town and look online, you will see a quality leather bag is usually several hundred to several thousand dollars.
We are not telling you to go throw thousands at a new bag but at the same time, be realistic. If you think a $75 leather man bag is going to last you, it won’t.
Set your expectations. If you’re going for quality, remember the tips we’ve shared, especially with only going for full-grain leather.
Testimonials and reviews are an excellent way to get a feel for the company and the bags. Once you’ve narrowed down the leather man bag, be sure to look at their reviews before you click the “add to cart” button.
If you have a question which hasn’t been answered in the Reviews or the company FAQ page, just ask them.
It always makes a statement and just feels good to buy handmade. You’re supporting small business and helping artisans make a living.
If you buy from most shops in the mall or chain stores, you’re encouraging the outsourcing of work to factories in Asia with questionable working conditions & money not going to the artist.
Support the artisan, buy handmade. You will have a great conversation starter too!
If you made it this far you will know what you’re looking for now. Here’s a little nudge:
Go with a handmade, vintage-style, full-grain leather man bag.
Vintage style leather bags seem to always be “in vogue” in that they have a timeless appeal. They fit in, whether at the cabin in front of the fire or on your shoulder in a fast paced, commuter environment. busy downtown.
We hope you’re more at ease with the man bag and are now confident that a man bag may be just what your style needs.