Bag ’em up, Gents

The handbag has long been a centerpiece of a woman’s functional world. And while serving an obvious purpose, handbags have evolved to become fashion statements in their own right. From Hermés’ iconic ‘Birkin’ to the classic (and now defunct) ‘Muse’ from Yves Saint Laurent, women’s handbags continue to serve a cross-functional purpose that fuses style and utility.

For men, the “man bag” (or “murse” –as some might prefer to call them) has yet to reach the same type of archetypal status as a ‘Birkin.’ That day of recognition may never come to light, but what is for sure is that man bags have clearly evolved to be much more useful today than they ever have been before. The world of men’s accessories, in general, continually expands as style and function persists to go hand in hand. And man bags, which have evolved out of everything from functional gym bags, professional briefcases to compartment-laden camera bags, have come a long way. While we’ve long bid farewell to those days when all a man really needed to carry around were a wallet and keys, we have also entered a world where simple messenger bags just aren’t enough. As technology advances, there comes more devices to tote around. And we simply don’t have enough pant pockets to stick those devices in without looking absolutely ridiculous.

Designers and clothing companies have all taken notice of this growing need in the last few years. And heritage brands like Herschel Supply Co. and Filson continue to cater to the trendier set of bag-wielding gents. Messenger bags and briefcases are now joined by a plethora of other functional gear that today’s man finds completely necessary and useful.

Here are some of my picks for the coming season:

Neil Barrett

neilbarrett_backpackBlack Retro Modernist Backpack, $1,295, ssense.com

Backpacks are all the rage again, and are making their marks at the bus stops and in the boardrooms. Luxe designers are all taking part in the backpack revolution, too. While the likes of Givenchy, Saint Laurent & Valentino have all jumped on the bandwagon with their star-studded versions, Neil Barrett takes a less “starry” approach with his signature thunderbolt logo. And while I love a good thunderbolt, it is his black retro modernist pack that has me feeling all the feels. It is sleek and it is hot –everything that a cool guy would want to carry around this fall.

Zanellato

zanellatto_toteFlap Closure Tote Bag, $729.95, farfetch.com

Tote bags seem to be on every designer’s list these days, but this bag from Zanellato takes the trendy tote and gives it a messenger-ish spin… keeping it more manly than your average tote. The lock detail on this bag may scream “Mulberry” to those in the know, but take a closer look. While we all may love a classic Mulberry, this bag screams sleek and modern all the way. The gray leather makes for a great neutral color that will go with everything.

Allsaints

allsaints_holdallHart Holdall, $378, allsaints.com

High Street brands also offer up the latest and greatest in man bag fashion, and at a fraction of the luxury labels’ price tags. This option from UK shop, Allsaints, takes a classic holdall and gives it a rocker-chic edge. Part work bag, part gym bag, it is also perfect for day trips away from the city.

Massimo Dutti

massimodutti_messengerMessenger Bag, $345, massimodutti.com

The classic messenger bag will never go out of style. Functioning as both a carryall or a work bag, the classic messenger is always a “go to” for those who need to sling around more than just a wallet and phone. Massimo Dutti’s bag, in brown, is beautifully crafted, and makes for a sophisticated man bag option that can be used on the daily.

So gents, take heed. You no longer have to be style-less when it comes to baggin’ around your stuff. Prep yourself for fall with one of the options I’ve listed above, or go your own way. There’s a (man) bag out there for everyone.

Note: Images from ssense.com, farfetch.com, allsaints.com & massimodutti.com.

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