Just when you think you've got everything sorted in this menswear game, something comes along and throws a right old spanner in the works. You have nailed your fit, curated the perfect capsule wardrobe, and even developed a vast and glorious shoe collection – only to find one day that you’re still missing that little bit extra. That tiny corner you’d forgotten to check for boring, unstylish mice. The sartorial monster under your bed.
For me, and I’m sure most men out there, that monster is the ever elusive ‘right bag’. Or rather the right bag for both my lifestyle and personal style. Because no matter what I do or how hard I dress – my bag always seems to let me down.
Let’s face it, choosing the right bag can often be confusing and intimidating. There are plenty of options to choose from out there that come in a myriad of colours, materials and sizes all at varying price points. With so much to consider, it can be hard to know where to start. Or even when to finish. Which leaves most of us still bag-less – or settling for something we didn’t really want. Furthermore, as with other aspects of men’s style, practicality, functionality and masculinity are contributing factors to selecting the perfect bag. So lets look at bags that are both fool-proof and extremely suitable for any aspiring stylish gentleman.
If in doubt, which we basically always are, the duffel bag should really be your go-to. It’s the default option because it can perform multiple functions on a daily basis while still retaining an element of style. It’s ideal for the gym goer who likes to keep their gear close to hand. The perfect companion for the weekenders who exclusively carry-on. And for anyone who tries to live anything resembling an interesting life outside of work, it’s basically your portable wardrobe.
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. Folios are not necessarily about function, but for making a clean, streamlined statement they always come out on top.
The tote is probably the most underrated of bags. It’s great because it can carry a huge amount of supplies – laptop, camera, magazines, notepads, spare shoes, spare shirt, accessories – and all in what is essential a giant portable pocket. What’s not to like about that? Us guys do love stuffing things into our pockets after all.
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 and they are the ideal choice for a sartorial student, casual man or every day bike rider.
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 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.