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Men’s Bags – Ending the Controversy

dark brown mens bag

There has been a lot of talk these days about men’s bags and whether they should be a part of a man’s arsenal of accessories. So much so that I had more than a few readers ask me to write an article about it. No doubt that everyone wants to know if they should get one or not.

So here’s the big question. The elephant in the room that no one talks about.

Can Men Wear Bags?

Yes, they can. I recommend them. The time when men’s accessories were limited to ties are looong gone. Nowadays we have lots of choices when it comes to accessories (just look at Johnny Depp) – and bags are one of them.

Now there are more masculine bags and more feminine bags. We’re going to discuss about them later but, first, let me tell you some of the benefits of this type of accessory(just in case you’re not convinced yet).

The Benefits of Wearing a Bag

In fact, I’m only going to stick with a couple of them:

  • they are practical
  • they are fashionable

Just like women stick dozens of things in their purses, men can do the same with their bags. Putting everything in your pockets can get uncomfortable if you have a big wallet or a big cell phone. And if you have a tablet PC or an eBook reader, then… you get the idea.

From my own experience, carrying a men’s bag is extremely useful. In time, I start to carry more and more things with me while I’m out – things I could never fit into my pockets.

Did I say men’s bags are fashionable? Well, that’s actually the main reason why I wrote this article: to show you how you can upgrade your attire with this neat accessory.

First off, by putting everything in a bag you are emptying your pockets. Pockets look bad when they are full. Have you ever seen a fashion model walking around the catwalk with his pockets full?

It just makes no sense from a style point of view to have full pockets. That’s when a men’s bag comes to the rescue.

And there’s another reason: you get to match your bag with the rest of your outfit. You get to do color coordination and/or contrasts. Needless to say, if you’ve been a style student of mine you knew about this.

Let me give you an example. I have a dark-brown bag which looks like this:

Now, what would I wear with such a bag? For instance…

Above you can see a very stylish pair of dark brown boat shoes and a dark brown leather belt.

Depending on the colors off your own bag, you can mix-and match them using the already taught style rules.

Which Fabric Should I Choose?

Stick to either leather or canvas. Always remember that leather is more formal than leather. Also, make sure your other accessories and shoes are of the same fabric (i.e. wear leather shoes with a leather bag and canvas shoes with a canvas bag).

You can also go for a mixture of both, in which case you can either match that bag with either leather or canvas accessories. Up to you and your own sense of style (which I guarantee will improve if you browse around the articles).

The different types of bags…

OK, this is where the fun starts. depending on your own unique style, you can choose among different types of bags.

The Briefcase

The briefcase is probably the safest of all men’s bags. It’s got class it’s got style and if you get a quality one, you’ll make some amazing first impressions in your business meetings.

Yep, these chunky leather briefcases are most suitable for work. match them with your belt, shoes, even your gloves or umbrella.

The safest briefcase color is definitely black. Most men go for black and this is the reason I actually recommend brown. Brown, since it’s not (yet) widely used, will make you stand out more in formal situations. Black and brown are as far as you can go as far as briefcases are concerned so, ideally, you should have one on each color depending on what you decide to wear.

The Messenger Bag

The messenger is one of my favorite bags. It’s medium-sized, casual and I can wear it over the shoulder (and keep my hands free).

I can’t give you any hard rules on how to match this type of bag – I’ll just leave you with a few photos that will give you some cool ideas.

And this is me wearing a black canvas messenger bag:

Notice how the bag is part of the outfit – it’s like a designer house made this entire outfit just for me. You can find this and more outfits in the Be Stylish ™ Lookbook.

If you like to play with color and you already got a black and/or a brown bag, it’s time you discovered other colors and patterns. Take this one from Gucci, for instance:

It’s got a nice pattern that stands out and it will work great with an outfit in earthy tones (brown, yellow, orange).

The Holdall Bag

The holdall bag is the one that you always see when you’re looking at men’s fashion shows (you do look at fashion shows to form your eye, right?). It’s pretty big and you can fit a lot of things into it. It’s really stylish especially if you color match it with the rest of your outfit.

Check out these hold all bags below and think if you could fit any of these into your outfits.

… this one is from Trussardi (on the right of his picture on in his left hand)…

… and this one is from Roberto Cavalli:

There is one big drawback of some holdall bags: they can’t be carried over the shoulder. if this isn’t an inconvenient to you, go ahead and try one to see if you like it. In fact, if you already have a couple of messenger bags, I recommend that you get a hold all bag anyway and be one step ahead most style-unaware men.

The Backpack

I left the backpack at the end because is the last thing I would choose as far as men’s bags are concerned. Now don’t get me wrong – if you’re in high school, backpacks are fine and you can actually make some pretty stylish outfits that involve them.

But if you’re a grown MAN (even if you’re still in college), then you should definitely consider some of the other options.

It’s always up to you of what you can or cannot wear, but this type of outfit is generally NOT stylish:

Buuut. There are exceptions. At some point, someone tweeted me asking about men’s bags (at the time I didn’t have this article posted so we started chatting). Since he was young and he was looking for something casual, I immediately recommended him a messenger bag.

To my surprise, he said the only type of bag he could was the back pack. Why? I asked.

I have a back problem, he replied. I need the weight of the bag to be evenly spread on my back, so a briefcase, a messenger bag or a hold all bag are ALL out of the question.

So I had no choice but to recommend him a backpack (and along came my advice about how to color match it, how he should stay away from those with camouflage patterns, how he should avoid those with big chunky pockets etc.)

This was a special case which required a special recommendation than the one I’m about to give you> stay away from backpacks unless you’re in high-school or have special needs. If you’re going to make an investment into a bag, make sure you get the most for what you pay.

So, my question to you is: are you going to get one? My comments box is open – feel free to let me know what you decided you want to buy. Feel free to even post a picture – maybe I can comment on it and give you some tips on how to wear your new men’s bag.

George Lavas

George is dedicated to fashion and style for men. Based in the UK, George enjoys writing about lifestyle and fashion from both sides of the pond. George created BeStylish.org to help readers create a strong sense of style with minimum effort believing that everyone can look and feel good, all day, every day.

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