Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bag or Behemoth?

My friend Mike has been writing some great men's fashion commentary, and he suggested we try writing coordinating pieces sometime. Today he suggests that men over the age of detention and whippits should ditch the backpack and go for a messenger bag. (I'm curious, Mike -- the verdict on the man-purse?) In keeping with the theme of bags, here's what I've been pondering.

Why oh why, ladies, are we all shlepping around bags sized to carry your average Oxford English Dictionary? (Not the abridged one.) Where I currently work part-time, we sell bags your average three-year-old would fit into comfortably. I've checked. I see women carrying not one but two large totes--generally unmatched, generally one in nice leather and one found at a grocery store, and they don't seem to be carrying around recent purchases in them. Whatever happened to proportion? A nice clutch? A small satchel?

I'm just as much to blame as anyone. I have a deep-seated affection for my leather hobos, my new woven soft leather tote, and anything I can fit four hardbacks and a laptop into. Still. I call for a return to common sense. Any bag that cries out to be filled with 50 lbs of stuff--especially when said stuff is all mixed together in a huge sack with no dividers--is a chiropractor's dream.

So I have a new resolution: One bag, unless I'm shopping or carrying my son's backpack for him. Lipstick, wallet, phone, mints, collapsible hair brush. This is more than enough for out-and-about. If I'm heading to work, a slightly larger bag with my work papers neatly stashed in a folder will fit nicely into this:

Otherwise, I'm thinking more like this:But if I absolutely must carry something larger, for say, a weekend in NY or a presentation with lots of handouts, let it be something fabulous. Like this:
All the pockets are functional and separate compartments! It sooooo appeals to the obsessive-compulsive in me.

And as for backpacks -- Mike's right, ladies. Save them for the kids.


  1. On the train, for the past month, I've ditched the bag and just carry a book (and an umbrella if rain likely) and I feel it has been liberating (I carry enough baggage around mentally). On the train, I've been noticing women carrying multiple bags - guys with backpacks. In general, as someone who used to carry multiple books and a laptop every day, I feel people like to carry around stuff that they don't use but just want it there - a security blanket of sorts.

    What is your take on more-hipster-than-Target messenger backs like R.E.Load Bags?

  2. I think they're great -- if you're a hipster! Or just grooving on that urban-cool look. But not with a suit or other conservative wear. I'll ask Mike for his opinion on that too!

  3. I saw a woman on the train last week who was carrying two MASSIVE bags, just as you described: one nice leather one, the other was more "I just went to Whole Foods and bought every organic, dolphin-safe dessert they had." Absolutely nuts, I'm with you as far as trimming it down. People have houses for a reason, namely to store all of your crap so you don't lug it around with you. Why not just get a shopping cart?

    Since you asked, I think man-purses are fine. Guys have stuff to carry around too. If that includes lipstick for some of my brethren, then so be it.


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