We’ve talked previously about menswear’s recent, vibrant facelift, especially when it comes to the accessory market’s various printed and patterned bags. Designers have gone beyond the traditional stripes and plaids that are often associated with menswear, and these new choices indicate an edgier and more androgynous approach. To continue with this list, we have the signature Givenchy rose camouflage print in the form of a simple nylon backpack.

Tomorrow, I set off for a week in Georgia to visit my family and attend my college’s spring football scrimmage, so I’ve been thinking a lot about travel bags in lieu of, you know, actually packing a travel bag. They’re the unsung heroes of the leather goods industry – they do a lot of work, and none of it is in optimal conditions, no matter how many ads leather goods brands show us that depict beautiful Italian men loading immaculate weekenders into the back seats of vintage convertibles.

It’s officially spring, even if it doesn’t feel like it, and with the eventually warmer weather comes the promise of travel. A good weekender or duffel is a universal necessity for both men and women, and the Lotuff Leather Travel Duffel Bag is an attractive, somewhat reasonably priced, American-made option that we can picture accompanying us on many a summer trip.

I don’t get fooled often. Not only is a sense for leather a biproduct of my job, but most brands that use embossed faux-exotics for their bags just don’t use very good ones. The differences between real and fake are most apparent when it comes to python, but usually crocodile and alligator are pretty easy to spot as well, even when the bag is very expensive.

Some designers have such a specific design aesthetic and consistently use such specific details in recognizable ways that you can spot a new bag from the brand a mile away – think Bottega Veneta’s iconic woven patterns, or Mulberry’s classic postman’s lock. The same can be said of contemporary designer Alexander Wang when looking at this Wallie Washed-Leather Backpack; Wang never ceases to amaze me, and I was instantly intrigued by this backpack.

Combining cars and fine leather goods isn’t a new idea; I remember seeing commercials for limited edition Lexus sedans upholstered in Coach leather (and with a matching set of Coach luggage) when I was a kid, and Hermes has kitted out concept cars by everyone from Hyundai to Bugatti. The latest automaker-luxury goods duo to give the idea a whirl is BMW and Louis Vuitton, and they’ve just launched the Louis Vuitton x BMW i8 Limited Edition Carbon Fiber Luggage at select LV boutiques worldwide.

Outside the bounds of the most forward-thinking sectors in menswear, printed and patterned men’s bags, besides plaid, have long been basically nonexistent. Florals and leopard print are a tough enough sell in shirts, let alone in a bag that a dude might be expected to carry every day. Menswear is expanding rapidly, though, especially when it comes to western men’s ideas of what they can wear or carry to still feel “masculine.” That means that even the most mainstream designers have given men a lot more interesting things to play with over the past few seasons, which includes a lot of print bags for spring.

I love buffalo plaid. It’s almost always red and black, which is my favorite color combination, and I’m already a pretty big appreciator of plaid, both on my person and on the persons of male-type people. Considering that, my affection for the Jack Spade Dipped Buffalo Check Utility Tote isn’t exactly shocking. If you or your man is sick of staid, neutral man bags but still want a classic look, this tote is a perfect option.

Although menswear’s reach is expanding rapidly, I rarely find myself wishing I could hop to the other side of the gender aisle to experiment; women’s fashion is just a lot more fun. The Givenchy L.C. 24H Bag is the rare piece that makes its women’s equivalent, the Givenchy Lucrezia Bag, look bad by comparison.

I like the Lucrezia, but it’s never felt quite right to me.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to feature for Man Bag Monday. Occasionally, I venture out to find an interesting bag and find nothing but tan leather weekenders and black messenger bags staring back at me, and what’s there left to say about any of those bags, unless they have a great (or astronomical) price point? Today was not one such day, because I found the 3.1 Phillip Lim Men’s Fanny Pack staring at me.

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