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. Where do I begin?

Selling fanny packs to female customers is hard enough. Designers have tried to rebrand them as “belt bags” or “waist bags,” but we all know what we’re looking at, and we have all the negative associations from the 80s to go right along with it. Male accessory costumers are customarily even more tentative to go for a piece that might find them on the receiving end of ridicule or questions of their masculinity, and if one such piece exists, it is most certainly a floral fanny pack.

Not even East Dane, the site that’s selling this bag, can bear to style it as intended in the site’s modeling photo, choosing instead to have the male model clutch the bag by the top handle with the waist strap entirely obscured. While the site clearly isn’t trying to hide the bags essential fanny pack-ness, it does appear to be signaling to potential customers that, hey, you don’t have to wear it like that! You can wear it like a satchel! Wait, guys, come back!

The hardcore menswear crowd will likely wear a piece like this as a badge of honor, a demonstration for all of how dedicated they are to their weird #menswear looks. As of this writing, East Dane boasts only two of these bags left in stock, so it may be happening as we speak. Buy through East Dane for $675.

I know that it might seem like it’s a bit early in the year to talk about boats and sailing and beaches and the appropriate bags to carry during those activities, but it’s, like, really super cold where I am right now, and I’d appreciate it if you guys would just indulge me for a moment. I need it. I also need a Black Point Mercantile Signal Tote.

These totes, made of coated canvas and intended to mimic the bold, primary-color look of nautical signal flags, are handmade in America, and they have to be some of the most perfectly preppy beach bags I’ve ever laid eyes upon. They fit the theme without being too precious because of their distressed detailing, which mimics the effect of salt water on actual nautical flags. The bags, complete with leather handles, will run you $276 apiece via East Dane.

Black Point Mercantile Uniform Signal Flag
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Uniform Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile X-Ray Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile X-Ray Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile Delta Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Delta Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile Papa Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Papa Signal Tote

For the past few years, we’ve done more robust gift guides for the men in your life, but (if I may be candid for a moment) no one reads them. And that’s ok, I understand. I don’t really like putting them together, because dude gifts aren’t all that fun. For most of us, the men in our lives aren’t looking for something super-stylish or luxurious, and as much as we want to give them fancy things, they probably won’t appreciate them fully. The solution? Fancy Lite. (more…)

Despite the fact that plenty of people do it and plenty of brands want you to give it a shot, traveling with expensive luggage or carry-on bags makes me nervous. The airport is…just so disgusting. It makes me want to hand-sanitize my entire body, and as difficult as that might be, it’s even less possible when it comes to your bags. So far, the best compromise I’ve come up with for traveling in style is with a vintage bag, like this Louis Vuitton Vintage Epi Leather Travel Bag. [UPDATE: Our commenters have identified the bag as a Louis Vuitton Taiga Kendall!] (more…)

As a photographer with a sensibility for style, finding a dapper camera bag can prove a challenge. The market is full of highly functional products that promise to withstand the toughest abuse in the field, yet most sport the same boring black canvas appearance that leaves bag lovers unsatisfied. Turn to the European luxury brands, and you will find very few options, most of which lack in technical refinement and make your piggy bank cry. Another option could be to buy padded dividers for your favorite messenger bag, but where would be the fun in that?

The good folks at Ona Bags aim to balance appearance and function while keeping your precious optics safe from damage. For the past few weeks, I have been carrying my dSLR and rangefinder kits in the Ona Brixton, and today I am here to tell you all about it. (more…)

Last week on our sister site TalkShoes, we discussed a pair of Lanvin men’s sneakers that will likely skew a little bit feminine for even open-minded male fashion lovers. In writing the post, it was interesting to examine all the deep-seated assumptions we have about almost every element of fashion and how they relate to perceptions of gender and sexuality. I’m not going to get all grad school on you guys right now (mostly because I’ve not been to grad school), but our choices are a language in which we speak about ourselves, and this Lanvin Iridescent Bag speaks in a different way than those shoes did. (more…)

“Are we ready for a Celine-inspired exotic men’s bag?” Is a question I never thought I’d find myself turning over in my head, but here we are. It’s Monday morning and that’s what’s on my mind. The En Noir Snakeskin Travel Bag owes a debt of design gratitude to any number of popular women’s bags; there are details here from the Celine Luggage Tote, the 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli and Celine’s new Knot Tote, but I’m not sure they add up to much of anything.

What we have here could perhaps best be described as a Frankenbag. It’s full of ideas that are good on their own, but when all arranged together, they start to feel a little disjointed and overwhelming. Particularly in men’s accessories, that’s not a desirable outcome; male consumers generally err on the side of either stark modernism or all-out heritage styling, and this bag represents neither of those options.

Most problematic is the top flap, which feels like a very women’s-bag detail in this context. It’s also not properly scaled for the handles it partially covers, which makes it feel tacked on. If the flap was removed, this bag would likely fare far better. Celine already figured that it – the brand styled its Knot Totes with the cumbersome top flap hidden for Spring 2014.

Buy through Barneys for $4,825.

If you can’t believe it’s Novemeber already, that makes one of us. Before we know it, the year 2013 will be coming to a close, and with the end of the year comes a lot of holiday traveling, whether it be across state lines or cross-country. Either way, a bag of some sort will making the traveling experience all the more pleasant, beyond simply being necessary for the journey. To kick off the start of these holiday festivities is Thanksgiving, and if you can believe it, it’s only three weeks away. For your diverse travel needs, I recommend the Mismo Convertible Bag. (more…)

Before I start, I should mention that MCM has a particular knack for convincing me to like things I normally hate. For instance, logo bags – I haven’t bought a logo bag since I was in college and have no plans to do so now, but MCM’s logo pieces have such unpretentious swagger to them that I’d totally go down that road for one of them. MCM also made me lust for a backpack long before the trend took off, for reasons I still can’t entirely explain. It looks like the brand’s powers of persuasion have hit a wall with the MCM Waist Bag.

Isn’t it funny how many euphemisms fashion brands will come up with for “fanny pack?” In women’s fashion, the go-to term is “belt bag,” and apparently, for the dudes, “waist bag” is the term of discretion. We all know what it is we’re looking at here, though, and this bag isn’t styled to be anything more ambitious than what it is: a fanny pack. The shape and details are as much of a literal 80s throwback as you’ll ever find – if you showed me a photo of my dad wearing this bag around his midsection while trotting a four-year-old me through Disney World, I wouldn’t question it for a second.

There’s a certain type of charm in that kind of fearless embrace of something so often reviled, and that charm will surely be enough to sell a couple of these bags to the irony-lovers of the world. Beyond that, though, I can imagine many average dudes ponying up several hundred bucks for this throwback. If you’re part of that rather slim crowd, pick one up for $425 via Bloomingdale’s.

When I look at a bag I’ve never seen before for the first time, the first thing I always try to imagine is where I’d take it. Accessories both need and provide context in various ways, and a strong sense of how a bag fits into the aesthetic world is one of the surest ways to start evaluating how well-designed it is. When it comes to the Jack Spade Desert Suede Duffel Bag, I know exactly where this bag is headed.

Don’t let the name fool you; although the color may be sufficiently sandy, this bag’s destiny is actually to some kind of leafy destination upstate, perhaps for a weekend of apple-picking and cider-sipping and all those fall things that are really, genuinely lovely despite also being tired cliches. This bag will hold all the warm flannel shirts and cozy socks you need, and at a far more attainable price than the last suede manbag we looked at. Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $550.

Follow Closely