I love having visitors from home come see me in New York City because it gives me an opportunity to try new things and go new places while playing tour guide. This past weekend my friend David came to town, and after seeing a particularly splendid grosgrain-trimmed blazer at Bergdorf Goodman, he requested we make a trip to the Thom Browne boutique in Tribeca.
Man Bag Monday(Page 4)
You’d think that a black leather duffle bag couldn’t possibly be all that interesting, right? We’ve all seen them done in a thousand different ways by as many different brands, and at a certain point, they just all blur together. Imagine my pleasant surprise, then, when met one of the founders of American leather goods company Parabellum during New York Fashion Week in February and was genuinely impressed with the materials used, the level of workmanship, basically everything.
We tend to write mostly about expensive man bags for Man Bag Monday, which I suppose makes sense in the context of the rest of the things we tend to fawn over; the men’s luxury market is opening up in an exciting way right now, and it’s fun to explore that. For the average style-minded male consumer, though, I get the sense that four-figure bags aren’t the first stop for something stylish.
In the current luxury market, Louis Vuitton is nothing less than the man bag gold standard. No other large designer does as comprehensive and varied a men’s accessories collection as Vuitton, and the range of the goods – all the way from tiny decorate pins to large luggage pieces – is incomparable. Not only that, but Vuitton is masterful at changing the feel of its men’s accessories from season to season when most designers that are playing to that large an audience would focus on a more traditional male consumer.
Men’s bags don’t vary all that much, although they’re starting to vary a little bit more, so seeing something like the Balenciaga Creased Leather Pouch always makes me a bit confused. This bag was in the new arrivals at Mr. Porter alongside what can only be described as a Jil Sander Black Leather Lunch Bag which had completely sold out, so it’s undeniable that there’s a market for what is essentially a men’s clutch.
When you receive a text message from a straight guy extolling the virtues of a new bag he just saw, it’s probably best to pay attention, because that sort of thing doesn’t happen often. (Unless you have particularly fashion-conscious straight dude friends, which I don’t.) That happened to me last week, and the object of said dude’s lust was the Everlane Weekender, a promising bag by a fashion startup Everlane that comes in four unisex colors and rings in at just under $100.
Between London’s first-ever dedicated men’s fashion week and Pitti Uomo in Firenze, menswear has been all over the fashion radar this month. In keeping with current trends in the category, the London and Pitti shows were full of prints, patterns and generalized male fashion insanity. It’s great to see dudes who are interested in fashion finally have more options that cater to a wider variety of aesthetic preferences, but the pictures coming out of Europe have been so nuts at times that I feel like I need a bit of menswear palate cleanser.
It’s June, which means that the Internet is positively overrun with sales and discounts and opportunities for impulse-buying galore, but ladies aren’t the only ones who can participate in the veritable free-for-all. Dudes need sales too, and they also need chic accessories. Luckily for them, Net-a-Porter’s brother site, Mr. Porter, has an online semi-annual sale that’s every bit as good as NAP’s legendary discount-fest, and it’s running right now.
The beginning of summer may seem like an odd time to buy a backpack – after all, they’re most often associated with school, which is just now drawing to a close – but the season calls for bags that are casual, lightweight and hands-free. Outdoor music festivals, days in the park, picnics, maybe even a light hike: all of these activities would benefit from having your man well-equipped with a great backpack, if only so that you can leave your own accessories at home and spend the day truly hands free.
When we pick men’s bags to write about, we usually try to find things that will appeal to a wide audience. Men in general are newer to this whole bag thing than women are, and although some of you guys are incredibly advanced and toting travel Birkins like it’s your job, we think you’ll agree that it’s your slightly more stylistically challenged brethren who need our man bag guidance the most.