As a real, live single woman in her 20s who is dating in New York City, I make a lot of small talk with dudes who I don’t know very well. Almost invariably, when a dude finds out what I do for a living, first he wants to tell me about that time where he spent an “exorbitant” amount of money (usually less than $600 – straight guys and their bags are so adorable) on a bag that he actually loves, and it was totally worth it, so he understands the whole handbag thing.

I’m not really here to talk about the Jack Spade Folding Leather Valet Tray, truth be told. It’s a fine example of the genre, of course, and many similar pieces from brands like Hermes retail for far more. What I’m actually here to discuss, on this fine Man Bag Monday, is whether or not real people of either gender actually use these doo-dads for their intended purposes.

I’m always on the lookout for men’s bags that are a little bit left-of-center, and with Master-Piece Co’s fun printed men’s backpacks, I believe I’ve found just that. These Master-Piece Co Printed Backpacks are like catnip for menswear bros – they’re brightly printed but with retro touches and leather trim that give them an air of some kind of amorphous authenticity, they’re all made in Japan (as I understand it, Japan is very important to menswear bros), and two of them are made in collaboration with other indie design brands.

I feel like I’ve delivered the “spring is coming” message a lot over the past six weeks, and although I’m sure I sound like a broken record, this winter weather has gone on so long that I feel as though I’m repeating as much to convince myself that it’s true as to talk about spring fashion. As I write this, it’s 45 degrees in early April and I’m about to set out toward warmer climates for a bit of a vacation, but to make it this far, I’ve had to completely give myself over to the delusion (it certainly feels like a delusion) that one day, the Gucci Leather and Raffia Holdall will indeed be a weather-appropriate choice for a weekend beach trip someplace local.

Like we mentioned last week, we were lucky enough to attend the Coach Fall 2013 Preview, and, end to end, it was pretty great. Not only did they give us rosé and salted caramel whoopie pies (if you ever hear me complain about my job, slap me), but the bags were, of course, fantastic. Coach’s events are always fun, but every season, one of my favorite things about the brand’s previews is getting the opportunity to scope out the men’s bags and accessories right alongside the women’s collection, and every season, I come away with a mental list of men’s bags that I’d love to have for myself that rivals my mental list of women’s bags to covet.

I lamented not long ago that we don’t see a lot of fun color in men’s bags; beyond the most traditional of neutrals, mainstream designers don’t give dudes a whole lot to work with, even if warm weather. Thankfully, the market is starting to diversify, and it’s happening just in time for beach season with a bag like the Jack Spade Ombré Coal Tote.

If you attended an American college in the last decade or so, then you’ve probably had a Longchamp bag in your life at some point. Even if you didn’t own one (I never had the urge), you probably knew a slew of girls who swore by theirs as a constant companion during time on campus. Plenty of ladies have graduated their Longchamp nylon totes into utilitarian post-collegiate work-wear as well, but until today, I had no idea that the company also made men’s bags.

The vast majority of the bags that we feature during our weekly man bag sojourns are, to put it bluntly, a bit drap. Most men like it that way; colors, especially brights, are generally reserved to ladies and the more flamboyant gays. I’m not sure who decided that wearing color was un-masculine, but I’d like to disagree. Men look great in color at the same rate women do, and judging by the Salvatore Ferragamo Revival Duffel Bag, some Italian gents agree with me.

Not long ago, we mentioned that women’s backpacks seemed to have become a full-fledged handbag trend; you guys were not amused. For men, though, backpacks are a more traditional option well after college has ended. I don’t think men should wear them with suits because they tend to wrinkle well-pressed clothing, but other than that, they’re a perfectly reasonable alternative to other kinds of man bags.

I know it’s my job to know these things, but I’d like to go ahead and admit that I wasn’t even really aware that Dolce & Gabbana made men’s bags until I laid eyes on the Dolce & Gabbana Full-Grain Leather Messenger. Of course I assumed that the brand did, but I don’t think I had ever seen one, let alone sought one out for evaluation; Dolce’s men’s suits and shoes are simply far more spotlight-stealing than the rest of the line.

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