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. After that, guys usually ask what men’s bags I think are the best, and I sputter for a few seconds. Given some time to think about it, though, my vote would go to Louis Vuitton.

I don’t think that Vuitton’s are necessarily the highest quality available on the planet or the most of-the-moment, but when you consider the fine materials used, the absolutely enormous selection of shapes and sizes, and the generally restrained, modern look of the bags, I think LV gives dude bag lovers the world over the best set of options available. I mean, just look at that Louis Vuitton Naxos Keepall 45 Bandouliere up there. It’s sedate, incredibly luxurious and totally classic. It’s hard to say that truthfully about any bag, men’s or women’s, but that’s often what Vuitton accomplishes with its men’s designs, especially in leather. You can pick up one for $4,850 via Louis Vuitton.

What about you? Have an indie brand you like? Prefer a company that keeps things a little more affordable? Let us know in the comments.

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. So: do you? Are you a better at being an adult than I am? (SPOILER ALERT: You probably are.) (more…)

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. They tick all of the boxes. I can hear the menswear street style photos being snapped as we speak.

I jest a bit, of course, but these are great backpacks in their own right. The beach-scene backpack in particular, designed in conjunction with textile designer Nowartt, adds something lighthearted-but-high-quality to the current men’s bag market that I’m very happy to see. The camo option is probably the one that will appeal to the widest cross-section of menswear consumers, and the handkerchief-print backpack will probably be of chief interest to younger dudes (the fact that it’s the least expensive of the three doesn’t hurt.


Master-Piece Co Hav-a-Hank Backpack
$270 via SSENSE

Master-Piece Co Hav-A-Hank Backpack

Master-Piece Co x Nowarrt Tropical Print Backpack
$600 via SSENSE

Master-Piece Co Tropical Print Backpack

Master-Piece Co Camouflage Surpass Backpack
$475 via SSENSE

Master-piece Co Camouflage Surpass Backpack

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.

Wouldn’t that be the best? Leave work early on a summer Friday to head out on a road trip with a well-appointed gent who’s hauling your bathing suits and flip-flops in a raffia keepall that looks so much more luxurious than raffia generally is. If you or your dude are the kind of people who change your weekender and travel bags with the season (lucky you), then a dark but still summer-textured option like this one is perfect; it won’t show wear like a more common light raffia, but it’s still got the feel of a tropical vacation, particularly with the tanned leather accents. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1,950.

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.

The upcoming fall bags are even more exciting than usual because the line boasts a capsule collection with indie menswear darling Billy Reid, who brings his southern sensibilities to a line of well-worn leather goods that male fashion fanatics (or, as they’re more commonly knows, menswear bros) are likely to snap up quickly. The line includes everything from leather-sheathed USB key fobs to weekenders in luxurious leather – a full accessory wardrobe for fall’s casual gentleman. Check out our photos of all the best pieces below.

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. Ladies, steal this one from your dude. Or buy it for yourself. Both are totally acceptable.

Chic beach bags aren’t exactly easy to come by, but this option is big enough, simple enough and durable enough to fit the bill. At right under $200, it also won’t make you cry to sit this bag down in the sand or throw a damp bottle of water inside after an afternoon outside. Summer bags, of course, have to be functional before anything else – they’re far more likely to encounter the elements than a bag carried during any other time of year, simply by virtue of the increased amount of time that most people spend outside during warm months.

And then, of course, there’s the color. The gorgeous ombré sunset that’s happening is the real draw here, and although Jack Spade also offers it in a green version, you’d be nuts not to go for the warm, glowing orange option. It’s summer on the side of a bag, if ever I’ve seen it. Just the thing to shake off the last of this lingering winter chill, whether it’s for you or for your dude. (Or if you are a dude. Hi, dude readers!) Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $195.

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.

I suppose the Longchamp Boxford Travel bag may not technically be a men’s bag; it’s listed as a travel option, after all, and those tend to be unisex. Bloomingdale’s considers it a member of the store’s men’s department, though, so I’m going to go with it. As it turns out, I was simply ignorant of the entire line, which includes leather briefcases and messenger bags as well. The things you learn from the Googles.

Of them all, though, I’m still particularly fond of this carryall. You can clearly see the signature Longchamp styling in it, but it’s been taken in a sturdier, more masculine direction. I could see both men and women using this bag proudly on a weekend adventure, and perhaps if you’re lucky, you’ll have one in your future. Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $320.

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.

It’s a startling thing to encounter a cerulean duffel bag on a page full of brown, black and grey men’s options, but Ferragamo has gone all-in on this color for spring. You can get a messenger bag and several types of shoulder bags (which look more like actual purses than many of the dudes I know might be comfortable with) in the same shade, but I, as always, am partial to the duffel. Not only does this shape lend itself to the widest variety of uses (everything from work bag to carry-on), but it’s the one that I’d most like to steal for myself. Humans are, after all, fundamentally self-interested creatures.

The combination of shape and color gives this duffel an almost Mad Men-era feel to it, like a Pan-Am pilot might use it to stow his extra uniform on a long-haul flight. That period of time has become almost synonymous with a dapper menswear look, but the textured leather of this bag means that it’ll stay looking fresh until we all have flying cars. (Just kidding. We’re never getting flying cars. The Jetsons was a lie. Buy through Nordstrom for $2,150.

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. The Givenchy Airplane Print Leather Trim Backpack is particularly great, although it’s Givenchy, so I bet no one’s shocked.

This bag is a decidedly casual option, and for a mostly non-leather backpack, the four-digit price tag seems a bit steep. Perhaps that’s simply because I’m used to seeing men get relatively good deals on designer bags; Givenchy’s non-leather women’s offerings certainly don’t come much cheaper. Or maybe it’s because backpacks will always sound inherently youthful, and it seems silly to pay over a thousand dollars for something that’s based on a child’s school bag. I tell ya what, if Jansport came out with some backpacks that looked like this one, I’d be the first in line to have my pick. Buy through Mr. Porter for $1,135.

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. At first blush, this bag’s a lot less Dolce-looking than I would have expected.

If you’re familiar with the brand’s women’s bags, then you probably see some of the DNA of the Dolce & Gabbana Miss Sicily Satchel in this design. The top handle structure and overall proportion are similar, as is the banding at the top where the top handle is attached (although it doesn’t extend across the entire bag on the Miss Sicily). The bags diverge, though, when Dolce adds some distinctly masculine details to this bag – the schoolboy front straps, the tough-looking leather, the larger size.

Had I been shown this bag without context, I wouldn’t have guessed it were Dolce & Gabbana, and I suppose that’s my biggest beef with the design. It’s missing the slick, luxurious Italian quality that I associate with the brand, and it has almost a “heritage” look to it, which isn’t really what I want from a brand know for sexy, expensive garments for both genders. If it tickles your fancy, though, you can pick up this bag for $1,575 via Mr. Porter.

Follow Closely