Considering the beloved menswear collections that Hedi Slimane created as the head of Dior Homme, it’s perhaps no surprise that his men’s clothes at Saint Laurent feel like they’ve found their groove more quickly than his womenswear. That’s where his experience lies, after all, and Slimane’s rock star aesthetic lends itself well to dressing cooler-than-thou dudes with narrow hips, who make up much of the premiere designer menswear audience in the first place. Even those dudes have to schlep things around occasionally, the necessity of which brings us the Saint Laurent Roc Sack Backpack.

Beyond the cute play on “rucksack,” the bag is approximately what one might expect. Black leather, silver hardware, traditional shape – Slimane’s never shown an inclination to reinvent the wheel, and he’s certainly not doing that here. The leather does look rather thick and sumptuous, though, and it’s without doubt that any number of Slimane acolytes, male and female alike, will be seen slinging this bag over their already leather-clad shoulders come fall. If there’s anything I can appreciate from the aesthetic changes that he’s brought to Saint Laurent, it’s the tendency to use a lot of black leather.

For a men’s bag, the price of this backpack – $2,995 via Barneys – is a bit high, but in a way, I appreciate that a brand is pricing its bags marketed toward men the same way that it prices the bags intended for female consumers. Usually, we get the raw end of the deal.

We’ve talked quite a bit lately about how women can get great deals on spring and summer styles at almost every major retailer by now, but many major retailers are having their men’s sales now, too. Neiman Marcus, Mr. Porter and SSENSE all have a great selection of men’s bags on markdown, and we’ve taken the liberty of pre-shopping those sites on your behalf in order to search out the best pieces available at a discount. Think of this as Bag Deals: Dude Edition. (more…)

Of all the bags that we’ve seen translated from women’s signature styles into men’s briefs, duffels and weekenders, the Alexander McQueen Heroine Satchel wasn’t one that I expected to ever find on that list. It seemed too curvy, too detailed to make the jump, the closure too cumbersome for the kinds of functional requirements men usually make of their bags. (Believe me, we’re willing to put up with a lot more than the dudes are.) And yet, here’s the Alexander McQueen Full-Grain Leather Holdall, proving me wrong.

For this bag, the team at McQueen smoothed out the Heroine’s signature curves into an angular trim finishes the front flap. That’s not the only notable modification to the flap closure, though; instead of using it as a cover for the top of the bag, the dudes get theirs moved to the front pocket in favor of a zip-top closure that makes accessing your belongings much simpler. After all, who wants to be forced to take your arm out of a bag’s straps and sit it down in front of you in order to be able to access literally anything inside of it? This men’s interpretation preserves the signature handle-threaded flap but makes the bag a thousand times more functional. Looking at it now, I’d never guess that it’s derived from a women’s style if I didn’t already know. Buy through Mr. Porter for $1,995.

Last week, we spoke a little bit about the optimal times for men to be wearing backpacks (not with suits!) and which ones you or your dude might want to pick up if being a cool kid matters. (Be honest, it does.) This week, we’ve located another backpack for cool kids (from SSENSE, the ultimate retailer of such things): the Neil Barrett Copper Iridescent Brasilia Backpack. It looks like the color-shifting trend isn’t just for the ladies.

It’s hard to find leather that both looks soft and has had a significant color-shifting treatment successfully applied to it (there’s a reason that so many of these pieces are PVC), but this bag makes it work. What’s going on here isn’t so much a holo as it is a duo- or multi-chrome; the base color shifts to one or more other shades, depending on the light, instead of creating an entire rainbow. You’ve probably seen the effect elsewhere on fun nail polish or questionable custom paint jobs on cars of the mid-to-late-1990s. Come to think of it, this backpack looks a little 90s in its own right.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing – there’s a whole wave of 90s nostalgia going on right now, much of which I personally love – but I wish that Barrett had gone with fewer 90s details. Even the exclusion of the drawstring closure would have elevated things for me, but I would have preferred it without the buckle straps entirely. A 90s shape, a 90s finish, but with modern details; that would have been perfect. Buy through SSENSE for $1,925.

There are advantages (the splendor of Grand Central!) and disadvantages (subway flashers!) to commuting to work within New York City, but one of my favorite parts of going to work in midtown Manhattan is getting to see how non-fashion people, especially straight dudes, dress themselves. When I worked at home, my main forays out into the world were in the evenings and on weekends, which meant that I was missing out on a whole slew of sartorial decision-making, especially when it came to work clothes. Now that I’ve been at the whole commute thing for a few months, I have some thoughts. Chiefly among them: Guys, stop wearing lame backpacks with your suits. You look like you’re headed to give a very important presentation to your third period American history class. If you want to wear a backpack in your off hours, though, that’s totally cool – I even have some suggestions. (more…)

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.

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