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.
Man Bag Monday(Page 7)
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.
We’re all familiar with diaper bags; they’re a staple of new motherhood and an omnipresent companion during the early part of a child’s life. We’ve covered the difficulty of finding a stylish diaper bag in the past, but finally, companies are starting to get it together and realize that moms want options that are made out of materials other than pink paisley nylon.
I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a briefcase. Perhaps its because they’re the most prototypical of the masculine bags, or perhaps they’re intriguing to me because they’re the type of accessory I’m least likely to ever carry myself. Either way, the sleek, businesslike simplicity of a briefcase never ceases to pique my interest; more so than any other type of men’s bag, a man carrying a beautiful brief looks mature and successful in the most attractive of ways.
Last week, we took a look at some of the best casual messenger bags at accessible price points – the kind of options that most of the men we know and love might not only consider carrying, but would also consider plunking down a couple hundred bucks to own, even if they don’t generally consider themselves to be someone who’s fashion-conscious or concerned with how they dress on a daily basis.
There isn’t as much variety or innovative design in the world of men’s bags as in women’s, but there is one important realm in which the boys have one over on us: price. Male consumers are not as desensitized to accessories prices as women are, plus their bags are often simpler and have less hardware, which means that men often get a noticeable break when it comes to the markups we’re all used to.
During New York Fashion Week, I found myself chatting with the designer of a burgeoning men’s accessories collection about the landscape of men’s business worldwide. He had a lot of interesting things to say, most notably that men in America prefer satchels, men in Japan prefer totes and men in Europe are somewhere in between, but that Americans are becoming slowly more open to other shapes and structures.
I’ve always loved Balenciaga‘s motorcycle bags for men, but I always hear the same criticism of them from dudes, gay or straight, who are concerned about looking masculine – they look too much like the women’s bags to be distinctly male. And really, that’s fair – there have been times when I’ve questioned whether a particular shape belonged to the men’s or women’s collection, and with Balenciaga’s signature grommets, buckles and zippers on everything, it’s genuinely hard to tell what’s what.