In fashion, spotting something twice can be a coincidence, but once you’ve seen a similar piece three times, from three different brands, you can bet that you have a trend (or, at the very least, a trendlet) on your hands. It took no time at all for me to round up the three floral backpacks above, so you best believe that designers are looking to make dudes a little more flower-friendly for spring.

Average guys probably have a little bit of trepidation when it comes to strapping on a bag made out of a garden-party print, but these designers aren’t making bags for average guys. Fashion-forward men have been experimenting with florals for many a season, and the trend continues to gather momentum. Spring is the perfect time to step a little bit out of your comfort zone, and these three bags all ring in at somewhat reasonable prices.


AMI Floral Print Canvas Backpack
$344 via MATCHESFASHION.COM

AMI Floral Print Canvas Backpack

Herschel Classic Settlement Backpack
$55 via Bloomingdale’s

Herschel Classic Settlement Backpack

Surface to Air Aloha Print Backpack
$300 via SSENSE

Surface to Air Aloha Print Backpack

I don’t get fooled often. Not only is a sense for leather a biproduct of my job, but most brands that use embossed faux-exotics for their bags just don’t use very good ones. The differences between real and fake are most apparent when it comes to python, but usually crocodile and alligator are pretty easy to spot as well, even when the bag is very expensive. The Neil Barrett Embossed Croc Tote had me going for a minute, though.

When I scrolled past this bag, I didn’t think for a second that it might not be real croc. When I read the description and price, I was surprised – the finish has just the right amount of gloss and variation, and the simple structure usually indicates that a designer would like to draw attention to the material used. The clean, somewhat anonymous lines are perfect for showing off one of the finest materials in the world, and this tote does a fine job of convincing you that’s exactly what you’re looking at. It’d be hard to find something that looks more expensive for the price. Buy through SSENSE for $1,325.

Outside the bounds of the most forward-thinking sectors in menswear, printed and patterned men’s bags, besides plaid, have long been basically nonexistent. Florals and leopard print are a tough enough sell in shirts, let alone in a bag that a dude might be expected to carry every day. Menswear is expanding rapidly, though, especially when it comes to western men’s ideas of what they can wear or carry to still feel “masculine.” That means that even the most mainstream designers have given men a lot more interesting things to play with over the past few seasons, which includes a lot of print bags for spring.

Below, we’ve assembled a small selection of our current favorites from some of the globe’s best accessory brands. Ladies, feel free to snap these up for yourselves.

We’re rarely jealous of the boys, but we get a little bit miffed every season when they get to see their upcoming collections before we do. New York Fashion Week (let alone Paris) isn’t for nearly another month, but last week, Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall 2014 graced the runway in Paris. It did so, naturally, with some very interesting bags, and we have some gorgeous shots of the new collection straight from Louis Vuitton.

These bags are in keeping with Vuitton’s strategy of moving away from its iconic logo and into more traditionally luxurious territory. Not only is there one exceptionally gorgeous crocodile Keepall (expect to see lots of exotics from Vuitton going forward), but the canvas bags get a new, subtle makeover with the introduction of Damier Cobalt, a navy-and-black take on Vuitton’s iconic check. In another fit of innovation, the first run of Damier Cobalt can be purchased now through Louis Vuitton’s website. Check out all the images of the sophisticated, luxurious collection below.

The men’s versions of Fashion Week never get nearly as much attention as the women’s do, but there are still exciting details to find within the menswear collections, even if bags are your main concern. After yesterday’s Fendi Men’s Fall 2014 show, several images of a very particular bag popped up: the Fendi Men’s Peekaboo, this one (captured by Tamu McPherson of All The Pretty Birds on Instagram) with the ever-popular monster facade that’s gained Fendi so much accessories traction in the past six months.

That the Peekaboo has had a resurgence at all is surprising; its debut wasn’t all that long ago, and it lived a perfectly normal life cycle as a popular bag, with its visibility tapering off as Fendi introduced the Chameleon and Silvana bags. It was reintroduced without much fanfare last season after never totally being retired, and now the bag, along with the 2Jours, is Fendi’s marquee handbag shape. It lends itself particularly well to the irreverent structural shenanigans that Fendi has been up to with its Bag Bugs, and this new men’s version is big enough to allow for easier viewing of a smiling mouth (a zipper picket lined in bright red, natch), which is more easily obscured by the front flap in the the women’s version.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a picture from Fendi of Delfina Delettrez carrying the women’s version:

Delfina Delettrez Fendi Men's Peekaboo Bag

There’s no word on price for the men’s, which will debut in Fall 2014, but we’ll keep you posted.

I know that it might seem like it’s a bit early in the year to talk about boats and sailing and beaches and the appropriate bags to carry during those activities, but it’s, like, really super cold where I am right now, and I’d appreciate it if you guys would just indulge me for a moment. I need it. I also need a Black Point Mercantile Signal Tote.

These totes, made of coated canvas and intended to mimic the bold, primary-color look of nautical signal flags, are handmade in America, and they have to be some of the most perfectly preppy beach bags I’ve ever laid eyes upon. They fit the theme without being too precious because of their distressed detailing, which mimics the effect of salt water on actual nautical flags. The bags, complete with leather handles, will run you $276 apiece via East Dane.


Black Point Mercantile Uniform Signal Flag
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Uniform Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile X-Ray Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile X-Ray Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile Delta Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Delta Signal Tote

Black Point Mercantile Papa Signal Tote
$276 via East Dane

Black Point Mercantile Papa Signal Tote

“Borrowing from the boys” is an idea referenced often in fashion magazines and blogs, and usually it boils down to buying some sort of fancy, feminized version of a menswear look – a women’s tuxedo, a pair of loafers or brogues, a bag inspired by a traditional briefcase. Because bags don’t have to fit your body or feet, though, borrowing from the boys can be a bit more literal; just go on over to the men’s department and pick up whatever you like. The bags might be a little oversized if you’re very petite, but if you like a roomy bag, they’re great. In fact, for Fall 2013, the Valentino Men’s Bags are particularly great. (more…)

“Are we ready for a Celine-inspired exotic men’s bag?” Is a question I never thought I’d find myself turning over in my head, but here we are. It’s Monday morning and that’s what’s on my mind. The En Noir Snakeskin Travel Bag owes a debt of design gratitude to any number of popular women’s bags; there are details here from the Celine Luggage Tote, the 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli and Celine’s new Knot Tote, but I’m not sure they add up to much of anything.

What we have here could perhaps best be described as a Frankenbag. It’s full of ideas that are good on their own, but when all arranged together, they start to feel a little disjointed and overwhelming. Particularly in men’s accessories, that’s not a desirable outcome; male consumers generally err on the side of either stark modernism or all-out heritage styling, and this bag represents neither of those options.

Most problematic is the top flap, which feels like a very women’s-bag detail in this context. It’s also not properly scaled for the handles it partially covers, which makes it feel tacked on. If the flap was removed, this bag would likely fare far better. Celine already figured that it – the brand styled its Knot Totes with the cumbersome top flap hidden for Spring 2014.

Buy through Barneys for $4,825.

Before I start, I should mention that MCM has a particular knack for convincing me to like things I normally hate. For instance, logo bags – I haven’t bought a logo bag since I was in college and have no plans to do so now, but MCM’s logo pieces have such unpretentious swagger to them that I’d totally go down that road for one of them. MCM also made me lust for a backpack long before the trend took off, for reasons I still can’t entirely explain. It looks like the brand’s powers of persuasion have hit a wall with the MCM Waist Bag.

Isn’t it funny how many euphemisms fashion brands will come up with for “fanny pack?” In women’s fashion, the go-to term is “belt bag,” and apparently, for the dudes, “waist bag” is the term of discretion. We all know what it is we’re looking at here, though, and this bag isn’t styled to be anything more ambitious than what it is: a fanny pack. The shape and details are as much of a literal 80s throwback as you’ll ever find – if you showed me a photo of my dad wearing this bag around his midsection while trotting a four-year-old me through Disney World, I wouldn’t question it for a second.

There’s a certain type of charm in that kind of fearless embrace of something so often reviled, and that charm will surely be enough to sell a couple of these bags to the irony-lovers of the world. Beyond that, though, I can imagine many average dudes ponying up several hundred bucks for this throwback. If you’re part of that rather slim crowd, pick one up for $425 via Bloomingdale’s.

When I look at a bag I’ve never seen before for the first time, the first thing I always try to imagine is where I’d take it. Accessories both need and provide context in various ways, and a strong sense of how a bag fits into the aesthetic world is one of the surest ways to start evaluating how well-designed it is. When it comes to the Jack Spade Desert Suede Duffel Bag, I know exactly where this bag is headed.

Don’t let the name fool you; although the color may be sufficiently sandy, this bag’s destiny is actually to some kind of leafy destination upstate, perhaps for a weekend of apple-picking and cider-sipping and all those fall things that are really, genuinely lovely despite also being tired cliches. This bag will hold all the warm flannel shirts and cozy socks you need, and at a far more attainable price than the last suede manbag we looked at. Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $550.

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