“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.
“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.
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.
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.
Most men, no matter their sexual orientation, personal style or level of comfort with their masculinity, don’t really want to look like they’re carrying a purse. Even if the bag is intended for women and the male owner is fine with that, dudes seem to gravitate more toward unisex shapes like totes and satchels in dark, neutral colors. Men’s accessories lines seem to understand that, which is perhaps why men’s hobo bags< are comparatively rare - they look more purse-y than most customers are comfortable with.
I hadn’t even considered the dearth of men’s hobos until I came across the Belstaff Tye Full-Grain Leather Tote Bag.
A lot of girls steal T-shirts from their boyfriends. I knew a few in college who stole hats, but that may have been unique to my location – southerners love a ball cap. I’ve known a girl to steal a pair of boxers here and there, but that’s sort of gross. Personally, I aspire to date the kind of guy from whom I could steal bags, and today, that aspiration applies specifically to the MCM Munich Lion Weekender Bag.
I’m always suspicious of anything that bills itself as “reversible,” especially when it comes to high-dollar bags. Most reversible items have one side that you and everyone else knows is the real side that you’re supposed to see, and then a lining that can be flipped out in a pinch, like if someone spills coffee on you. Normally, buying a reversible item, whether it’s a raincoat, T-shirt or bag, is something that sounds like a good idea at the time and then it’s a feature you promptly forget about.
The problem I’ve always had with Father’s Day gift-giving advice is that it’s so one-size-fits-all. It always seems to assume that all dads play golf, drink beer or Scotch and need tools to fix things around the house – my dad does none of those things, and never has, even though I totally think of him as an archetypical, all-American father.
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 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.