I love having visitors from home come see me in New York City because it gives me an opportunity to try new things and go new places while playing tour guide. This past weekend my friend David came to town, and after seeing a particularly splendid grosgrain-trimmed blazer at Bergdorf Goodman, he requested we make a trip to the Thom Browne boutique in Tribeca. We did, of course, because there’s nothing I love to do more than gawk at things that cost more than my rent, and I couldn’t have been more charmed by what we found. Not only is the boutique itself incredibly nondescript (it has no exterior signage, save for a small, seemingly hand-typed note on the door indicating the store’s contents) and almost temporary-feeling, like they could pack it all up and leave on a whim if the Browne decided he was sick of selling clothes to the people of New York, but the small selection of goods contained therein was uniformly perfect.
Naturally, my attentions went immediately to the bags, which Browne makes for both men an women in styles based on traditional men’s work bags from decades ago. When I saw the Thom Browne Mr. Thom Doctors Bag, I knew it had to be the subject of our weekly Man Bag Monday. Not only this bag pristine in both design and execution, but it’s a perfect example of why shopping small, independent designers can be so rewarding.
We write mostly about huge-name designers around here, not only because it’s what you guys want to read about (the numbers don’t lie, and we pay careful attention to them!), but because it generally takes a large brand with significant investors to make luxury handbag production and distribution possible. When we have the opportunity, though, it’s always interesting to look closely at the accessories produced by smaller, more directional lines like Browne’s; sometimes what you find is an extraordinary piece, produced in small quantities and with the attention to detail that some of the traditional powerhouses simply lack in this age of mechanized manufacturing.
From the signature grosgrain pull hidden under the closure to the heavy, stark brass hardware to the wonderfully smooth black leather, there’s nothing about this bag that hasn’t been carefully considered and edited. Holding it in my hands, it seemed like the very definition of what a doctor bag should be, almost as if it were the prototype on which all other doctor bags had been made. Buying form smaller brands can mean paying elevated prices, but Thom Browne is one of those designers where the premium is well worth it. Buy through Thom Browne for $2950.