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The Man Bag Syndrome

By Nagashree

Handbags, a few years ago, were seen as a female-only accessory, but now the scenario has completely changed. Today, men are choosing to carry around a “man bag” and it should come as no surprise that bags are big news in men’s wear.

Just when you think you’ve nailed the look for a complete masculine ensemble, something comes along and spoils the whole look that could have been your bet for the trendy and suave look. You have got your fit right, curated the perfect clothing repertoire, and have slipped into your designer foot candies, but hold on; are you missing out on something by carrying a drab and boring bag? It is essential to have the right bag depending on both your lifestyle and personal style. Not only do bags prevent your pockets from becoming lumpy and keep your daily essentials in check, they can also form a pivotal feature of your profile, which is something your female counterparts have known for years.For some men, no matter what they do, or how good they dress, the bag game always seems to let them down. Let’s face it, choosing the right bag can often be confounding and intimidating. There is a plethora of choices to choose from that come in myriad colours, materials and sizes. Owing to their mobile nature, bags like shoes are subject to more wear and tear than the average piece of clothing, so investment in quality and durability should be at the forefront of your mind when selecting the perfect style. With so many aspects to consider, it can be tough to know where to start or where to finish. Also, the choice of a perfect bag can depend on style, practicality, functionality and masculinity. “I select bags that look cool and are quite fashion-forward and also that can hold the stuff. I carry around on a daily basis, such as books, notepads and stationery”, says Amith Dwarka, a Bangalore-based content developer.

A Bag’s World:

The Sleek Briefcase
The revamped, refurbished briefcase has arrived and is here to stay. It’s still traditionally a business bag, but the modern workplace has changed a great deal and contemporary briefcase styles reflect this change and have been designed with the tech-savvy gent in mind, featuring robust but lightweight structures and padded compartments to store laptops, tablets and multiple smartphones.
“It is sleeker, slimmer and less boxy, which makes it ideal for the modern gentleman. It’s got class, style and sophistication all at the same time. If you get hold of a quality one, you’ll make some amazing first impressions in your board meetings” says Mark Thomas, founder of The Bag Collection. Briefcases are most suitable for work and you can match them with your belt or shoes. The sleek lines of a briefcase not only give it a tailored look and a sharp finishing touch, but this practical design ensures you can take your essential tools of the trade anywhere so you never cross a deadline.


Fuss-free Sling Bags
Hands free, minimal fuss and incredibly capable of holding a fair amount of stuff, the messenger bag or the sling bag is the ideal choice for a sartorial student or for a casual day-hopper. If in doubt, this should really be your go-to item. It’s the default option because of its practical value and its value of retaining an element of style. These bags have become a big part of urban fashion. The men’s messenger bag has a laidback style to go with a classic, casual flair, while the leather messenger tote renders uptown sophistication.

The Ever Useful Holdall Bags
Holdall bags have become an essential item for a lot of men with their lives increasingly gaining pace. Usually rectangular or barrel-shaped, the holdall is also ideal for trips to the gym, with enough room to hold your sporting attire and equipment. “One of the disadvantages in most holdall bags (some come with shoulder straps) is that they can’t be carried over the shoulder. It can definitely cause inconvenience” explains Mark Thomas.Many business and pleasure trips require you to travel for short periods with minimal luggage; this bag comes in handy then. The design for these bags was inspired by the duffel bag believe it or not. Now thanks to a largely leather exterior and more refined appearance it took on more of a classic look than a practical one.

Totes with a Contemporary Twist
A tote is this generation’s take on the classic briefcase. This is for the nouveau gentleman. A great city or beach bag, totes are a relatively recent import from women’s wear, with designers bringing a masculine flavour to the style. It closely resembles an artisan’s bag with the maximum in casual business attire. “It is exceptionally easy to carry with the same practical load-shifting potential as a backpack, the tote benefits from its open top design, enabling the wearer to quickly add or remove items while on the go”, Mark says. It has a pretty basic design with soft leather exterior giving it that classic look. It employs the use of long handles giving it an edge of contemporary coolness. This kind of a man’s bag will add a touch of casual masculinity to any casual work wear.


Practical Backpacks
Backpacks, which were previously considered a functional item well out of range of the fashion radar are now firmly rooted on the men’s wear map and have set a high style bar. Synonymous with practical load bearing, the backpack’s reinvention is a boon. It certainly adds a new dimension to an everyday design, which is ideal for the more casual dresser.Despite the fact that men’s wear design has often been governed by functionality, men are becoming more experimental and innovative than ever with their style, and there are a lot designs coming up with contemporary takes on traditional designs to suit a more cultivated audience.



So whether you’re a briefcase, tote or backpack man, there’s never been a better time to invest in a bag to suit your needs, remember that great bags aren’t just for girls.

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