Long gone are the days where the term 'man bag' essentially meant offering a shoulder for your girlfriend's Louis whilst she shopped around for the next season's it bags. These days fashion favours design for both the genders and specifically designed bags with men in mind.
Whilst the major labels may have started the man bag crusade back in the early nineties, it wasn't until recent years that the male inspired accessories really took off. From the backpack to the tote, the man bag industry caters to not only the practicality needs of the modern man but also to the fashion forward thinking types.
The carry about accessories isn’t just reserved for the fashion brave either, with recent research arguing 50% of men own a man bag, the craze of the handbag pour homme is fighting for the place of staple in every man's wardrobe.
Yet, when you've been accustomed to stuffing the day's necessities in your back pockets, the world of male accessories can seem like a very scary place. There's most definitely a spectrum of metro sexuality to the man bag industry and finding a bag that fits your personal preference and style needn't be as hard as it may look. For those with a vague interest in fashion, discovering man bags is the next logical step, but for those struggling to distinguish the difference between a 'light blue and slightly darker blue t-shirt', you may need a little more guidance in the many varieties of the man bags out there...
- Messenger Bags. - The messenger bag is a relatively large style with a shoulder strap that crosses over the body. Commonly seen as the casual work bag in leather and an urban fashion accessory in canvas, this is a staple style that most men can easily incorporate into their looks. From subtle leathers to slogan prints, you can be an 'out there' as you like, with the messenger bag's endless designs.
- Backpack. - The most practical of the bags, offering plenty of room and secure compartments all whilst keeping your hands free. It's a subtle nod to the man bag trend, and if you're feeling nostalgic towards your old school backpack days, you'll find plenty of canvas casuals from the big names and on the high street. If you're looking for something a little different though, why not check out backpacks in a soft leather?
- Holdall. - Doing 'what it says on the tin' the holdall was inspired by the classic Duffel bag and was designed to carry everything you might ever need. Perfect for weekends away, business trips, and 'I'm only taking cabin luggage', the holdall is the alternative to bulky luggage of adventures gone by. Once again, this style is usually found in soft leathers and canvas.
- Briefcase. - Dating back way before the nineties and the fashion house push for male accessories, the briefcase is perhaps the oldest of the man bags. Designed with the professional in mind, this is arguably the smartest of accessories offering storage and style from the boardroom to the bar. Unlike the sharp box like designs of times gone by, the modern-day briefcase has much softer edges, but the smart leather look, polished buckles, practical pockets remain.
- Tote Bags. - Arguably the most daring of the man bag designs, the tote was created for the man comfortable with the notion of the handbag. Essentially a large over the shoulder bag style with short handles and usually a detachable shoulder strap, this is perhaps the style that will hold the closest resemblance to the lady in your life's collection. Found in a range of fabrics, prints, and colours, this style has proven popular in Japan, and can be a great work wear alternative.
By Stephanie Jade Sleaford