March 4, 2012

Style Feature: The Messenger Bag

When I lived in Miami, I didn't have a very high opinion of bags for men. I kept everything I would need throughout the day in my car and didn't really see any reason for carrying a bag.

After moving to NYC and ditching the car, I began to understand the importance that a messenger bag can have. When I leave my apartment in the morning, I need to anticipate everything I will need during the day and plan accordingly because many times going back home is simply not an option.

While for many people backpacks may be a logical option, no matter how nice they may be, I simply don't find them stylish. There is just nothing grown-up or professional about them. That being said, not all bags are created equal. You don't need to stick to the ubiquitous nylon messenger bag as the only backpack alternative.

In this post I will feature three different messenger bags that break out of the utilitarian mold and show that a messenger bag can be appropriate for nearly any occasion.

1. Casual Canvas

This my go-to everyday bag. The durable leather bottom and flap and sturdy canvas body means that this bag can take a beating and still look good.

Extra Tip : When you need extra room, look for a bag that is more square than rectangular. The added depth will give you some extra space without making it look like you are carrying a duffel bag.

Extra Tip II : Treat the leather on your bag like you would your shoes. Condition and waterproof on a regular basis to increase the life and wearability.

Bag by Dolce & Gabbana; Coat by AllSaints Spitalfields; Denim by William Rast;
Shirt by J Crew; Sneakers by Paul Smith Jeans; Socks by Corgi; Scarf by Psycho Bunny;
Gloves by The Men's Store at Bloomingdales; Sunglasses by Alexander McQueen

2. Business Ready

This bag is a bit more appropriate for the office. All leather with a nylon strap and a more traditional appearance, it can take you through all kinds of events without being out of place. It is also big enough to hold my laptop, which is perfect for meetings on the go.

Extra Tip : If you are buying a bag for a specific purpose (to hold a laptop, padfolio, gym clothes, etc) bring the item or a close approximation with you to make sure it will suit your needs or check the return policy just in case.

Bag and shoes by Kenneth Cole New York; Jacket by Lanvin;
Shirt by BOSS Black; Trousers by Edun; Tie by Robert Godley;
Tie bar by Link Up; Pocket Square by Psycho Bunny

3. Day to Evening

This bag is the most recent addition to my closet and I love it for two main reasons. First it has tons of pockets and despite appearing slim, has a deceptive amount of storage space. Second, it has both handles and a shoulder strap, which gives me the option to carry it however is most convenient.

The supple lambskin, briefcase-inspired design, and pinpoint perforation pattern gives this bag a bit of a refined edge making it equally appropriate for business or casual. The storage capacity combined with the polished versatility makes this my default for nearly any fashion-related business that I do.

Bag by Marc by Marc Jacobs; Cardigan by John Varvatos Star USA;
Shirt by Charles Tyrwhitt; Denim by Juicy Couture; Shoes by AllSaints Spitalfields;
Tie by Band of Outsiders; Tie bar by Link Up; Sunglasses by Bulgari

While there are certainly other options out there for non-nylon messenger bags, I strongly recommend going with a well-made leather. It will last an incredibly long time, if properly cared for, and the character that it acquires over time as it breaks in will make it a staple in your wardrobe for years to come.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

1 comment:

  1. I think you are correct about the backpack; there's very little one can do to look like anything but a student when wearing one. That being said, I love seeing a man with a messenger bag. I feel like it looks like they're prepared for anything the day might throw at them. My hubby never had one until I bought him one, and now he won't go anywhere without it.