The Bag, Man*

*Not to be confused with the man bag.

Illustration: Jameson Simpson

What kind of bag does a man need? The answer is not a “man bag.” I mean, anything that must be prefaced by the word man can only be emasculating. So no, a man bag is not essential; but a bag is. It’s one of the pillars of human society: Hunting, gathering, even agriculture would have been impractical without a nice practical satchel. Bags perform a basic service to men and women alike: They allow us to carry stuff. And carry it you should. The bag should have handles that are sturdy and could be slung over your shoulder, but not across your back. We’re not talking about messenger bags here.

If utility defines its design, your bag will be inherently masculine. That’s not to say you have to shy away from luxurious details (far be it from us to suggest that). But your bag should be made of a sturdy material—canvas and leather come to mind, or anything rubberized. It should look better after it’s been beaten up a bit. It should be big enough to carry everything you need for a day, possibly even overnight. But the bag must be manageable. It must not get in yours or other people’s way.

I have a bag, man. It’s canvas, its bottom is re-enforced, and it’s blue. It’s a tote bag, and the handles go over my shoulder nicely. It’s from Woolrich Woolen Mills and I use it for everything, have been for a few years now. It’s big—I can get a week’s worth of groceries in there on top of my gym clothes—but not bulky. I can maneuver between fellow straphangers with ease. It doesn’t zip at the top, but that hasn’t stopped me from using it as an overnight bag on many occasions. It’s useful, it’s minimal, it’s classic, I can put it on any floor and throw it in any corner. It does everything a tool should do.

Shop bags & luggage on Gilt MAN now >

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • email
  1. Matthew says:

    Great addition to the list. I’ve been eyeing a couple Jack Spade bags for some time now and kept narrowly missing out on Gilt. Finally I saw it at the right time and sent my girlfriend straight to the site for my anniversary present. Its looks great, and is rugged as well. Don’t have to worry about it being tossed around under a plane. Looking into a getting a JS breif case as well. HIGHLY recommended bags from JS.

  2. Suahd+ says:

    I have several bags, each with a different function. Depending on what the day wholes for me it it may look more like a duffle or a briefcase. Great Post.

  3. Stephen says:

    Great post, I agree! I was Christmas shopping for an ex girlfriend at the Coach outlet when I stumbled upon a transatlantic duffel in tobacco brown leather in the clearance section. All of the discounts brought this $490 bag down to $160. I’ve used this bag for 3 years and it’s only getting better with age. I do agree with Matthew, I have a navy JS messenger bag that I carry my laptop in. It’s durable and classic. Thanks again for a post that I can relate to!

  4. Matthew says:

    Hey Pesko…it would be great if you (and Tyler) could maybe add on some of your top picks of each of the essentials, like Jack Spade bags for this one. (I also really want to know who makes the shoes in the pic on No. 41, brown suede dress shoes). Thanks guys! Keep up the great work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.