The Man Bag

I always correct someone when they say, “I like your man bag.”

Quickly, and without apprehension I say, “It is not a man bag, it is a messenger bag.”

Needless to say, it is technically a bag – not a purse or pocketbook.

The man bag as it has begun to be known, is the ultimate men’s accessory – and if you think you are not man enough to carry one around, guess again.

Think about it if you will, as a gym bag that you carry around with you everywhere.

As someone who was born into the backpack journalist generation, my work requires me to carry my office around with me. This would be incredibly difficult without my handy dandy man bag.

Not to mention, they are stylish as hell.

The best part, designers are beginning to incorporate the man bag into their arsenal of accessories for men – realizing that the man bag has become an essential wardrobe piece to the stylish man.

And as pop culture continues to flourish, and more shows, movies and music is being produced by, for and about the stylish male – more fashion forward men are coming to the forefront.

Furthermore, just like the word stylish doesn’t have to be synonymous with gay, neither does the man bag.

How did the man bag evolve?

Here’s my theory. I think they have been around since togas – but I won’t take you that far back.

Instead, I will start with the book bag. Men have always had some form of a man bag.

In grade school, middle school and in some cases, high school boys were militant about their respective book bags. It had to be blue, it had to be big and it had to have a superhero on it – preferably Wolverine.

And if it didn’t, we were not happy campers.

In high school when some of us would carry our girlfriend’s books, that extra space in our book bags helped free up our hands for groping.

Then in college, the book bag made its final appearance.

After college, it was no longer called the book bag because if seen wearing one, textbooks would probably not be in the bag.

What happened next?

The transition into a professional lifestyle – the suitcase.

Ever elusive – the suitcase is a great accessory for the man on the go, but it is not as versatile as the messenger or man bag if you will.

The suitcase almost sounds like a welcome alternative, but then what happens on the weekends, or casual Fridays?

Here comes the man bag to the rescue.

Aside from it being a versatile accessory, the man bag, if worn correctly can add masculinity and sensitivity to an outfit. They can be worn on dates, interviews and nights out on the town.

Perhaps the most convenient thing about shopping for man bags is that they can generally be picked up anywhere.

Because designers recognize the trend, they had incorporated man bags into their store and boutique inventory – this makes getting one the easiest.

Right now, my favorite man bag is the all-black Ben Sherman Wet-Look Messenger. It’s black, sleek and fashionable. Because black is such a versatile color, the bag can be dressed up, or dressed down.

Other great places to look for messengers are: Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom’s.

Almost every label seems to have jumped on the man bag bandwagon. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Air Jordan Messenger. Just like the iconic sneaker, the bag is made for optimal endurance and style.

Too many different people have decided that the man bag is a necessary fashion piece for any guy’s wardrobe. That means that there are different kinds of man bags for everyone.

And hey, if it’s good enough for Indiana Jones – it is good enough for me.

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About James R. Sanders James knew that he was going to be involved in media somehow when he realized that the only person that had something worth saying was him. He's not egotistical though, his work regularly appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer, OrigiVation Magazine, Black Star News,, Wow Magazine, and the Huffington Post.

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