Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Is this a handbag? Harry poses a question

Of course it's a back pack. Or it could be called a day sack, or ruck sack, or a shoulder bag. Its near relatives might be called a messenger bag, a courier satchel, or laptop case. They are all bags for men.

I have occasionally referred to mine as a handbag, and have met with looks somewhat askance ( female) or mildly uneasy ( male). It would seem to be a bit of a gender tease .
But the truth of the matter is that I am not a messenger or a courier, and my bag rarely has a laptop in it. It might be retailed as a day sack, but I'm not actually going to call it that. It's a handbag in so much as it is where I carry my keys, diary, analgesics, notebook, umbrella, indigestion remedy, sunglasses, i-pod and Murakami novel. 
Stating the blindingly obvious: men do not have the same relationship with their bags that women do. But bags for men have been evolving and it is now possible to make more discriminating choices in this area. Without compromising one's masculinity. Well, the younger members of the species seem to be able to. But it remains a conundrum for the older male. Or perhaps it's off their radar.
Earlier this year I bought a lap top case by Mandarina Duck. I had coveted something from their range having seen the most stylish of briefcases in Venice a few years ago.The Mandarina  Duck case is immensely practical; it even has its own rain hood built in. But it is pleasingly designed, and manages  to avoid being one of those macho executive statements by brands such as Tumi that shops in departure lounges are so full of. And that makes a change.
Yesterday in  the quite modish Reiss menswear window display  I noticed two handbags. Of course they call them despatch bags. 


Linda Grant said...

he carries it over his shoulder, so it's a shoulder bag

greying pixie said...

Once again I find myself referring to Italian men to find an example of how to get it right. No desperate shy canvas or nylon excuses for them - just beautifully made, well designed, elegant, timeless leather handbags - with optional shoulder straps.

Toby Wollin said...

Or, for the guy who wants to go "Mel Gibson/Roadwarrior", this bag in recycled tire rubber and metal would probably be macho enough.

Anonymous said...

It's manbag darling.. or at worst a satchel.