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

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Men and their handbags


On the tube today, four suits got on and proceeded to hold a business meeting in the middle of the carriage. Two of the suits were in their 50s and the other two in their late 20s. I noticed that the older suits both carried briefcases while the younger suits both carried small back-packs over one shoulder. Like a shoulder bag.

Harry tells me that the back-pack is the new briefcase and hence the briefcase is the sign that you are out of the loop, style-wise. I never knew that.

Apparently during his career as a high-flying executive, he pretty much pioneered this look.

10 comments:

K.C. said...

I asked my bf who is in his 20's why he doesn't carry a briefcase and he said "so my hands aren't otherwise occupied". He prefers a sturdy leather messenger bag that can hold a laptop and all of his files to a briefcase. But he did say that later on in life he'll carry one if he has enough money to hire a chauffeur and spend 10k on a suit. Briefcases just aren't mobile enough I think. They came about in a time when we didn't have ipods, cell phones etc..

greying pixie said...

My father always used to say that the higher up and more important you were, the slimmer your briefcase. Due to this indoctrination from an early age I always thought it ludicrous when the Princess of Wales was seen carrying an enormous one. Don't tell me she brought her own sandwiches!

I see them very much as an outmoded form of carriage of documents (and sandwiches), impractical, unattractive and frankly bad for your posture and back. In these days of mobile phones, lunch on the go, headphones, i pods, etc., what use is a briefcase that takes up the use of at least one of your hands?

rb said...

I think here in SF messenger bags still rule, although a natural-color, soft sided and VERY beat up briefcase is always in style for the dudes.

phyllis said...

Oh yes Pixie - on the commuter rail I have often seen the Fashion Sherpa; A woman loaded down with a handbag, a briefcase and a totebag! My back hurts just to look at her.

Sad beyond words.

The hardcare cases use an LL Bean canvas tote which looks ridiculous anywhere unless its on the deck of a boat, on the beach or in the trunk of a car.

Mode Monitor said...

Backpacks should be worn by students and campers only. Period. They look ridiculous with a suit, especially if that suit is being worn by a woman! But, the hard Samsonite-type briefcase is too old and outmoded. So what's the solution? Either a hip briefcase from a label like Prada, a computer tote or a messenger bag - all in leather, as opposed to nylon, of course.

greying pixie said...

I agree that backpacks look odd, but these days I am resigned to one for health reasons as it is the only way to distribute the weight evenly and avoid back ache. So I've found a very nice smokey orange one, although my dream is to find an all over neon orange one with no black trimmings at all. Any ideas anyone?

Ms Baroque said...

Don't even get me started about backpacks on the underground - or in any overcrowded commuting scenario. People carrying them have no awareness that they stick out eight inches behind - I am SO TIRED of being hit in the face with them, if I'm lucky enough to have got a seat, or just being hit with them it I'm standing. Or, they stick out so far you can't get in to stand, you have to lean around them or stand further away from the pole or whatever. They're just awful and the people who carry them are being rude and childish. (Yes, childish. Part of being grown-up is awareness of your surroundings and sensitivity to how you impact on others.)

I normally have a handbag and a shoulder bag (for papers etc). If the train is crowded, I take the shoulder bag down and put it between my feet, so it won't be in people's way. And people tell me I should get a rucksack!

(I could do a similar rant on the people who go to Victoria station in the rush hour wheeling their little suitcases behind them. So dangerous it's scary. Once again: no awareness of others! Who do they think they are??)

Ms Baroque said...

Oh dear, I shut everybody up. And greying pixie, I didn't mean you! Unless you do that thing I said...

greying pixie said...

ms baroque - no I'm not guilty of that at all. Instead I do as you do and put it between my feet on the floor. And I agree with you regarding the small cases on wheels! Really dangerous!

TheSundayBest said...

At the very least no one used the term "man bag." Or maybe they did, and hopefully they were punched.