Sunday, 23 January 2011

Life Without My Man Bag? The Horror, the horror!

'A good size man bag can provide simple solutions to a stressful life'.

I’d quite like a nanny like Mary Poppins.  But then, who wouldn't. There must be children up and down the land- oppressed by the tyrannical techniques of Jo Frost- that long for spontaneity and a spoonful of sugar, rather than a structured routine and the naughty step.  Even as a twenty-something male, I’d rather like to go on days out that consist of escaping into chalk pavement-drawings and having mid-air tea parties. But, the thing I admire most about Mary Poppins: she knows the value of a good bag.

Walking into the Regent Hostel in Montmartre, I felt suddenly akin to Charles Marlow, as I believed I was entering ‘one of the dark places of the earth’.  Had I been hammered- like most of the other guests- I may not have noticed the garish purple walls, the stale stench of Vodka, or the suspect stains on the carpets; I may also have seen the whole ordeal as an adventure, and- like a Texan named Paul whom I met- seen it all as the inspiration for a song. But I didn’t. However, though I may have been kept up all night by a snoring roommate, preoccupations about bed bugs, and desperately trying to plan a strategy to wash in the morning, while avoiding the human detritus that littered the bathroom, I was not worried about remembering my possessions, as they were all tucked away in my bag.

I've been a MBA (Man Bag Advocate) for a number of years, vehemently defending the use of a bag to fashion philistines who argue that it is totally unnecessary, as we have pockets. But, as we live in an age when we must don skinny fit jeans, possess wallets bulging with store cards, and only leave the house when carrying - at the very least- a smart phone, a bag is an absolute necessity.  What’s more, a good size man bag can provide simple solutions to a stressful life. After a nasty fight with the ex, you rustle around and pull out a Marlboro Light; if you have to endure a tedious lecture on Diderot, you reach in and find a copy of Vogue; and if you’ve been kept up by nightmares about bed bugs, you take out your Touche Éclat.  After one particular night of debauchery- involving pensioners from Boston (don’t ask) and copious amounts of wine- I even awoke to find a carton of McDonald’s chips in my bag. 
All of the above reasons, of course, ignore the glaringly obvious- and most important- point: a well chosen man bag compliments your outfit and makes you appear even more chic. No longer should men- confined by the shackles of their masculinity- feel obliged to carry only hideous carbon-coloured Laptop Bags with oversized zips (you know the kind I’m talking about) so as to appear serious and not at all effeminate. The Simple Leather Robbie G bag by Marc Jacobs ($478.00) provides a stylish alternative to the traditional laptop bag, and the exterior straps ensure your possessions are secure. For the more modest budget-like my own- try the Black Leather Shopper Bag from River Island (£79.99). If like me, you are a fan of the tote, check out the Polo Jeans Tote bag by Ralph Lauren (£99.00) and- my personal favourite- The Retro Shopper ‘Melino’ by Hugo Boss (£459.00).

But whichever bag you choose, ensure that it fits your lifestyle. Ask yourself whether you need your bag to carry your iPad and paperwork, or whether- like me- you use it to hold your copy of GQ, and to hide a few cheeky fags.

I may never have a nanny like Mary Poppins, but I’ll follow her example and always carry a practical bag. That way, whatever life throws at me, I’ll be prepared.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post! I think a man bag is essential. Men can no longer fit everything they need into their pockets/wallets...especially with all the new technology and needing to bring laptops into work! (including all your paper work).
    As long as a man bag is teamed with a smart suit it will look great. Briefcases have always been classics, however the satchel is becoming more and more popular amongst men and I think it works! Ciao.