The men’s handbag has always been considered a joke. In Season 9, Episode 12 of SeinfeldJerry briefly sports a “European tote,” a small black leather satchel with silver hardware. He carries the bag as a more efficient way to store his girlfriend’s belongings, which she often pledges on him, but he soon learns to appreciate its usefulness in his daily life. Eventually the bag is stolen from him, and in order to get the attention of a nearby policeman, he is forced to shout that someone has stolen his stock Exchange. There you go, the absurdity joke of a man wearing a “woman’s” accessory. How funny.
Yet men have and continue to carry bags, but they are usually of a particular type or style, such as a sturdy backpack or a fancy leather briefcase, and manifest their masculinity lest they are not mistaken for something that a woman could potentially possess. Even the language surrounding the men’s accessory has been deliberate and careful; “Handbag” has been ridiculed as being too feminine, so in an effort to further delineate the masculine version from that of women, “man” is often affixed before the bag.
But some 22 years after the Seinfeld episode aired, it looks like the tides are finally turning, with the men’s purse (or just bag, if you prefer) on the way to becoming a serious and even necessary addition to her wardrobe. Or that’s what the creators of the fall 2021 men’s clothing collections are hoping for, anyway, as many not just the usual accessory powerhouses like Dior and Herms have presented their own version of the accessory.
But the evolution of the men’s bag from something mocking to something sought after has been going on for some time, starting with the hypebeast. A few years ago, every streetwear enthusiast apparently had a compact, utility shoulder bag or chest belt, taking inspiration from A $ AP Rocky and Travis Scott, who wore theirs shamelessly. Designers were quick to capitalize on the trend, including Virgil Abloh and his collaboration with Supreme as Creative Director of Louis Vuitton. The collection created a frenzy, with the And Danube PM, a small shoulder strap, becoming one of the most sought after pieces.
More recently, in October of last year, Harry Styles was pictured carry Gucci’s 1961 Jackie bag in black, then a few days later the same bag in turquoise. The style was re-released for Fall and Winter 2020, debuting at the F / W 2020 men’s show on a handful of male models, who wore it on their hands or over their shoulders like Styles. In the accompanying campaign, the bag was photographed on male and female models, boldly presented as a neutral accessory.
The difference in silhouette between the hypebeasts favorite crossbodys and Gucci’s 1961 Jackie is obvious, the latter being a handbag in a more traditional sense. While a fanny pack can be worn under the guise of sheer functionality, a style like Gucci’s communicates more and is therefore likely to be worn for the status and statement it conveys, rather than for its capabilities in as a functional accessory.
Peter Haury, buyer of men’s accessories and shoes at East Dane, notes a shift from streetwear styles to silhouettes that provide that extra touch. “While the streetwear community has garnered significant interest in menswear in 2018 and 2019, I think these trends have opened the minds of customers to a variety of silhouettes that could meet their needs in different ways. We’ve seen the streetwear customer start to turn to smaller, item-specific clothing (neck pouches and phone-sized shoulder strap shapes) as well as larger handbag silhouettes from our own. designer level, ”Haury explains to InsideHook.
While there is still a demand for bags of the waist / belt bag variety, Haury has noticed a ‘cooling’ of the trend but increased interest in the more traditional handbag shapes offered by top designers. range of the site, which include Marni, JW Anderson and Lemaire, among others. “Over the past few seasons, we have seen more and more brands offering structured handbags, hobo shapes and a variety of small shoulder strap styles, all of which have found traction with our customers,” Haury says, with clients finding themselves more comfortable with these traditional silhouettes, which Haury expects will increase as the barriers between male and female continue to loosen. Ultimately, as with so many other things, the fate of the men’s handbag as a fleeting trend or enduring staple of the wardrobe will depend on how comfortable men are with their masculinity.
Dunhill Black Lock Bag
If you’re still not sure what the crossbody bag looks like, try something like Dunhill’s Black Lock Crossbody Bag. Structured leather and thick gold hardware provide a more masculine feel while still allowing you to store your essentials.
Tote bag Marni Tribeca
Forgo the leather briefcase and opt for the Tribeca Tote by Marni as a new work bag. Crafted from coated canvas, the bag is durable enough that you don’t have to be too precious with it, and it will provide a much-needed dose of fun to your outfit thanks to the double-sided design, which features a white broken on one side and kelly green on the other.
Bottega Veneta Grand Arco
For those who are ready to embrace the men’s handbag, there is no better place to start than Bottega Veneta. The brand is experiencing a renaissance under the new creative direction of Daniel Lee and their handbags have quickly become among the most sought after. The Arco bag is made from the brand’s famous Intrecciato Hydrology leather and features an oversized weave pattern. You will definitely be hard-pressed to miss carrying this bag, but that’s quite the point.
If your style is a bit more Western / American then the RRL Hand-Tooled Leather Tote by Ralph Lauren should appeal to your sensibility. Handcrafted by artisans in Mexico and individually handcrafted, this is the kind of bag you will carry and cherish for years to come.
Small Acne Studios Leather Messenger Bag
On days when you only need to carry the essentials, the small leather messenger bag from Acne Studios allows you to carry them easily and use hands-free. Small in size and minimalist in design, it’s the perfect bag to grab as you walk out the door, capable of working with a multitude of outfits and so small you’ll forget it’s even there.
Note: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.
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