The man bag

If you think bags are just for women, we have news for you. They are now dominating the men’s world, one bag at a time. Deviana Gupta and Sumalini Khullar offer a low-down on what’s in store for the modern man.

When you leave the house, you don’t leave alone - what you carry is an extension of your home, with all the necessities you may require throughout the day. This little portable home we all carry around with us is our bag. The contents of this bag will never cease to shock one - electronic gadgets, glasses, pens, newspaper, a toothbrush, a packet of peanuts, a spoon or even an extra pair of clothes. 

Handbags, as a matter of tradition and convention, were an accessory exclusive to women. Today,  however, the bag industry is catering to all the men, who were averse to carrying a bag earlier. Each bag has its own purpose. While travelling, men prefer to economise on space and also look savvy. 

Since there is no suitable alternative to the practical benefits of carrying everything in one place, man bags are here to stay. They have evolved from the plain backpacks and briefcases to the stylish and refined options today. But choosing the right bag to meet your lifestyle and personal style is the key. A man bag should be practical, functional and of course, stylish. Conventional bags are now making their way for better options. Here are some of our favourite types of bags for men:

n The briefcase: Work requires you to look sharp and be on the go. Carry your laptop, documents and office essentials in one compact bag that oozes style. While the material could be leather, canvas or felt, functionality is key. Briefcases are a genera in themselves and options are available in folio styles as well as attaché case (hard case). 

n The messenger bag: Currently, the mailman bag is the most convenient utility bag for the laidback young professional or a student on the move. It’s for the urban hipster who enjoys a casual style. 

Messenger bags are soft, and come with many compartments and a sling strap. Swing it around the shoulder for a relaxed style statement.

n The portfolio: When the world replaced paper with electronic gadgets, business meetings and sales pitches became a whole lot easier. Today, all you need is an iPad and a notebook to get your work done. The portfolio is a compact folder, more like an organiser with compartments to fit in your tablet, phone, cards, notepads and the like. The classic portfolio comes in leather in a zipper pouch or a flap.

n The workstation: There couldn’t be more functionality to style. Go to a table and set up an office in an instant. The workstation is one compact bag that opens up and spreads apart from all sides – with compartments on every side, providing you a well-organised office desk in seconds. When you are done, wrap it back to its original bag form.

n The duffel: Weekend getaway? Daily trip to the gym? Throw in a couple of clothes and other essentials and you are good to go. Duffel bags are offered in a variety of styles with wheels, sling straps, bowling bag styles, with expandable compartments for shoes, ties in materials varying from leather, felt, canvas to light weight fabrics. Choose as you see fit.

n The garment bag: Short on time? Off to a business meeting straight from the airport? Need to pack in a suit conveniently? The garment bag helps you keep all your clothes on a hanger avoiding creases and wrinkles. You can pack two suits, two shirts, shoes, ties and pocket squares in specific compartments, all rolled up into one convenient bag. It’s the perfect replacement for a bulky suitcase.

n The backpack: Hands-free and minimally fussy, a backpack keeps it simple and practical. With a whole lot of dumping space, backpacks are perfect for daily use and for short travels. They are available in a range of canvas and leather. So, if you are exploring the outdoors or riding a bike, this is the bag for you.

In a dynamic world, new perks call for new bags. We see men embracing this change, one fashion-forward step at a time. Utility comes with a whole lot of accessories today. Here’s looking at some accessories that allow you to organise a bag within the bag:

n Tie cases: Stacking up ties in the middle of your suitcase and throwing stuff on top is not chic. A tie case is like a pouch with a zipper and allows you to hold four to six  ties neatly folded up, while some cases have a compartment for cufflinks, too. 

n Travel kits: Toiletries need their own space. Travel kits are usually available in waterproof lining with storage spaces for a variety of grooming products for the modern man.

n Travel organiser: Boarding pass, passport, tickets, currency - organise it all in one compact case, a travel organiser. Just the path from your car to the flight seat requires a whole lot of documents, so why not make that a fashion statement. 
(The authors are founders of the Baroque Design House)

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