3 Do’s and Don’ts of Men’s Bags

Historically, men have been relegated to carrying their belongings in one of two places:

  1. In a briefcase, or
  2. On his person.

Carrying your keys, wallet, and phone in pants or jacket pockets can work, but might result in unsightly bulges. A briefcase is great for carrying all that and more, but it’s a little staid for a lot of men nowadays, particularly those who are high up in creative industries.

Thankfully, there are plenty of bag styles that just about any man can use that will fit his personality, work attire, and lifestyle. If you’re new to this trend and not sure how to approach the concept of carrying a bag, let Philadelphia’s custom suit experts at Henry A. Davidsen pass along a little bit of advice.

DO: Pay attention to materials.

When shopping for bags to suit your lifestyle, be mindful of where you’ll be carrying them and what they’re made of. If you work in, say, finance or law, a traditional leather briefcase is likely a great fit to carry around a laptop, documents, and whatever else you need. If you’re the Creative Director of a boutique design firm, however, a canvas messenger bag with leather trim might give you what you need storage-wise, all while looking better with the dark denim and funky button-downs you likely can wear to the office.

DON’T: Take a one-size-fits-all approach.

A bag should help complement your look, not distract from it.

It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of different bags for different purposes, either. When you’re out and about on the weekend, you can likely get away with a small over-the-shoulder bag (sometimes called a “newspaper bag”) to carry your keys, wallet, phone, and other day-to-day things. Your work bag is just too much for this application.

When you’re headed to the beach, a large canvas tote is great to hold towels, sunscreen, and whatever else you might need. This would look out of place in the city, of course, but that’s why we suggest owning more than one bag depending on your lifestyle.

3 Do’s and Dont’s of Mens Bags 2 – Henry A. Davidsen

DO: Lighten your load.

Daily life has a way of sneaking up on you, and if you don’t take time every so often to sort through the contents of your bag and eliminate what’s unnecessary – or flat-out junk – pretty soon, that fashionable bag becomes an overflowing burden, not to mention an eyesore.

DON’T: Overstuff.

Saggy is not stylish. Only carry what you need. You’ll always look put together and prepared, and never get caught rooting through your bag when you need something at a moment’s notice.

DO: Be adventurous!

When you wrap your mind around the idea that carrying a bag is perfectly fashionable for a man of great taste, there’s no reason you shouldn’t really explore your unique sense of style. At Henry A. Davidsen, we’re all about helping men customize their look, from custom tailored shirts to adventurous accessories. Go for a bag with bolder colors or textured materials. Show your personality!

3 Do’s and Dont’s of Mens Bags 3 – Henry A. Davidsen

DON’T: Wear backpacks with suits.

Yes, we see it often, and yes, we’ll still say it: backpacks are not a good look with suits. We recognize that there are high-quality leather and canvas backpacks available on the market. These are great for men who dress casually day in and day out – think a button down or sweater with jeans – not for guys who wear suits and sport coats.

If you wear a backpack with a suit, don’t be surprised if someone asks to see the matching Ninja Turtles lunch box.

What are your thoughts on carrying your things? Do you have a preference for a style of bag, or no bag at all? Let us know in the comments, and of course, if you have questions, reach out to our image consultants anytime.


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