Stylish men's bags much more than mere carry-all

Jokes about man bags are as out of date as the actual term "man-bag".

Last year, men's bags  in the US alone, making up nearly one quarter of total sales in the accessories market. Which shouldn't be all that surprising.

Whether it's your gym kit, or the equivalent of a personal office, the days where the modern gent could easily fit his life in the back pocket of his favourite jeans are long gone.

However, not all bags are created equal.

Get the messenger 

Back in early '00s, it was the messenger bag that was most commonly slung across the shoulders of fashion-forward gents. These early styles were often unstructured, casual and completely out of place for today's more style-conscious and detail-driven man.

Sophie Hunt is the managing director of high-end accessories retailer, Hunt Leather. She says while updated versions of the messenger bag are still popular, you're more likely to see someone in a three-piece suit sporting a sleek tote or leather duffle bag these days.

"Overseas, we see men carrying tall totes with two handles," Hunt explains.

"In Australia, while we are definitely noticing the messenger bag is still popular, gym bags – or 'day bags' – such as our Troubadour Bag, are also trending strongly. Businessmen used to have a briefcase and a carry-on bag but now we see them with a smaller duffle bag."


More than a grab bag

Bags are no longer an afterthought. Instead, these long-overlooked accessories have become as much of a finishing touch to an outfit as cufflinks or shoes.

Most major accessories brands now offer a broad range of sophisticated choices in a variety of styles. Menswear portal Mr Porter, for example, offers briefcases and backpacks as well as six additional categories to choose from.

Even the most humble design can be found in an array of luxury materials, such as backpacks in crocodile leather or unstructured briefcases in ostrich skin.

This move to high-end accessories was an inevitable evolution for the modern man.

As men become more adept at adopting those finer details that make for successful style, it makes no sense to ruin all that hard work by dragging around a beaten up backpack or free-with-membership gym bag.

No logos

The key to pulling off the luxe look, aside from budget, is to keep it subtle.

"Understated luxury is a very strong theme," Hunt tells 51698009.

"Refined and no logos … More and more we see young, stylish men looking for "investment" pieces – lasting, timeless and of the highest quality."

What's your stance on the man bag? Tell us in the comments section below.