It’s your birthday, and your girlfriend got you a special gift — but it’s not what you think. When you open the box, there it is. She brought you a purse, a pocketbook, a bag. And when you question her about it, she says, “It’s a carryall. All of the guys are wearing them these days.” She might be right, but you and your boys always laughed when you saw men walking by with large bags in their hands. She wants you to dress better, but you don’t want to wear a man-bag. What do you do?

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There are more to these bags than meets the eye. Their street name is “man-bag,” but rest assured that maintaining masculinity with your bag is easy — it is all in the styling. There are hybrids, messengers, carryalls, totes, and every other kind of style that you can think of. There is a man-bag for any kind of man; you just has to find the one that is right.

1- Briefcase 

Dunhill Briefcase - Credit: Dunhill.com

Briefcases are probably the oldest form of “acceptable” handbags for men. Modern-day briefcases, however, have evolved a great deal since the days of your father’s sharp-cornered case. They’re no longer boxy; in fact, that’s about the only traditional element discarded in the modern briefcase. The classic shape (without the sharp corners), buckles, leather exterior, and practical interior compartments help make this bag a timeless addition to any working-man’s wardrobe.

Carry with: Business attire

2- Messenger bag 

Jack Spade messenger bag - Credit: Jackspade.com


Aptly named, the messenger bag is designed after the bags traditionally carried throughout history by — whom else? — messengers. Often made from canvas and swung across the shoulder, messenger bags have taken on a whole new meaning in urban fashion. From students with canvas bags to urban hipsters with modern leather bags, the messenger’s laid-back style will always have a classic casual flair, but today’s leather messenger tote also exudes a hint of uptown sophistication.

Carry with: Slick street clothes

3- Holdall 

Mulberry holdall - Credit: Mulberry.com


Any traveling man needs a holdall for those weekend jaunts or three-day business trips. Big, bulky luggage has transformed into sleek, stylish holdalls (or carryalls). Its design is inspired by the duffel bag, but its predominantly leather exterior and more refined appearance attribute a classic look to this practical tote.

Carry with: Casual weekend wear, business-casual attire

4- Camera bag 

Prada camera bag - Credit: BlueFly.com


A smaller version of the messenger bag, a camera bag is a longer rectangular bag that is meant to be strapped across the shoulders. Convenient for tourists, but good for any man on the go, a camera bag is a discreet but severely stylish way to lug around your belongings. What makes the camera bag stand out as a classic men’s bag is its ability to bring a touch of masculinity to an outfit, even if it is hanging from your shoulder. It’s a simple style with a whole lot of function.

Carry with: Leisure wear

5- Tote 

Coach tote - Credit: Coach.com


A tote is the modern approach to the classic briefcase. Resembling an artisan’s bag, the tote is the utmost in casual business attire. Its basic design and usual soft leather exterior allots it a classic status, while its long handles give it a contemporary edge. If purchased in a chocolate brown or black, this bag can add a touch of laid-back masculinity to any casual work wear.

Carry with: Business-casual clothes

6- Newsboy bag 

Paul Smith newsboy bag - Credit: PaulSmith.co.uk

Like the advent of the newsboy cap, the newsboy bag is a classic style that has become synonymous with men’s casual wear. It’s similar to the messenger bag’s style, but its traditional canvas exterior makes it a little less formal than the latter. This bag style is perfect for the student on the go, as it makes a fashion statement and exudes more masculinity and style savvy than a knapsack.

Carry with: Campus-chic wear

via AskMen | AvidCourtesyLeague