Men’s Handbags Are A Thing Now: Here’s Why
Contributed by Rebekah & Elly
September 26, 2022
Hermes Birkin Men Bag, Image courtesy of Gotham Mag
If you take a look at the latest runway collections, fashion magazines, or even take a walk on the city streets, you’ll notice that men’s handbags are having a major moment. We’re not talking about your boring old backpacks, briefcases, and fanny packs either. We’re talking mini crossbodies, purses, and slouchy hobos— all the styles that have, up till today, been mainly purchased by women.
If you don’t believe us, there’s substantial research to back this up. According to studies done by market research company the NPD Group, sales for unisex and men’s handbags have gone up by an astonishing 700% from 2018 to 2021.
Experts posit that the increasing openness towards gender fluidity in mainstream culture and consequently, in fashion has had a hand in this shift. With pop and indie icons such as Frank Ocean and Harry Styles incorporating conventionally feminine styles into their ensembles (and looking pretty amazing doing it), it’s only natural that the industry and the rest of the world is following suit.
Harry Styles sporting the Gucci’s 1961 Jackie Bag, image courtesy of Inside Hook
However, cultural implications aside, we can’t help but think that it’s about time men were allowed to carry their belongings around in style. In fact, the first purse ever recorded in history belonged to a man called Ötzi the Iceman, over 5000 years ago. Bags continued to be used by both men and women throughout history to hold everything from herbs and spices to valuables, currency, and even food.
However, in the early 20th century, there came a solid divide between the way bags were created for men and women, with more elaborate and decorative styles for women, and an emphasis on practicality and athleticism for men. By the 90’s, even though the bag industry for women was thriving, men’s handbags were joked about in popular sitcoms such as Friends and Seinfeld as not manly enough.
Image courtesy of Matthew Sperzel
However, luckily for men, times certainly are changing— and if you’re not a fan of simply picking up a handbag marketed towards women at the store, there are plenty of options out there for handbags crafted specifically for men that are both practical and stylish.
Whether you’re looking for a piece to house your essentials throughout the day or something just a little more interesting than a played-out old briefcase for work, here are some of our picks to get you inspired.
The Mini Bag
If you’re looking for something easy to grab on your way out the door, we highly recommend this sleek, understated number by Hugo Boss. With its convenient zipper opening at the top, simple, yet bold printed logo, and tasteful colourway on the strap, it’s the ultimate no-brainer for those days when you don’t want to think to much.
Recycled Nylon Envelope Bag with Printed Logo, available at Hugo Boss
The Everyday Bag
Ditch the generic black or grey case that came with your work laptop for a timeless, luxurious document case from exclusive Parisian label, Goyard. Expertly crafted from Goyardine Canvas & Cervon Calfskin and available in a myriad of tasteful colourways, this bag has the perfect dimensions to house all your work-related essentials while adding a touch of class to your ensemble after-hours. Of course, at this price point, it’s probably only going to be an everyday bag for a select few.
The Ambassade MM bag, available at Goyard Paris
Love the functionality of the classic duffel bag,but want to take it up a few notches? Look no further than iconic Japanese label Porter-Yoshida & Co.’s understated, utilitarian two-way duffel bag. Crafted using a durable nylon material in a jet black hue, this accessory is detailed with tonal grosgrain straps that allow it to be carried by hand or over the shoulder– whichever you prefer.
Porter-Yoshida Two Way Duffle Bag available at Farfetch