Hot Seams: Man Bags
First, understand that the social stigma behind men’s bags is largely a thing of the past. Admirable male leads such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Inception” and Jon Hamm in “Mad Men” have recently put briefcases back on the list of respectable accessories for men. Although a hard shell may not be the most practical solution for a college student, a similar look can still be confidently achieved with a structured messenger bag. These side-wearing bags not only make it easier to access contents without taking them off, but they stay within your periphery, making it less likely for items to fall out of your bag without your knowledge.
The easiest way to avoid having to defend your fashion sense—“It’s a satchel!”—is to choose a bag with minimalist aesthetics, which won’t draw attention. This way, it doesn’t become a conversation piece. Plus, a simpler bag won’t clash with whatever you happen to be wearing. Start with neutral muted colors, such as khaki, navy, black and brown. Embellishments such as buckles, graphics and patterns should be kept to a minimum. If there are multiple pockets and zippers, these should be concealed.
In general, materials such as canvas and leather are not only considered masculine, but are strong and durable. As a bonus, eventual rips and tears to these materials can look intentional and add character. As a general rule, the shape and size should be no smaller than a large laptop; anything too small or square will venture into the purse category and provoke the dreaded label of a “murse.”