Bags are as essential of a component in shaping your everyday style as they are for women. However, for a lot of us, the bag that we end up toting around every day is often an afterthought, regarded only in terms of function and hardly (if ever) in terms of form. Perhaps your trustworthy backpack, which has served you well over the years with its myriad compartments and sheer resilience (consider how many times have you torn and thrown it around, and it still hasn’t broken? Impressive), is your go-to through thick and thin
Or maybe you like to throw all your belongings into a drawstring sack because it is easy, a no-brainer (who needs compartments, or style, anyway), and it’ll make you look like you frequent the gym daily. We’ve talked about different bag types before, but not about what your bag preference means.
It’s clear that the bag you choose says a lot about you, whether you like it or not. Further, your bag choice can sabotage your entire look, especially when it is an afterthought. We get it. Bags were meant to be functional.–to help you get your stuff from point A to point B. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Here is precisely what your bag says about you, as well as a couple of recommendations for bags that marry function with style, too.
Table of Contents
Leather Messenger Bag
Best For: Travel, Business, and The Art of Looking Like You Have a Job
Messenger bags have been around for over a century and were originally popularized by dispatchers during WWII, who would use them to carry messages on horseback. To make accessing the bag’s contents easy, a cross-body style with a large opening flap was adapted, and that style stuck. Today, the bag is known for being durable, convenient, and stylish, especially for commuters. If a leather messenger bag is your carrier of choice, it means you are a professional who is always on the go but still cares about aesthetics (if you didn’t, you’d be just another backpack carrier, and where’s the fun in that?).
Best For: Work, Study, Commuting
Just like the previous bag, a canvas or nylon messenger means that you are a style-savvy commuter. Based on your bag preference, you are probably either a student or a young professional, and you commute, most likely on a motorcycle (and if you don’t, you enjoy the fact that this bag makes you look like you do). You’re mildly rugged, and you chose a bag that could withstand anything and roll with the punches. Through thick and thin, this bag has been with you. The scratches and minor tears are simply reminders of your adventurous (or clumsy?) nature.
Best For: Business, Work, Meetings
A tried and true classic. You are a professional and want to be regarded as such. This bag says to the world that you are a businessman by trade, and that you don’t take no for an answer. You’re a driven, educated individual who thrives on organization. If you don’t work at a fortune 500 company and carry a degree from Yale, you certainly pull off the look well, at least.
Best For: Business, Looking Important
You’re on a secret mission transporting top-secret classified documents to their final destination. Okay, maybe you’re not actually doing that, but you sure look like it. Hard briefcases–either made of aluminum or leather, usually–are formal and classic, albeit a little stuffy. You mean business, and you’re not afraid to let it show. All pretenses aside, attaches are great for keeping your documents safe, as the solid structure doesn’t allow for folding or wrinkling.
Best For: Commuting, Working Out, Studying
Backpacks have their place, but if you’re carrying a backpack around as an everyday commuter bag, you’re treading the fine line between positive and negative connotations. If you’re under 23, okay, fine, it’s a youthful, functional bag and it’s serving its purpose. If you’re older, though, it looks like you either don’t have your life together or you aren’t actively trying to pursue bigger and better things. Ditch the backpack instead for a rucksack (mildly nicer) or a messenger back for a vessel that’s still functional but not without its added style points.
Heritage or Leather Rucksack
Best For: (Looking slightly more stylish while) Commuting, Working Out, Studying
A step above the standard backpack, you still value function over style but you’re not blind to the fact that these backpacks look great, and you intentionally chose it with that in mind. These bags are best worn with beards, flannels, and chukkas.
Best For: Commuting, Transporting Things
Totes can be really hit or miss. However, you can’t deny their ability to, you know, carry stuff. If the tote is your bag of choice, it’s either a style or eco-conscious choice, most likely. If it’s the latter, it could be safe to assume you wear Toms and frequent farmers markets every Saturday morning (nothing wrong with that).
Best For: Weekend Travel, Short Trips (carry-on only)
Always on the go, you and your weekender bag have been places. Weekenders are stylish, convenient, and have just the right amount of space for all of your needs (think the Mary Poppins purse of men’s bags). Whether you’re a commuter or a jetsetter, a weekender bag is a classy choice, which makes you a classy person by extension.
Best For: Weekend Travel, Short Trips (carry-on only), Working Out
Much like a weekender but, depending on the make, perhaps a little less stylish, the duffel bag is made to fit a wide variety of needs, whether they be going to the gym or packing for a week-long vacation. If the duffel is your everyday bag of choice, you probably look like a workout buff, or a guy who’s always going places. Hey, you gotta carry your essentials from point a to point b somehow.
Best For: Travel
More durable than a duffel or a weekender, but arguably a little less “cool,” roller bags are all about function. Yes, you can find some really sleek, minimalistic variations these days, but if it has wheels on it, the perception is still the same. Roller bags are 100% perfect for vacations that span longer than the weekend. But if you use your roller every day, you may look like a teacher or a librarian (which is cool, if that’s your thing).
Best For: Working Out, Doing Outdoor Things
Sack, or drawstring, bags serve a strictly functional purpose. They’re great for going to the gym, hitting the trails, or heading to the beach. As an everyday bag, it’ll probably make you look like a total bro or a gym buff, and if that’s your thing, more power to you.
Best For: Travel, Sightseeing
Satchels are definitely for the more adventure-prone gentlemen. Harkening images of Indiana Jones and monument-trekking tourists, satchels scream “vagabond.” Whether you use yours for crazy cross-country journeys or just to carry your work stuff around with you, a satchel is perfect for any guy who wants to look like he has a wild and free, yet still style conscious, persona.