The Bag Lady

Alex Fassam

To make myself somewhat remotely grown up I sign my name Alexander, but most refer to me as Alex. A blogger, retail enthusiast and, for my sins, a student studying at London College of Fashion.In between studying and working you may find me in Oxford street doing what I like to call "extreme shopping".

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Photo by Abolade Akintunde on Unsplash

I’m obsessed, I really am. In all honesty I’m damn proud. I can spend an obscene amount of money on them and I take great comfort in them.

No, I’m not talking about rent boys, I’m talking about bags.

No longer are the days where a man can’t possibly own a bag because that’s “not what men do”. In fact I think it’s quite the opposite nowadays. Every man should own a bag. I will grant an exception to those 40+ men who aren’t interested in fashion. It would seem stupid for them to carry a Givenchy tote to their builders yard everyday packed full with their sandwiches, lads mags and whatever straight men use. But for everyone else, if you don’t own a bag, shame on you.

Bags really have taken off in the world of menswear. I personally hate when I’m out and see men stuffing their pockets full of wallets, phones, keys, memos and everything else they need. It just makes their jeans look awful, their bulge absolutely massive and let’s face it that’s only going to lead to disappointment in the bedroom.

I think there’s a certain stigma in regard to men carrying bags. I think, without offending anyone, it was a generally gay thing to do. But I do beam with joy when I see those groups of preppy lads walking past Topman with their bags nowadays. It means menswear attitudes to the general public have come a long way. However, not sure if skirts will really make the same leap into menswear fashion high-street collections – Sorry Marc Jacobs.

As clichéd as this sounds, there really is a bag for every man out there. I’ll list some below to give you a general idea of what sort of bags suits you. Personally I will buy a bag, regardless of the cost, on its simplicity and ability to fish compliments without you having to shove it in someone’s face and scream

“PLEASE LOOK AT MY NEW BAG”

I can categorically state that I will never ever buy a designer bag with the logo branded upon it like an eyesore. I hate it. For me it cheapens whatever look you have. Like those god awful Paul’s Boutique farmer jackets that are, thankfully, going out of fashion now. If I see someone dressed with a giant trademark Louis Vuitton bag I immediately dismiss them as a person who can’t dress well.

It feels to me as though they use that bag to hide behind their lack of fashion sense. It sounds as though I’m snobby. I’m not. I sometimes can dress absolutely appallingly and really do curl up in the fetal position when I look in the mirror after a day spent in what I thought was a brilliantly styled outfit. It can happen to the best of us.

But using a logo bag doesn’t automatically make you a good dresser. It’s not a magic wand that will miraculously make your outfit amazing.

Some boys, like me, can be really daring and carry those tote bags. Tote bags are essentially stolen from Womenswear collections and are now bleeding into menswear continually. Yes – they are very feminine and yes they do emphasize your “gayness” or whatever you like to call it. But like I have stated in a previous article, who cares! If your outfit looks great with that tote then carry it with pride. If it looks awful – don’t you dare take it out.

A good tip I find is to have lots of different bags. For me this is a godsend because I honestly think by the age of 87 whilst I lay in bed, having my last moments I will surround myself with my bags and say thank you to them for the love and support they have given me. My husband, kids and grandkids will just have to wait their turn to say their goodbyes.

Having lots of different bags gives you the choice to be stylish 24/7. If one bag doesn’t go with a certain look you have lots of options ready at hand to pick from. Go on – try it.

I think bags really are a bridge to more adventurous dressing for men. Having a bag is kind of, for non-fashion forward men, a stepping stone in the right direction. You’ve made a statement by carrying a bag and if it’s a well-designed bag you’ll earn street cred just by taking it out the house.

Here are some of my favourite types of bags and the type of people who they’ll be suited to:

The Holdall – Large in size and convenient. Mainly worn by those gym, work, college guys but on the other scale an oversized holdall can look hot for those skinny boys devoted to fashion. Amazing in brown or camel colours but desperately awful with a sports logo on it. Do not buy that tat.

The Satchel – My personal favourite. Can go with anything and really looks good. I personally love, and can’t afford, the Cambridge Satchel company’s collections. They are absolutely idyllic. But you can get really good quality leather ones from ebay or even Topman at the moment.

The Backpack – Showing up on the majority of the RTW menswear collection showcases this season, backpacks are really a hit at the moment. Whether they’re canvas, leather or even see through they do look cool but you really have to be honest and ask whether you can pull it off and look cool or just look like one of those sweaty commuters who wear them for convenience. You decide.

The Messenger Bag – Usually seen on, no offence, European rich guys to store their smart phones, bulging wallets and cheque books. These little bags are quite nice but frankly I’d rather a small leather pouch bag if I was nipping to the shops.

And lastly – The All Rounder – You must have seen them. Usually worn by teenagers, 20’s office workers, gym goers, down the pubbers and any straight heterosexual man. They’re usually a tacky cheap leather with a god awful cartoon on. Either that or a sports logo. They’re horizontally designed and open at the top. I personally hate them but it’s to everyone’s tastes.

If I’m honest, when I see a good looking businessman in his 20’s wearing one I just think “Cutie pie, take me on a date please”.

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