Guys are very utilitarian so the notion of having the “right bag,” instead of just “any old bag,” to accompany you to work is sometimes a hard thing to grasp. We had a friend in college who used to pack for road trips by throwing everything he’d need into a green plastic garbage bag. But even he’s come around to the idea. So, if you’ve ever wondered if you’re carrying the right bag we’ve provided a brief overview of some of our favorites and where they work best. You may have other ideas, of course, but as long as you’re not using a backpack (or a green garbage bag), you’re probably headed in the right direction.
If you wear a suit to work.
These options will all have handles because, primarily (even though some models come with removable shoulder straps), you’re going to be carrying the bag that way. Your suit will end up rather rumpled if you have a strap running lengthwise across your chest messenger bag-style.
Whether it’s true or not, a guy walking along carrying a traditional hard-sided briefcase just seems to be headed toward a very important, very high-level job. Leather models seem to be the most popular although you can find them in different materials, including metal (which appear to only be suitable for hauling stacks of cash if the movies are to be trusted).
Very professional, yet somewhat casual, these are seen as more stylish than the traditional hard cases. A little more convenient for an “on-the-go” lifestyle as these usually will have a shoulder strap that will allow you to be hands-free for a moment to pay for a coffee or send a text. Usually leather, although canvas and waxed cotton models are good choices, too.
If you don’t wear a suit to work.
If you’re in a more casual work environment, then obviously your bag will reflect this. But even so, let’s leave the backpack to the school kids. You don’t want to run the risk of being mistaken for an intern.
These bags are incredibly popular because they’re versatile, they’re convenient, and they come in an almost unlimited variety of materials and fabrics. Unlike briefcases, which are all about the same size, messenger bags can be found in exactly the right size for the amount of stuff you like to carry. Whether that means a laptop, a change of clothes, and lunch. Or a tablet, and an energy bar. And, if you’ve always wanted to carry around your stuff in a messenger bag made of tweed, that’s certainly doable. In fact, if you’re not careful your messenger bag collection can quickly come to rival your sneaker collection.
Forget the tote bag your mother carried your sand toys to the beach in, these new models are way more upscale. Still rather casual, but tote bags do offer some advantages other bags don’t, like easy access to what you’re carrying. They also are usually constructed from rather durable materials, so you don’t have to carefully inspect a surface before you put it down, like a leather briefcase.
Obviously some of these bags can live in both worlds. Certain messenger bags are very upscale and can blur the lines between what is a soft-sided briefcase and a true messenger bag. Just be sure the bag you carry is in the same vein as the clothes you wear. Because just like wearing tube socks with dress shoes, wearing a suit and carrying a brightly patterned messenger bag is a combination that just doesn’t work.