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Messenger bags

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
What is everyone's opinion on messenger bags?  I am going overseas in a few weeks and I'm thinking of buying one to carry around my camera, maps, guidebooks, etc.  I just don't want people to think I'm carrying a "man-purse" or any other kind of purse.   I have no problem wearing slim-fitting, androgynous type clothing or traditionally feminine colors such as pink or lavender, but for some reason the idea of carrying a bag disturbs me a little bit.   I have a slim soft leather briefcase - would I be better off carrying that instead of the messenger bag?  What brands and styles of messenger bag would people recommend? Thanks
post #2 of 12
I see nothing effeminate about a messenger bag. I used one for five years until I switched to a backpack (I had neck/back problems - not due to the messenger bag, but it wasn't helping.) I can't remember the brand, but it was an outdoorsy type like Lowe Alpine or something. If you want manly, it's tough to beat ballistic nylon with lots of clips & straps. For something more traditional, beaten up leather looks good. I bought a very reasonably priced bag from J Peterman for my father, who went gaga over it. It was called an "Outlaw Suitcase" or some other Peterman Ridiculous Name ©.
post #3 of 12
Messenger bags have gotten a bad rap because of "Friends" and "Seinfeld."  In my opinion, they look a lot more like laptop carrying cases than like purses, and are not feminine in the least.  In fact, the messenger bag is very much part of the male "uniform" where I live, along with the blue button-down shirt and khaki pants. The more important issue is whether a messenger bag is appropriate in your case.  You sound like you're going overseas to sightsee, which generally means a lot of walking.  Unless you're going somewhere that demands a certain level of formality, I recommend that you get a backpack with padded shoulders instead (or a Camelbak if you need a water supply).  It won't be stylish, but comfort beats style hands down at the end of a long day.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
A backpack wouldn't really work because I am going for both business and pleasure and wouldn't be able to wear the backpack all that much... plus I just finished 25 years of school and I'm kind of sick of backpacks. What do people think of this messenger bag?: http://www.luxestyle.com/dolce-54.html I kind of like the rectangular style bags more so than the briefcase-type bags (I already have a few briefcases) and the purse-type bags (like the Prada ones with the straps). Any other recommendations?
post #5 of 12
re: link above, the small, squarish shape looks more to me like a purse than a messenger bag Howabout something like this: http://www.eluxury.com/browse....ID=6000 Not that particular model (because it's insanely expensive for no good reason) but something lux with an interesting closure.
post #6 of 12
If you're going outside the US, I don't think you'll need to worry about carrying a "purse" around. IME the attitude is more relaxed towards bags overseas; they're practical and they should preferably be stylish. The only kinds of bags which might raise eyebrows are the *very* small ones, they look like purses no matter what. I like Prada and Louis Vuitton myself when it comes to bags. If you don't want to spend that much, buy the best quality/finish you're willing to. Just don't go for a "masculine" look with lots of straps and fasteners and buckles, that's just cluttered. Oh, the D&G bag does not look like a purse; I think it's slightly tacky though. The LV messenger looks too luxe to be a serious bag, sort of. It's the gold closures I think. It's available in silver though.
post #7 of 12
I purchased my messenger bag from Wilsons Leather.. many of their models are under $200 and hold up pretty well to abuse (I used mine through college and it's still together, anyways). Just be sure to treat it correctly, you don't want that leather cracking or drying out if it's going to be out in the sun a lot (as mine was, due to being carried around campus all day).
post #8 of 12
I'd recommend a sturdy canvas number from Jack Spade.  Not terriby expensive, a nice blend of style and rugged durability, and perfectly cool in any number of instances.  Mine's tan with black trim and strap. I've carried my personal effects in my Jack Spade all over Italy, Spain, and a bunch of states here at home, and it's been both functionally and stylishly terrific.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips everyone - I have a few more comments and questions. To me, the plain rectangular bags like the D&G one I posted seem less purse-like than the ones which are smaller and more round or squarish and have straps or buckles, like this one: http://www.madamechic.com/prmebagb8nem.html What do other people think?   The LV link that davei posted is certainly a very nice bag but it's very briefcase-ish; I don't see what I would get with that that I don't have with a briefcase. As for the D&G one, I like the bag but I'm not really crazy about the logo across the strap. I would prefer to avoid Prada because their messenger bags seem kind of cliche, although I'm not a Prada-basher by any means (I love their shoes and suits and I'm thinking of getting a duffle bag). The Jack Spade recommendation is interesting - I haven't really taken a close look at their bags but I may go to Saks this week and check them out. I really like the look of vintage WWII-era map bags, but it seems like the interiors of these bags (being highly compartmentalized for maps, compasses, etc.) aren't very practical for carrying around a bunch of stuff.  Does anyone know of any similar-style bags that just have one large compartment and maybe a pocket or two?
post #10 of 12
Been a while since this thread started, but couldn't you just cut the compartments out?
post #11 of 12
The manliest messenger bag that I have seen, by far, is the distressed leather saddle bag number by John Varvatos. At $595, it's not cheap; but it's not as astronomically expensive as LV bags either. BTW, messengers have the distinct advantage over backpacks of not making your back a sweaty mess at the end of the day. Took a few summers backpacking across Europe to learn this lesson.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips everyone - I ended up going with a black canvas Jack Spade bag (similar in shape to the D&G one I posted) - $70 from eBags (+ free shipping). I like the Varvatos bags but it didn't make sense to spend $500+ on a bag I will probably only use once or twice a year (for vacations).
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