I realized today that I have Tweeted and ReTweeted a lot about purses. Purses are not only utilitarian, but can be things of beauty and a reflection on the carrier's style. I recently read a blog about a mustard Balenciaga bag and literally drooled over the design of this bag (nod to www.fashionistasdaily.com). Even though I have no use for a woman’s Balenciaga bag, I still couldn’t help being envious of the “Mrs. L” that was buying this bag in the blog entry. This is truly a gorgeous bag! The workmanship is incredible. Today, to my surprise I discovered that the mysterious “Mrs. L” is actually a college buddy of mine!!! (Okay, not a complete surprise since she is an extremely stylish gal.)
All of these musings got me thinking even more about bags. More specifically, it got me thinking more about bags for me or as they are now referred to as “man bags”. Although in much of the United States, they are still looked upon with humor and some disdain, I am in constant search of bags that I can utilize. Hey, if David Beckham can carry one...?????
Growing up in New York, you always had your book bag. Not only was it necessary for carrying all of your books and papers, but snacks, walkman and cassette tapes (yes, I am dating myself). As I moved into my teens and was studying and performing ballet, the same bag was then dubbed a “dance bag” and held all of the above mentioned items, plus dance shoes, leg warmers, sweatshirts and on and on.... Your bag was a necessary item to get you through a day in the city, especially since you would quite possibly leave your apartment early in the morning and not see it again until late in the evening. In those days, I always carried a Danish Book Bag. As soon as one had worn out with much loving use, I would rush back to The Chocolate Soup (a small but really cool children’s shop on Madison Avenue and 75th Street, sadly no longer there) to get a new one. It was totally practical, with a zippered flap, interior pockets and an outer zipper that when unzipped allowed the bag to expand. Not only did I carry one of these everywhere I went on a daily basis, but a Danish Book Bag accompanied me on treks throughout the world. When my last bag wore out, I was quite saddened that I could not find another one. I did finally find one online from the man that originally introduced them to NY in 1968 and ordered another which I treasure to this day. Going on line now, he has been out of stock for quite some time and the Danish manufacturer seems to be out of business. I contacted the Souperbag man and he will quite possibly have a new vendor who will make the bag again. I will keep you posted. :) In the meantime, you can have a look at http://danishsouperbag.com/frameset.html.
As I have grown older and spend my days a little more differently than in my youth, I find that I don’t need the size of my Danish Book Bag or even a standard messenger bag. A little too bulky. And despite the fact that I am oftentimes not in New York or Paris where men carry bags all of the time, I still personally find a need for a bag. Let’s face it, with all of today’s gadgets, I need a place to carry them around. On a typical day, I will have a wallet, iPhone, iPhone charger pack, earphones, keys, sunglasses, pen, etc. No way is all of that going into my pockets. On top of that, I don’t like to have my pockets bulging or too many items stretching out the pockets on my jackets. Especially when I am wearing an exquisitely tailored Ted Baker or Paul Smith. I NEED A BAG!!!
I found a Prada bag a few years ago that has suited my needs quite well. It has a great 2 zippered pouched flap, another zippered pouch under the flap, an inside zippered compartment with another small zippered pouch inside of that and a velcro pouch on the back side. It carries all of my necessities, yet is still pretty small and easy to carry slung across my chest. It is stylish in a sleek way: black nylon with red rubber Prada logos and zipper pulls (my two favorite colors) and although it is definitely unisex, it is also leaning towards the masculine side. Problem is, that I have used it so much that it is starting to disintegrate and I now need to find a new one and Prada no longer carries a similar bag.. The hunt is on!!
I am so far liking the Coach Op Art Coated Canvas Map Bag. It has a sleek masculine look and has ample storage space for all of my gadgets, without being too large. And a great price at $298.
Second in the running is the Louis Vuitton Citadin. Love the look, love the logo, good space. Wish it had a flap and at $880 it is a bit pricier (though not as expensive as the Balenciaga!!).
And finally, the Prada Nylon Flight Bag. It’s definitely utilitarian and I like that it has an inside zippered pocket. But it definitely lacks in style. I don’t think that I would ever describe this bag as chic. And at $660, I was kinda hoping for a bit more of a statement.
Why is it so difficult to find a man bag that is both functional and stylish? Hmmm, maybe I should look into designing man bags??? Of course if Chanel would come out with a man bag, the problem would be solved. No matter what the cost :) Hey!! Why should you girls have all of the fun?