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How to Properly Select a Men’s Bag + Our Favorites

Call it a “man bag” or a “murse,” but the men’s bag has graduated from frivolous to essential over the past two years.

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Carrying around hand sanitizer, wipes, and a mask or two, plus your wallet and phone, has shown that your pockets just don’t cut it.

TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE
  • Modest size
  • Accented subtly with textured leather
  • Stylish design
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  • Fully leather construction
  • Top-notch quality
  • Includes an adjustable strap, five total card slots, an interior slip pocket
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  • Made from sturdy cotton canvas and leather
  • Two-way zip closure
  • Leather top handles
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Table of Contents

As such, crossbody, messenger, and tote bags have all surged in popularity over this time. Rather than select something too large, too small, or too flimsy, here’s how you can find the right men’s bag for everyday purposes:

What to Look for in a Man Bag

men's bag

Men’s bags are like shoes: No pair is a one-size-fits-all solution, and design varies with application and location. Especially if you’re new to shopping for a carryall bag, be sure to consider:

  1. Purpose: Where will you be taking your bag? Will it be accompanying you to work, as you’re out running errands, or on a longer trip? As a baseline, the more you plan to bring along, the more space and pockets you’ll need, and you should further consider a more durable and likely versatile material.
  2. Appearance: How do you dress? Are you someone who leans classic, smart-casual, or is it streetwear all the time? Generally, aim for a more timeless, neutral, and adaptable look for your bag. The louder something appears, the more distinctive it comes across. As a tip, whether you go for leather or Cordura nylon, your bag should feel secondary to whatever you’re wearing. 
  3. What you’ll be bringing along: Plan first and purchase later. Know what you need on a day-to-day basis – some call this your everyday carry list – and anticipate space for something extra. Avoid packing your bag to capacity, as this will strain the material and leaves little space for anything else.  
  4. The straps: These come in direct contact with your shoulder. Look for something that not only holds up to regular use but that also won’t add weight or place stress on this area, thus affecting your posture. Consider a thicker strap with padding for a higher level of comfort. 

Types of Men’s Bags & Recommendations

As you get serious about having a dedicated bag, consider the following:

Messenger Bags

This is a modern classic that took off somewhere around the late ‘90s or early ‘00s. Chances are, you might have had one in high school.

In any case, upgrade the boxy, long-strapped format with a thicker, more wear-resistant material that can handle the daily commute and includes pockets for a laptop or tablet, especially if you intend to use it as an office bag. 

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Design wise, the messenger bag is essentially a satchel with a zippered main compartment, as this feature offers more security than a buckled-only exterior closure. Comfort and wear wise, look for something that hits around the hip. 

Burberry Small Grainy Leather Messenger Bag

Burberry Small Grainy Leather Messenger Bag

A modest size covers your basics and then some with a structured yet rounded form accented subtly with textured leather. 

Shop on Burberry.com


Polo Ralph Lauren Heritage Leather Messenger Bag

Polo Ralph Lauren Heritage Leather Messenger Bag

Sturdy, full-grain leather construction with two flap satchel-style closures holds your belongings, offering a bag that’s ideal for work and beyond. On the style end, a darker tartan pattern on the interior shakes things up with a few dashes of color. 

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


Hugo Boss Messenger Bag

Hugo Boss Detachable Pochette Messenger Bag

Hugo Boss devises a hybrid between the size of a crossbody and the ease of a traditional messenger bag while adding a flash of color with a red logo. Offering more sustainable construction, this bag uses 60-percent recycled polyester, including from used PET bottles. 

Shop on Hugoboss.com


Crossbody and Everyday Carry Bags

Although some crossbody bags deceptively look like their messenger counterparts, they distinguish themselves with a smaller, more compact design that’s ideal for holding your everyday essentials.

These, too, swing over the shoulder and include a strap that extends across the body but typically aren’t large enough for a tablet or laptop. 

Burberry Monogram Motif Leather Crossbody Bag

Burberry Monogram Motif Leather Crossbody Bag

Burberry goes down to the most essential features while still providing quality, fully leather construction accented with a metal logo clasp. This crossbody bag includes an adjustable strap, five total card slots, an interior slip pocket, and an exterior flap pocket. 

Shop on Burberry.com


Burberry Embossed Check Leather Crossbody Bag

Burberry Embossed Check Leather Crossbody Bag

Black leather doesn’t need to be boring or standard, as this Burberry crossbody shows. Instead, the brand’s familiar check pattern comes through an embossed texture, while an adaptable design can be worn across the body or carried like a folio. 

Shop on Nordstrom.com*


Ralph Lauren Calfskin-Trim Twill Crossbody Bag

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Calfskin-Trim Twill Crossbody Bag

Keep it simple without putting quality on the back burner. This Purple Label crossbody blends in with a boxy twill silhouette with calfskin and brass hardware accents. 

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


Burberry Monostrap Backpack

Hugo Boss Mono-Strap Backpack with Logo Patch and Zipped Pocket

A crossbody design meets the over-your-shoulder quality of a backpack, thanks to durable textile construction and an adaptable mono-strap. 

Shop on Hugoboss.com


Weekend Bags

“Weekend bag” has turned into a descriptor for a smaller duffel-style bag. Compartment wise, you’ll get more space than a messenger bag offers, yet the design screams “grab and go.”

Essentially, this bag exists between the practicality-first construction of a messenger and the spaciousness of a travel or gym bag. When you’re planning a few days away, it’s built for a few items of clothing and some smaller essentials, like a dopp kit.

Burberry Horseferry Print Canvas and Leather Holdall

Burberry Horseferry Print Canvas and Leather Holdall

Get going in this work-to-weekend bag constructed out of sturdy cotton canvas and leather. A bowling-style silhouette stands out with Burberry’s Horseferry print and contrast element, while you have a choice of carry options. 

Shop on Burberry.com


Purple Label Calfskin Darwin Duffel

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Calfskin Darwin Duffel

Travel in streamlined luxury with this smooth calfskin Italian leather duffel featuring polished hardware and equestrian-themed accents. 

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


Hugo Boss Structured Nylon Holdall With Red Logo Label

Hugo Boss Structured-Nylon Holdall with Red Logo Label

Start your journey in this nylon weekend bag using 100-percent recycled fibers and featuring a contrasting red label. 

Shop on Lyst.com


Tote Bags

These come with a few feminine, somewhat crunchy connotations.

Yet, a tote bag by design is equipped with a few key features: a larger, almost triangular-shaped body that fans out and a smaller yet thicker strap that you can grasp with one hand or carry around the shoulder.

Masculine versions go minimal here: solid leather or nylon with no graphics or embellishments. 

Burberry Medium Monogram Print Cotton Freya Tote Bag

Burberry Medium Monogram Print Cotton Freya Tote – Exclusive Capsule Collection

You don’t expect to see the Burberry logo looking like this. On woven cotton and calf leather, a monogram print takes you back to the 2000s while standing out in the present with raindrop accents.

Shop on Burberry.com


Polo Ralph Lauren Heritage Leather-Trim Canvas Tote

Polo Ralph Lauren Heritage Leather-Trim Canvas Tote

Whatever your basics are, you can’t go wrong – now and down the road – with a fully canvas tote. Pack it for work, and later, it gives you enough room for a trip to the beach. 

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


RRL Hand-Tooled Leather Tote

RRL Hand-Tooled Leather Tote

We get classic cowboy boots vibes from this fully leather tote bag, featuring handcrafted detailing and vegetable-tanned hide. 

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


Folios

A few years ago, these were called a “man clutch” for obvious reasons. Folios have turned into a lightweight successor to the briefcase.

You can pack in a folder, a few pens, and a notepad, as well as a lighter-weight electronic device should you choose, but realize that the flat, strapless form is meant to be carried in your hand, so you’ll want to pare down your daily basics. 

Hugo Boss Envelope Bag

Hugo Boss Structured-Fabric Envelope Bag with Logo Patch

Take it down to basics with this streamlined envelope bag made with tech fabric and including an adjustable strap. 

Shop on Lyst.com


Coach Gotham Folio

Coach Gotham Folio

Keep things minimal yet sleek with this folio-style briefcase made with polished pebble leather and built to hold a 13-inch laptop. 

Shop on Nordstrom.com*


Prada Saffiano Leather Pouch

Prada Saffiano Leather Pouch

Make your everyday routine even more streamlined with this pouch-style leather bag featuring a detachable wrist strap. 

Shop on Prada.com

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