Bags of Style


By Adam Russell

Given that you are expected to heave around an ever increasing number of items, from the latest smartphone or iPad or even the unread weighty tome on its way back to the library (accompanied by the fistful of cash required to pay the fine), it is worth considering the type of receptacle to laden yourself with. The trusty handbag has well fulfilled this purpose for women over the years storing everything from lipstick to miniature dogs but the ‘man-bag’ has generally led to split opinions. If you are one of the men, like myself, who have a (now not so) secret jealous streak for the Mary Poppins-esque practicality of women’s handbags then behold the superlative men’s alternatives:

Canvas Backpack
For an alternative to the arguably not-so-classy JD sports pull string bag the satchel is the perfect choice. Slung over your shoulder in a nonchalant fashion for work, business, or pleasure this retro satchel available from ASOS will suit each occasion finding the balance between tatty and clean cut. For a more casual feel the canvas style seems to be everywhere, exploited nicely by this cotton dispatch bag available at M&S. If the april showers are getting to you then remembering the child-like innocence of the ‘best days of your life’ with this take on the classic school satchel could be the one for you, just make sure your frubes are kept at a safe distance. If you would require a deeper bag (to contrast with your not so deep pockets) I really like this military style bag available at urban outfitters.

Tote/Shopper bags

These bags cover the more casual trip to pick up a few odds and ends from an unnamed supermarket. Continuing on the canvas theme this leather detailed tote bag from COS adds stacks of style to an un-romanticised errand. A printed item never goes amiss this summer and this ‘fish-printed’ bag from Barbour really complies. As ever there is a nautical themed bag to match all those horizontal stripes already packed into your wardrobe.

Beware, if you decide you need to buy a box of cereal I would avoid a shopper bag, as attempting to fit anything more substantial than lasagne sheets alongside it may require the use of a shoehorn and copious amounts of lube.


Whether you like wear your rucksack with two straps, one strap or even would rather get a nearby companion to carry the burden they are my favourite way of getting things from A to B. This navy linen/leather rucksack from Zara-man keeps things simple, whereas this more exciting ethnic print bag will be perfectly paired with a plainer outfit to add a bit of pattern and colour. For a patterned yet more subtle colour palette this suede backpack from Topman ticks all the boxes and if you’re really really really against carrying anything bigger than a pound coin then this comedy (not in a good way) ‘bag necklace’ might be right up your street.