Any style-aware man knows that the bag he carries says as much about his style as anything else he chooses to wear. Not only an accessory for lugging around your day-to-day essentials, your bag needs to reflect your personal tastes, and above all needs to be occasion appropriate. Here, we list key bag shapes and reveal what each bag will say about you.
What it says about you: Informal, unfussy, practicalFor most men, the backpack conjures up memories of setting off for school, strapped tight and high on each shoulder, thereafter carelessly draped from a single shoulder in an attempt to signal cool indifference so typical of teenagers everywhere.
Unlike many things from those awkward formative years, the backpack isn't something that you should cosign to the history books. We're certainly not suggesting that you dig out your schoolbag, but don't for a second write off the backpack as something to leave to those who were born into the social media age.
Taken in the right colour, fabric and shape, the backpack can still be an incredibly sophisticated choice. Our tip? Choose black, try suede or grained leather and avoid logos and bright colours at all costs.
THE TOTE BAG
What it says about you: Modern, neat, appreciates style
Now that men are comfortable enough to realise that carrying a bag is a necessity and not something which can be flippantly derided as a 'man bag', the tote bag has rightfully shaken off its peacocking status to become a credible part of any man's accessories collection.
Perhaps more than any other bag, the tote boasts versatility thanks to its ability to occupy sartorial no man's land; the tote bag feels just as apt for carrying shopping as it does work documents (which is perfectly useful for those quick trips to the supermarket after work).
When choosing a tote bag size is everything. Too big and you've got a beach bag, too small, and you're in handbag territory. Pay attention to your tote bag's length (which should exceed its width) to make sure you've nailed the all-important style and substance happy medium.
What it says about you: Business-minded, straightforward
Ah, the briefcase, rarely has a bag been so synonymous with the status quo. It's robustly practical (no chance of raindrops ruining contents here), fuss-free (see the small shape with little room for decorative additions) and utterly impervious to menswear trends.
Therein lies the briefcase' charm. It's clearly functional - and why shouldn't it be, it's a bag after all - and makes a failsafe companion for a suit. No wonder so many professional men are stubbornly wedded to this bag shape.
The downside? Like its name suggests, the briefcase can be a little, well, brief in appeal. How to overcome this? Look for small details which offer touches of design-minded flair. Take pebble grain over smooth leather and look for a style with metallic zip hardwear for subtle contrast.
THE DOCUMENT HOLDER
What it says about you: Contemporary, sophisticated
If you're going to get to grips with a document holder, you need to first accept that this handle-less bag probably won't be the only means of carrying your daily essentials, it's more of an accompaniment.
The document holder is perfect for wielding during job interviews, important presentations and meetings. Its sleek, flat form certainly beats a bulging bag and lets you keep your muddle of keys, gum and daily paraphernalia away from pristine leaves of A4.
This is a bag for displaying style and good taste, so use sparingly when you need it and transport in a bigger bag for journeys to and from work.