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The Man-Purse: When it’s ok and when it’s not

December 20, 2010

You’ve all heard this tern before: The Man Purse. It really refers to any bag worn by a man. A bag worn by a man…hmmm….what’s so crazy about that idea? Nothing if you ask me; I mean men sometimes have just as many things to carry as us ladies do. Us ladies are usually toting around huge hobo bags filled with our necessities (cell phone, keys, cigarettes <I don’t support it in any way!> makeup bags, body lotion, tampons, body spray, floss, mirror, camera, Vogue magazine, hair brush, hair spray, hair balm, planners). I cannot imagine going anywhere without a bag, even if it’s to my dining hall downstairs to grab some quick take-out food (just like I can’t go anywhere without a coat of mascara). So why aren’t men allowed to do the same? Afterall, not everything fits in their jean pockets and sometimes their pants are too tight to fit a phone, lest they want to display a budge in their pants.

But of course there is a difference between a girl’s purse and a man’s bag. I think it’s pretty obvious to say that the following should be crossed off from a man’s options for bags:

* hobo bags

* totes

* clutches

* small over the shoulder bags

* anything with sequins, gem stones, chain mail, or too many gold zippers

* anything patent leather

* anything metallic

Basically, if it looks like it would belong in your girlfriend’s closet, don’t wear it (unless of course she kindly asks you to hold it while she’s trying on some clothes at the mall). But, if you’re lugging around more than just your wallet, keys, and cell, consider sporting a Phantom-Fashion approved bag for men.

Ben Sherman Messenger Bag, shown in Grey, $64 from Urban

Armani Exchange Wool Riveted Backpack, $59 (reg $88), from Armani Exchange

Fred Perry Deconstructed Shoulder Bag, 35 euros from Fred Perry












Diesel Hendrix Backpack, $90 from

Kenneth Cole Colombian Leather Messenger, $180 from

Ralph Lauren Blackwatch Cartridge Bag, $159 (reg $250), from Ralph Lauren

Unfortunately, I have spotted many men break the man bag rules. If you’re not sure what a man-purse felony is, refer to these celebrity mishaps, and you’ll get the picture:

Red Flag for Ronaldo

At least he matches well

Robert Downey Junior

Alert, Alert

Terrence not looking so Clutch

Really Snoop?? Really Dog??

Guys, if you want to play the handbag game, make sure you do it right to avoid looking foolish. But, really don’t be afraid to wear a bag, not only to classes or work, but for grocery shopping, a day in the city, or lunch. Just choose wisely, c’est tout!

(If you’re still wondering how to wear it right, don’t wear anything that resembles an “Indiana Jones Satchel”)

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