Friday, August 6, 2010

Murses 101: Four Types and Uses

The Murse: aka male handbag or man-purse
If you don't like the terminology - get over it. Murses have taken the world by storm and are definitely here to stay. If you're tired of losing things and forgetting your keys, wallet or passcard in the pair of pants you wore the other day - suck it up and get yourself a murse. It'll save you aggravation, time in the long run and I guarantee you'll never go back to being bag-less.

I've broken down the 4 main types of bags available for men and provided a few options at different price points.

The Messenger:
The messenger bag is one of the most versatile bags out there and comes in a variety of sizes. There is usually one main compartment accompanied by a few smaller ones that are useful for storing whatever would normally be shoved into your pockets. If you're in the market for an all purpose bag - this is definitely one you should consider. Also, if you plan on carrying heavier items, look out for some sort of shoulder support or padding that will help with the comfort factor.

The only thing I would be weary of when looking for a messenger is the main flap. If you're like me, I want easy access to whatever it is I'm stashing in my bag. That being said, the flap usually doesn't do it for me since you always have to hold it up while searching through your bag. In general, I'm more about convenience and try to opt for simpler closures like zippers, clasps or some sort of magnetic button - but to each his own. Go with what you feel comfortable with.
Canvas Messenger by Ben Sherman (Reg $89 - on sale for $45 @ Bluefly), Nylon Canvas Field Bag by Jack Spade ($198)
Mr. Postman by George, Gina & Lucy ($150-$200), Mini Messenger Shoulder Bag by Dior Homme ($1,200)

The Tote:
Once only thought of as an item used to stash your beach towel in, the tote has definitely grown in popularity over the years. It's definitely not for everyone but if you're into this style, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you do opt for a tote, I'd recommend carrying it by the handles versus the shoulder.
Canvas Strap Tote by J. Crew (on sale for $60), Tote Bag by The Brother Bray & Co. (available at Urban Outfitters for $88)
Soft Nylon Work Tote by Jack Spade ($159), Hamptons Washed Canvas Medium Weekend Tote by Coach ($298)

The Briefcase:
While not everyone needs a bag for work - if you do, a briefcase is what you want. Briefcases offer more structure and internal support than any of their counterparts which makes them ideal for storing laptops, files or papers. Keep in mind that briefcases tend to be on the pricier side of the spectrum, since the majority of them are made out of leather.
Durango Leather Port by Kenneth Cole ($298), Schiller Briefcase by Shipley & Halmos ($485)
Trudeau Bag by WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie ($1,050), Folder Travel Bag by Balenciaga ($1,595)

The Weekender:
The weekender is a great bag for light travel or if you need to carry something larger that wouldn't normally fit in one of the other types of bags. While some of these bag can also double as a gym bag - I'd be a bit careful if you opt for a leather piece since it can scuff or tear if you try to shove it into your locker (been there, done that).

In general, I would only recommend this style of bag if you have a true need for it - otherwise it'll likely end up collecting dust in your closet.
Bauhaus by Matt & Nat ($285), Country Weekender Bag by Ralph Lauren ($395)

Weekend Bag by Marc by Marc Jacobs ($558)

With all bags, it's important to remember the end purpose of the bag when taking into consideration which material to choose. If you plan on storing papers or other items that can get damaged by rain you might want to consider a more durable material like leather - or if you're going for something lightweight, canvas or nylon are good choices.

Bags are functional - plain and simple. That's why people carry them. They also double as an accessory and can enhance your overall look when done right. While bags are not necessarily the most affordable items in your wardrobe, they're great investments as they are something you can use everyday.

If you're looking to purchase a bag, always pick the style of bag first (e.g. messenger, tote, briefcase, etc.) based on your intended use (e.g. work, travel, everyday, etc.). Once you hammer out what type of bag you're looking for, then you can consider things like the color, aesthetic, and so forth.

On a side note, if you're in the market for a Ben Minkoff bag (covered in an earlier post) the line is set to launch sometime in November just before the holiday season.


Alan Li said...

I have a messenger bag for school and I love it. It's so big and it can carry all my stuff.:)

Evan said...

I'd hate to call it a Murse - but my BillyKirk is sexy as hell

Anonymous said...

loving the Shipley & Halmos briefcase!

Anonymous said...

Concise and straight to the point! Great post!

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