What do Frank Ocean, Ben Cobb, David Gandy, LeBron James, Prince Harry, David Beckham, and Timothée Chalamet have in common? They all made it to GQ Magazine’s list of the 50 best-dressed men of 2020.
Don’t follow men’s fashion? Yes, it’s actually a thing, and you’re more than welcome to jump on the bandwagon. Start by working on your accessories. You don’t even have to do much. The mere addition of a used Louis Vuitton bag to your ensemble can effectively elevate your style.
To help you become more dapper, follow this guide on men’s bags and some tips on when to use them.
1. Sling Bag and Fanny Pack
The sling bag is made of fabric and comes with a single, usually-thick strap for wearing the bag cross-body style. The bag is on the small side, pouch-like even. You wear it with the bag on your chest and the strap on your back, or you wear it in reverse. It looks taller than it is wide. It may have one main compartment and many pockets, or it may be divided into mini compartments.
A fanny pack or a belt bag looks like a sling bag, albeit perhaps thicker and differently orientated. It is wider than it is tall, almost cylindrical, with a single compartment or several mini compartments. Instead of wearing it on your chest, you wear it on your waist, like a belt.
Sling bags and fanny packs provide a convenient way to carry small accessories like your phone, cash, cards, keys, and other small valuables while shopping or exploring on a holiday. They are best paired with street, beach, or edgy clothes.
2. Messenger Bag
Messenger bags are your go-to hauliers. They first came to be during the 19th century, used by the horse-riding mail service crew. Thus, they are intentionally spacious and designed to be worn so they wouldn’t encumber horse-mounted mail carriers who had to ride swiftly for timely mail delivery.
Today, messenger bags remain true to their function, although they have more configurations than they had originally. They are capacious bags, typically with inner compartments and pockets both inside and outside, so they have more than enough space for your essentials, and then some.
Messenger bags come in a rectangular shape, wider than they are tall, although there are certainly taller versions. Typically, they have a single thick strap that you wear diagonally or cross-body style. The bag itself is designed to rest on the lower back.
Messenger bags are great for biking and cycling. Fabric messenger bags pair well with casual and casual office wear, although leather messenger bags work well with business casual wear.
This one needs no explanation. Backpacks are oblong-ish packs with two shoulder straps you wear on your shoulders, so the bag rests against your back.
Backpacks come in various styles, sizes and materials and can be used to complete a wide variety of looks. Generally speaking, they match well with casual wear. However, you can pair a lovely Louis Vuitton Palm Springs backpack in monogram canvas and black leather trim with smart office wear.
Satchels look similar to messenger bags, except they are made of leather. They typically have one long strap, but they can have two if they double up as a leather satchel backpack.
The satchel strap can be slung over the shoulder or worn diagonally, like a messenger bag. In either case, a satchel is designed to ride the hip.
A satchel goes great with business casual and formal wear, although it can still work with a casual look.
The briefcase is a flat, rectangular case designed to carry books and documents. These days, they also typically come with a cushioned compartment to hold a laptop or tablet.
Traditional briefcases have hard sides with a single thick handle and locks on either side of the handle. Other versions feature an envelope closure on the front, while modern iterations feature two handles and a zip closure that runs from one side to the other.
Briefcases are made of leather, and they pair well with business casual and formal wear.
6. Duffel Bag
The duffel is a cylindrical bag with feet at the bottom. For closure, a zipper on top runs the width of the bag. It has two handles for hand carrying, although the handles are often long enough to be comfortably thrown over or carried by the shoulders. It usually has no compartments inside, although it may have slim zip pockets outside.
A duffel can be made of canvas, polyester, leather, and even polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Fabric and PVC duffels can be used as gym bags or everyday carryalls. They pair well with casual, street and sportswear.
A leather or monogrammed canvas duffel — e.g., the stylish Louis Vuitton Sac Souple 45 — pairs exceptionally well with smart and business casual wear.
7. Weekender Bag
The weekender bag is simply a big duffel designed to be used for travel. It has enough space to carry one or two changes of clothing, toiletries and other overnight or weekend travel essentials. Even so, there are weekender bags, like the Louis Vuitton monogram Sirius, that look far more rectangular than cylindrical.
Weekenders usually have a long strap (typically detachable) for convenient, over-the-shoulder carrying. Weekenders pair well with casual and smart casual attire.
8. Tote Bag
Totes are tall and deep, non-compartmentalized, carryall bags that may or may not have a top closure. They have large parallel handles on the sides for shoulder or hand-carrying. One may also hang the handles on the elbow, but this mode of carrying is uncommon among men.
In fact, totes are not something people commonly associate with men, but they are perfect genderless functional accessories. You will love them for their size and the convenience of having enough space to carry everything you need. Finally, they can help you make quite a statement.
Depending on the material, a tote bag can go with almost anything: casual, street, edgy, smart casual, and business casual. A Louis Vuitton Cabas Alto bag in monogram canvas should make an excellent tote for all occasions.
Accessorizing for Style
Aside from bags, there are other accessories you can use to build your personal styles.
The key is to be thoughtful and intentional about choosing the tie, watch, belt, jewellery, shades, shoes, and other accessories you’re wearing. Even your perfume says something about your taste, so be sure to pick only the best men’s perfumes.
Follow this general rule when accessorizing. Pick a high-quality accessory that looks good, suits your look and fits your purpose.