Top 5 Bag Styles for Men

February 15th, 2012

Choosing a man bag can be confusing and intimidating.

As with any element of style, the bag you carry should be functional and appropriate for your lifestyle and fit comfortably and naturally within your personal style.

Here, I broke down my five favorite styles of bags for men, in no particular order.

1. The Briefcase

If your lifestyle calls for you to carry a computer and/or documents, this is your best friend.

For a casual business outfit I like a more rugged canvas briefcase. It looks just as good with a shirt and tie as it does with a sweater and jeans. The alternative is a messenger bag, which in my opinion is less convenient and looks more feminine.

If your day-to-day is a little more corporate, go with a sharp leather briefcase that can keep up with your power suits. Like this one:

  • Aviator shades by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Striped Rugby Shirt by Michael Bastian ·
  • Navy washed cotton shirt by Steven Alan ·
  • Brown donegal tweed suit trousers ·
  • Canvas briefcase by Filson ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker ·
  • Tan suede desert boots by John Varvatos

2. The Medium-Sized Duffle



For the gym-gooers to keep their gear.

For the light packers who only carry-on.

For anyone, like me, who lives in a big city and gets around all day without a car. It’s the trunk for us on the subway.




White Broadcloth Shirt

  • Navy/Black windowpane suit ·
  • Black Wool Tie by Alexander Olch ·
  • Black leather/suede spectator wingtip shoes by Barker Black ·
  • Black shrunken leather duffle bag by Dan Trepanier x Frank Clegg
  • · White Dress Shirt by Hugo Boss

3. The Tote

For those who are hauling supplies – books, notepads, art stuff, camera equipment, ipods, lunch, etc.

This style looks the most feminine of the bunch (especially in a smaller size) so I recommend sticking with a rugged fabric and wearing it in.

I find myself grabbing this tote often because it’s so easy – I can throw anything and everything in one big compartment but keep items that need easy-access separate in the front pockets.

It’s also nice that the handles are long enough to wear over the shoulder, as shown here:


4. The Backpack

For the casual guys, for the students, for the bike riders.

Hands free, no fuss.


  • Beige linen cardigan by Club Monaco ·
  • Brown tank top by Hanes ·
  • Olive cargo pants by JBrand ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Tan chukkas by Scarpe di Bianco ·
  • Canvas backpack by Filson

5. The Carry-On

For the travelers.

There is plenty of variety here. As with any style selection, you should find what works best for you.

We are men. We are practicality-oriented and have specific preferences, especially when we travel.

The most practical (and durable) luggage is a wheeled hardcase (like a classic Globe-Trotter, for example). It protects the shape of your merchandise and lightens the burden of carrying.

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never been a wheeled luggage guy. Maybe it’s because I’m a notoriously light packer (believe it or not), or maybe it’s from hauling so many bails of hay on the farm as a kid, or maybe it’s because I studied psychology… There is something much more optimistic and satisfying about packing only what I need and carrying it with me rather than packing everything I want and dragging it behind me.

Nevertheless, this is about the biggest big I carry. I could pack for 2 weeks in this thing (it’s all about versatility), and any longer than that I would find a laundromat.


Chestnut Corduroy Suit

Blue USA Oxford Shirt

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.