Men And Their Bags: The Work Bag
November 9, 2010 1 Comment
I can remember my first day on the job, working for the government as a consultant. My welcome package included a Windows PC laptop (yuk), complete with a Revenge of the Nerds styled black ballistic nylon laptop bag with countless clips and shackles hanging off of it. The laptop I had to learn to live with, but I instantly tossed the government-issue laptop bag, shackles and straps whipping away at me as I plunged it into the vacuous depths of my filing cabinet. It was swiftly replaced with a sophisticated looking Tumi I had just purchased in Las Vegas.
It’s just a bag you say? Why not toss the PC out instead? Why were you even working for the government in the first place? All valid questions, except for one – it’s not just a bag. Once again (see my post on vintage wear) the women get this, most of the men are still learning. Your briefcase, laptop bag, attaché case, portfolio bag, or any other variation thereof which I will collectively refer to as a work bag, is a style accessory. A man’s work bag is part of his overall attire and communicates his personal style. A work bag says a lot about who he is, what he does, and where he’s going.
So what should a professional carry? Think of your work bag as you would a pair of black lace-ups or your overcoat. It’s a fashion staple (more on this in a future post) that will cost you a bit and will be expected to go the distance both in durability and style.
Refrain from purchasing any kind of backpacks or backpack hybrids – they make you look like a hitchhiker or student. Unless you work in a very casual environment, I would try staying away from the messenger bag. There are portfolio bags and briefcases that have removable straps which you can wear like messenger bags, which go better with a suit. Also, you don’t want a stiff rigid rectangular briefcase that makes you look like Inspector Gadget, or a baggy beat up antique that makes you look like doctor on house call or a nutty professor. Aluminum briefcases? You’re kidding right? Leave those for Al-Qaeda. Finally, keep away form work bags with corporate logos (we know you went to a trade show and got it for free, good for you) or designer bags with logos slapped all over them. You need “LV” on your bag only once to make it a Louis Vuitton. Having thousands of LVs doesn’t make it a thousand times more Luis Vuitton. If anything, people will think it’s a fake.
Stick to soft leather work bags like the ones in the photo above (detailed on my Facebook page) in black or brown. A minimum of two compartments, one for your laptop and one or more for paperwork is ideal. A lock and removable shoulder strap is also important. I look for adequate cushioning for my MacBook and easy access compartments for my cell phone, business cards, and pens as well.
Hope this helps gentlemen. Please make sure you know the measurements of your laptop prior to purchasing your work bag so that you save yourself the aggravation of making a second trip.