The Man Clutch: A Purse By Any Other Name?
February 23, 2011 1 Comment
What’s in a name? That which we call a murse, mlutch, pochette, document wallet, male clutch or purse by any other name, should still not sound and look the same? How feminine you say? No f***ing way? Well, let’s hold that thought for a minute.
It may shock you to learn that this little leather carrier and concealer of valuables, was actually first used by men and not women. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs show men wearing purses around the waist and the Bible specifically identifies Judas Iscariot as a purse carrier. A sign you couldn’t trust the guy right? Before the advent of pockets, it was common in the 14th and 15th centuries for both men and women to carry purses attached to their medieval girdles. During the 16th and 17th centuries purses continued along unisex lines until the 18th century, where they became an accessory exclusively devoted to women.
So what gives? Why are designers making pint-sized briefcases, purses, and clutches for men all of a sudden? Like all trends, they usually don’t happen overnight. They start in places like Milan in 2009, with designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and Prada and their SS10 collections – maybe earlier. As odd as this sounds, I’m crediting the ‘Ghetto Fashionista’ for one of the earliest posts back in December 2006 that featured Terrance Howard and his man purse, which was in fact is a clutch (no shoulder strap). Male fashion bloggers We Could Grow Up Together, My Fabulous Bag, and My Many Bags have endorsed the male clutch since 2009, as did our local Toronto Star newspaper who named it an official trend for SS10. Point being, it’s been kicking around for some time now. FW11 is no exception as Gucci once again featured male clutches on the runway during Milan Men’s Fashion Week last month. French GQ has gone as far as to name the Louis Vuitton’s pochette as one of its 50 Essential [Paris] Fashion Week Accessories.
There’s no doubt that the trend is building momentum, more so in Asia and Europe than in North America. Question is, is it kosher and will it become commonplace among men? Personally, I think that a pared down version of a women’s styled clutch or purse won’t work for North American men. However, something closer to a mini-briefcase or longer flat document carrier like what Gucci and LV have come out with just might do the trick. I have to admit guys, I’m sick of stuffing my pockets full of crap like my keys, iPhone, wallet, business card holder, loose change, and sunglasses. Perhaps the man clutch’s time has come. Have your say anonymously: