The rise of the ‘meterosexual’ in recent generations has always raised the question of the man-bag. Is it a do or a don’t?

As usual a number of people were asked their opinions on this subject. My favourite answer went something along the lines of this:

‘I think that they are mainly unnecessary. One difference between the sexes is that women are mysterious whereas men are blunt and out-there. One method for women to stay mysterious is by using their bags. They don’t like people to look in their bags, especially men, because everything that they need is in there. Men don’t need to hide anything, what do they need to put in a bag? There is no ‘time of month’ and no need to re-touch make-up.’

This idea works for a night out, but how is a lad supposed to lug his library books around town?

Women have quite a spectrum to choose from. Like shoes, the choice is quite literally endless. For men though, does it differ?

Popular opinion hailed styles from the practical to the uber-stylish and everything in between.

The practical can be seen in the giant rucksacks, sported mostly by geologists and science enthusiasts. I know many a geologist who will whip out a rock or two out when searching for books. The weight is dispersed across the shoulders so there’s less chance of putting your back out. The smaller versions are more or less acceptable I feel in polite society as well as being easy to store under lecture seats and capable of getting an essay’s worth of reading in. But recently the addition of a bright blue nylon number to an outfit consisting of green cords, tweed jacket and cricket jumper demonstrated that a rucksack is not always the correct item. I’d personally stick to an inconspicuous black version as a garish colour teamed with the lumpy silhouette that comes with it would ruin any outfit.

The standard man-bag around the streets of St Andrews seemed to be the ever faithful satchel slung over the shoulder. In canvas or leather the style is simple, stylish and practical. The leather ones are the most popular and mostly appear with a vintage look. Personally I’d choose a brown version as black resembles a briefcase far too much for my liking. But if you wish to inject more colour into your accessories a faded red or green would complement most sartorial preferences.

My current favourite man-bag I’ve seen in the past few weeks was what looked like a pig-skin laptop bag. As man-bags go, it was very similar to a hand-bag, but just so gorgeous, and suited the dapper young gentleman perfectly. In beautiful tan leather it seems to demonstrate the St Andrews way of doing man-bags: timeless glamour laden with style.


Millicent Wilkinson

Image – Millicent Wilkinson