Greetings Gentle Readers, Sartorially Savvy here with this week’s advice on how to stylishly “Keep Up…” alright, alright, now we know a few of you have been salivating at the thought of this week’s column… So, we won’t delay too much longer. Indeed it’s true. We’re going to be discussing the all important bag this week… But before you get too too excited, we’re going to break our usual mantra and dedicate this first one to the fellas. Reason being, ladies, you know as well as we do, the discussion of your bags could go on for days, so, we’re going to save that for Part II. It simply would not be fair to try to combine the genders on this one, unless you all wanted to read a doctoral dissertation on bags… We didn’t think so. That being said, while this may be directed towards the fellas, ladies, PLEASE take note; reading this piece will give you essential gift ideas for the men in your life, and if you’re a “keep it simple/on the go” lady, then this might serve as something applicable to your own steez. We’ll give you 3 classic (And a wild card for the those willing to strike out on a style limb) bag shapes/styles that are easy to fit into your daily lives, and come in enough variations as to be able to adapt to current trends, and your own personal styles. Let’s get into it, shall we?
The Duffel: Duffel's come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most are square, circular, or a hybrid of the two. They also have two handles on the opposing sides for your hands, zips down the middle to open, may have pockets and pouches on the inside and out, and many also have a shoulder strap. You’ve likely had a duffel bag of some sort since a very young age, think about it, what were you carrying your Transformers and X-Men in to those sleepovers with your homeboys?!? Lowkey, you were probably carrying your Transformers in your Transformers duffel bag…Now that we’ve grown up past the days of trading Wolverine for Cyclops and our tastes have matured a bit, it’s time our duffel's should as well. To truly “Keep Up…” invest in a leather or high quality canvas duffel, it’ll serve you excellently on those quick weekend trips, longer excursions, and just jaunts across the city where you need carry a few more belongings than usual. It’ll last a life time. There’s a reason good duffel's are often passed down from generation to generation. Because of their size, the duffle isn’t your everyday bag, don’t treat it as such. You shouldn’t be carrying enough with you everyday that you need to use it everyday. And if in your line of work or life, you DO need to carry a duffel with you everyday, then make sure it’s a good, quality one, such as the leather or canvas we listed above. It’ll take the wear and tear of everyday use better than most other fibers. You can cop the duffel by your favorite designer for a bit of style and flair, or visit a classic luggage spot (Cadillac Luggage in Detroit has some EXCELLENT options) to peep some other options. If you get the duffel in leather, opt to have it engraved for a personalized touch and an air of sophistication.
The Book-bag: Just like the duffel, you’ve likely had a book-bag, backpack, knapsack, whatever you choose to call it, or two in your day as well. Back in the day, we utilized them for our Trapper Keepers (Remember Trapper Keepers?!?!?!, don’t act like we’re the only ones!!!), pencils, calculators, and text books in. That’s not the book-bags we’re talking about here… In the same realm as the grown up duffel is the grown up backpack. Save the Jansport’s for the kids, we’re “Keeping Up…” here. A nice black or brown leather book-bag will keep you on the right side of the “Swagger of a college kid…” vs. “8th grade Pre-Algebra,” debate. In addition to leather, the durable canvas option is also viable here. We’d recommend that you all stay away from the designer monogram backpacks, it usually just comes off as “I’m trying too hard…” Feel free to cop the designer option, just make sure that it’s subtle. Use your book-bags when heading to Bus Boy’s & Poet’s in D. C. to check out some ill artists AND do get some work done. Throw in your lap top, your copies of Our Kind of People, The Souls of Black Folk, and Song of Solomon with plenty of room to spare for the new issues of GQ and Details. The book bag also makes a good carry-on for plane trips, almost every book bag can fit into the overhead compartment of a plane or underneath the seat in front of you.
The Messenger/Soft brief case: Fairly new in the spectrum of shapes of available bags, the messenger is like a hybrid of the classic mail-bag silhouette and a much slimmer brief case. It came about, quite literally, for messengers to put documents/binders/folders into to courier to their destinations. And now, like so many things that originated from a specific purpose, it’s part of the style lexicon. Most messengers are about 5-7in wide and have a flap that comes across the top to cover the contents of the bag. Filled with pockets, compartments and secret stash places, messengers also have long strap that is usually slung across the body or used as a shoulder strap. Some higher end models also have a handle atop that enables the bag to double as a soft brief case of sorts. Following the aforementioned theme of the other bags, we’re not talking about rockin’ the mesh messenger that you did in halls of your high school; cop these in high quality canvas and leathers too. The reason for this is it that it ensures durability and also is a far more sophisticated and stylish option for its owner. This one it’s okay to rock the designer label, as the messenger is automatically a more grow up option than the book bag. A word to the wise about messengers: A book bag it is not, you’re not going to get the kind of space in these that you would in a book bag or duffel. Utilize your space wisely, keep to your essential possessions; a lap top, charger, magazine or two, charger for the celly, and a few other knick knacks. You don’t want your bag to be overstuffed or look sloppy. That defeats the entire purpose of the sophistication of leather or high quality canvas.
The WILD Card
The Satchel: Most of us have seen a satchel before, and not known what it was. The best way we like to describe it is an oversized doctor’s bag. You all remember the kind of bag Dr. Huxtable used to carry with his stethoscope, thermometer, and whatever else he kept in there? Looking almost like a barn with handles, a satchel is pretty much that, just a little bigger, sometimes bordering on the size of some duffels. Satchels have two handles for carrying and collapse close just like those doctor’s bags, they usually have zippers as well. There’s a vintage cognac colored leather satchel sitting in our home in Detroit that’s almost as old as we are that mother dear just won’t give us, our last name branded into it and everything!!! It’s quite beastly. We might just have to make away with it and fail to mention it to her… But we digress… The satchel is bad enough for every day use, but you likely won’t need the space it contains, a notable exception to this is if you’re on the yard at Morgan, Howard, or another HBCU (after all, if you’re “Keeping Up…” you’re at an HBCU lol… We still have love for our friends who attend(ed) non-HBCUs), the satchel is a VERY stylish alternative to the book bags your peers are likely carrying. Hit the yard at 12 on Monday and you’re sure to catch an eye or two. Otherwise, save the satchel for weekend trips, road trips, and vay-kays. And don’t go trying to find a cognac colored leather satchel either!!! J/k. The same rule applies here Gentle Readers, leathers and canvas. We want you to have these bags down to the next generation, give them a head start in the race to “Keep Up…” stylishly.
Ladies… We got you. SOON. We promise. Until next time…
“Fashions fade, but style is eternal.” ~ Yves Saint Laurent