Rare is the professional traveler today who is not carrying a laptop, tablet, an assortment of cords, and more, in addition to basic essentials, such as business cards, pens, and notepads. With all of this in tow, the need for a great bag is more pressing than ever. For the sophisticated traveler, the only thing that will truly do is an attractive and durable leather bag.
The task of finding the right bag is of particular concern for men who, for reasons of professional image, can’t risk carrying what could be perceived as a “man purse.” However, with a careful examination of trends in men’s fashion, the smart shopper can make an informed and style-conscious decision about the perfect bag to compliment a well-tailored suit.
When choosing a messenger bag, one of the first questions you should consider is where this bag is going. Will you travel with it a lot? What kind of travel? If you commute by car and rarely fly for business, a bag that goes over the shoulder but not across your body is adequate. On the other hand, if you’ll be hiking through airports, running for connections, or even spending a lot of time standing on buses or subways, a bag that sits well across the body is a must have.
For men, Gabriel Weil at Fashionbeans advises that any bag intended to be carried across your body be selected with an eye to strap length. For a professional look, the bag should sit no lower than the waist. Your paperboy days are long behind you, and it should look like it.
Some other travel related concerns you should consider when choosing your bag are durability and method of closure. If you expect your bag will be banged around a lot on crowded trains or going through security, then it’s worth investing in something with solid padding to protect your technology, as well as strong stitching and closures. Additionally, if you have to take a laptop in and out of your bag while going through airport security, a bag with simple closures that won’t leave you digging around is ideal.
Beyond these details, the main considerations when it comes to choosing a bag to travel with are size and organization. You want something big enough to carry all of your work travel necessities, but that won’t encourage you to jam in a bunch of extra things you don’t need. Your bag should also have a treated, separate pocket for holding pens. The last thing you want is ink leaking all over your new leather bag.
There is, of course, a difference between a standard laptop bag and a leather messenger bag, but if you’re going to be carrying a laptop in your professional leather gear, you’re going to want something that combines the best of both worlds. In particular, you’ll want to look for a leather bag especially equipped with a laptop pocket. It’s not enough that the bag just have a pocket big enough for your laptop. Rather, the pocket should be for exactly the size laptop that you have. A pocket that is too big will allow the computer to shift too much.
On the flip side, choosing a leather messenger bag is not quite the same as choosing a laptop bag that can be carried messenger style, or any other casual messenger-type bag. Rather, leather has certain qualities that need to be understood. The first thing you should understand about leather before you purchase a bag is the nature of leather as a material.
Once it is removed from the cow, leather can be split into two or three layers, says leather specialist Bill Amberg. What that means is that only the top layer has the strength and resistance of the original skin. Depending on the manufacturer, however, the second layer may still be used. The top layer will wrinkle in a way reminiscent of human skin and will have a nicer texture. The second layer, when used, is typically treated and painted to create a new surface. If you see a sharp crease on your bag, it likely means it was made from this lower quality leather.
The other major detail to pay attention to when choosing a leather bag is the hardware. Although you may feel like leather is already heavy enough, and you would prefer to cut some weight by using light, pressed metal hardware, resist the temptation. Pressed metal will break and bend easily, whereas sturdier cast metal indicates the kind of high quality construction you should be looking for in your leather bag.
Matt Allinson, a fashion guru with the site Fashionbeans, offers a three step rubric for assessing the qualities of a bag. Indeed, according to Allinson, the three criteria of “practicality, functionality, and masculinity” are the necessary considerations for all menswear. In many ways, leather messenger bags do an excellent job in the practicality and functionality criteria. Certainly some poorly made bags will fail in these areas, but a quality leather bag should pass with flying colors.
But what about this masculinity criteria? With the changing fads in men’s bags of late, it’s arguable that the messenger bag style has a leg up on this one. Compared to the men’s tote, for instance, the messenger bag certainly stands out on the basis of masculinity. On the other hand, the folio, while perhaps more manly, doesn’t have the necessary functionality for traveling with a laptop. It may be great for moving between offices within a building or if you’ve reduced your load to just a tablet, but functionally it can’t hold a candle to the many jobs a messenger bag can perform.
Ultimately, if you’re seeking that prime trio of practicality, functionality, and masculinity, it’s worth taking a look at Zoomlite’s leather messenger bag selection. Zoomlite is a leading purveyor of quality leather bags to complete any look. Each Zoomlite leather bag is made only from top grain leather, i.e. the top layer.
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