Men’s Bags: When, Where, and Why

Men’s bags have been around for thousands of years but it’s only been in the last 50 years or so that they’ve seen a revival, and it’s becoming fashionable to carry them again. This is largely due to the increasing number of things we tend to carry around. Whether it’s a new cell phone that’s three times the size of our old flip phones or our work laptops, we have more things and need a stylish way to carry them.

Carrying a bag may also send a subtle psychological message. Dr. Benjamin Wild argues in Parisian Gentleman that carrying a bag is an intentional handicap akin to a peacock’s feathers. (These ostentatious feathers are a functional detriment to the peacock but act as a signal that the peacock is of such fine stock that it has biological resources to spare.) In the case of strapless bags, reducing by half our manual utility could be a signal to others that our resources are such that we can afford to temporarily give up the use of one of our hands. The analogy also works when we consider financial resources instead of biological ones since some bags can cost over $1,000.

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