Backpacks vs. Messenger Bags for Men

 

Bags come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you know which bag is right for you? In this episode of Style Tips for the Everyday Guy, Alison and Eric work through the considerations between backpacks and messenger bags for men. Is a backpack or a messenger right for you? It depends.

Find out which bag is right for you - the backpack or the messenger bag from your own personal stylists at Cladwell.com.

As a general rule, backpacks are going to be seen as a bit more casual and are often used in more utilitarian occasions. Whereas messenger bags tend to be associated with briefcases and therefore are seen as a bit more formal and used in professional situations.

Another general rule is that messenger bags are looked as being a bit more style forward. However, there are several more styles of backpacks today that aren't your typical school backpack with that book bag look. If you are in college, you could kind of go either way. If you are hauling a lot of books, maybe you still want the functionality of a backpack. And if you want to look a bit more stylish and are carrying less, go for the messenger bag.

OVERVIEW:

Bags come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you know which bag is best for you? In this episode of Style Tips for the Everyday Guy, Alison and Eric work through the considerations between backpacks and messenger bags for men.

Is a backpack or a messenger right for you? It depends.

As a general rule, backpacks are going to be seen as a bit more casual and are often used in more utilitarian occasions. Whereas messenger bags tend to be associated with briefcases and therefore are seen as a bit more formal and used in professional situations.

Another general rule is that messenger bags are looked as being a bit more style forward. However, there are several more styles of backpacks today that aren't your typical school backpack with that book bag look.

If you are in college, you could kind of go either way. If you are hauling a lot of books, maybe you still want the functionality of a backpack. And if you want to look a bit more stylish and are carrying less, go for the messenger bag.

You'll also want to consider the material of the bag. A leather messenger bag or a heavy canvas messenger or backpack are going to last you a long time. Since you could potentially use the bag every day, this is an item worth investing it - similar to shoes.

Video Transcript:

Eric:                 Backpack or messenger bag? How do I know which one is right for me?  (buffer) Hey guys! Welcome back to Style Tips for the Everyday Guy by Cladwell.com, where you can get your free personal road map to dress better. I'm Eric.

Alison:           I am Alison.

Eric:                 Today we're talking about backpacks versus messenger bags versus briefcases as well. We're going to walk through the differences between them and how to pick out which one's best for you.

We got a question from one of you guys, Austin B. wrote in and asked: what would you choose as a college student? A messenger bag or backpack? We're going to answer that question and we're going to kind of work through different scenarios in life as well, when it might be best. Allison start us off, just walk us through what are the differences between the different kind of men's bags you could have?

What are the differences between men's bags?

Alison:           Backpacks as most people know, were originally created for functionality. Mostly for school or a carry all that will comfortably fit on your back. Originally the design of those really had nothing to do with style. I think today those are moving more into a style forward, like a trend.

Eric:                 There are some more style forward backpacks today?

Alison:           Yes. Absolutely.

Then along with that, to accompany having a carry all that was more stylish you have the briefcase which most people, you picture your dad's old briefcase. It's basically-

Eric:                 Right.

Alison:           ... a leather box-

Eric:                 Yes.

Alison:           … with a lot of structure. Today that has kind of, that structure has softened up a little bit. Then you've added a shoulder strap which is where you get the messenger bag. That's kind of the trendier more fashion forward alternative.

What occasions are right for backpacks and messenger bags?

Eric:                 Okay. Is one more appropriate for certain occasions than another? Let's say I'm a college student or I've got a job in the workforce, which one, is one more important in one situation than the other?

Alison:           As a generalization, backpacks are definitely going to be more casual. So more appropriate for school or somewhere where maybe the looks don't matter quite as much.

Eric:                 Okay.

Alison:           Messenger bags or briefcases are going to be more formal, more appropriate for professional situations. Like we just mentioned there's kind of been a blur of lines between those; you can find more formal backpacks now and you can find more casual messenger bags now.

Which is more stylish?

Eric:                 Right. We did a casual poll of our office here and it's a casual workspace. We've got a mix of both, we have messenger bags, we have backpacks, and then I went into the development team, and Andrew, one of our developers said, "You're walking into backpack lairs." He said, "Backpacks are to developers as cargo shorts are to developers." That's a fair point. Moving on from there, can I say one is actually more stylish than the other?

Alison:           Typically you're going to get the messenger or the briefcase style is a little bit more fashion forward.

Eric:                 Okay.

Alison:           That's not to say you can't find a clean or nice looking leather even backpack, those exist now, or a really clean canvas.

They have some really structured backpacks too, kind of a backpack with a framing to it, but it still has the two shoulder straps.

Eric:                 Yep.

Alison:           As a generalization I would say yes, the messenger bag, but there's-

Eric:                 There's a lot of versatility there.

Alison:           Yes, absolutely.

Does it matter how I wear the bag?

Eric:                 Okay. What about wearing them? Does it matter? We were talking about back in the 90's Chris asked me if you remember the time when it was totally uncool to wear a double strap backpack? Am I going to wear one strap? Same with the messenger bag, you can cross it over versus on your shoulder. Does it matter how I actually wear the bag?

Alison:           It's personal preference really. I don't see any issues with wearing both straps of your backpack. I know what you mean, that has been not the look in the past, but I think people are moving away from that. If you're comfortable wearing both straps go for it, if you'd rather do the one, that's fine.

As far as the messenger bag I would say it's definitely always safe to do the across the shoulder for men having a messenger bag. You can do the one shoulder, the thing is make sure your strap is long enough so your bag is hanging more by your hip-

 

Eric:                 Yeah.

Alison:           ... or below your hip, versus up higher.

Eric:                 You're getting much closer to a man purse-

Alison:           A little bit, yeah.

Eric:                 ... in that area. Let it hang down a little bit lower. So it really depends on what you're using it for, right?

Alison:           Yes.

Eric:                 Some of us in the office, Blake actually, he has a backpack for when he's riding his bike into work, or when he goes skateboarding, he said, and a messenger bag for when you need it for more stylish situations. If you can you can even do both, and just use the one in the more or less formal situation, right?

Alison:           Yeah, absolutely.

Any other rules to follow when buying a bag?

Eric:                Are there some general other style rules I need to know when I'm buying either a backpack or a messenger bag?

Alison:           As a good rule to follow, neutrals are going to be a good color because you're going to get the most versatility out of it. Browns, blacks, navy, grey, tans even, those are going to match with a lot of different outfits. Which is the point of a bag.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Alison:           If you have a bag you're probably going to use it every day, so you want it to go with a lot. Leather is always a good fabric that lasts long, it looks great. Canvas as well, a heavy canvas, more so for backpacks probably, also going to last you a long time.

Eric:                 Yes.

Alison:           Again, bags, you're going to use it frequently, if you find a good bag then you want to carry it every day-

Eric:                 Right.

Alison:           ... you're going to carry a lot in it. I would say don't be afraid to invest a little bit more money into it. Just so you know it's going to last you long and you can get years out of it.

WHAT ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE BAG?

Eric:                 In terms of investment and then size, maybe size is one other question I have, because a lot of us, we're carrying around a big investment if we're carrying around our laptops in our bags-

Alison:           Yeah, absolutely.

Eric:                 ... and so you want something that's going to have a little bit more support for your laptop in case you drop it, or anything like that. Is there a size that gets too big or too small when it comes to the bag?

Alison:           I think a laptop size and fitting a few books in with the laptop is the typical size for a messenger bag.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Alison:           If you're getting too much bigger than that and you know you need to carry around a lot more, then maybe you do need a backpack. Just because if it gets to the point where you're carrying a duffle bag that's like a whole other-

Eric:                 Yes.

Alison:           ... category.

Eric:                 Yeah.

Alison:           Keep the messenger bag fairly small-

Eric:                 You don't want to have it be oversized.

Alison:           Exactly, yeah.

RECAP:

Eric:                 Ultimately, guys it comes down to who you are, what kind of style preferences you have, and what you're using it for.

Alison:           Yeah.

Eric:                 If you need a little bit more functionality, you might want to lean towards a backpack, something you can put on both shoulders and go around, go hiking, whatever. If you want to look a little bit more stylish typically, that's going to be in the messenger bag briefcase category, though there are some more stylish backpacks that are out there today.

Alison:           Yeah.

Eric:     All right, well thanks Alison for joining us today. Guys I hope this was helpful for you, in terms of picking which bag you want to have. If you like this video give us a thumbs up, if you haven't yet, go check out Cladwell.com where you can get your free personal road map to dress better. Thanks so much for watching, we'll see you next time.


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