MESSENGER BAGS: CLASSIEST OF MEN FASHION WEARS
Messenger bags for men have been around for over one-hundred and fifty years. From the time of World War II they’ve stuck around and become a fashionable yet practical modern accessory for every-day life.
A messenger bag is a medium-sized bag with a long strap, worn over the shoulder. Sometimes called carrier bags, they’re typically made of canvas or leather with the open top covered by a large flap. The design itself is an incredible cross between a purse, backpack and briefcase. Especially popular among bicycle commuters they can be worn with the bag resting on your back, well out of the way. Other people prefer to wear them against a hip or at thigh-length. In addition to the bag itself, the across-the-chest strap can be a stylish statement.
These bags got their start in the mid-19th century in pure practicality and have made a multi-generation journey into designer style.
Messenger bags for men were first created for pony express riders, postal workers, and bicycle messengers well over a century ago. Their design made them comfortable for long trips and good for a variety of small ‘cargo’ items. A tradition of durability was established right away, and continues today even in designer-fashion bags. The early designs evolved a bit as they were widely used in the Second World War in a variety of ways. Used by dispatch riders and other carriers, they were also often standard issue for paratroopers and infantry men. Perhaps their most memorable use was to carry supplies for medics. You’ve probably seen them in war movies, and many contemporary bags have the Red Cross symbol as part of this tradition.
Shortly after the war the design was adapted to be used by telephone and electric power utility linemen, and was called lineman’s bags or carryalls. Several decades later in the 1980s John Peters at the Manhattan Portage Company updated the design for messenger bags for men once again specifically for bicycle messengers. His designs featured modern materials, a more contemporary style, and practical touches such as safety reflectors.
Over the last decade they’ve been adopted by the wider public, resulting in an explosion of designer styles. The bags quickly became fashion icons, their popularity starting in major commuter cities such as New York, San Francisco, and London. Despite becoming a fashion accessory, their primary purpose remains practical. Both form and function have become somewhat specialized for different users, including students and office workers. Most recently they’ve included special compartments for laptop PCs, tablet computers, and cell phones. Now common among city workers in lieu of briefcases, messenger bags for men are also increasingly popular among college students, replacing the ubiquitous backpack. The stunning ranges of messenger bag for men have made them even more popular, standing out as the latest trend in menswear. They are as much about panache and style as they are about utility and functionality. They are also equally fashionable, going with formal, casual or semi formal dressing.
The original leaders were companies such as Jack Spade, Ossington Bags, and John Vervatos. Now days you can find messenger bags from designer names such as Ben Sherman, David King and Kenneth as well as recognized fashion companies like Fossil, Rothco, and Timbuk2.