When it comes to backpacks, bags, clutches and wallets, guys tend to think only blues, blacks, camo and greys. There are literally thousands of colors out in nature and it’s time that guys get on board. There isn’t anything wrong with the aforementioned colors, but I’d like guys to start broadening their horizons. In the picture above, the bags are divided into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter along the back row. On the bar stools and along the right hand side are what are considered neutral colors. That is, colors that can be carried in any season, all year round, grays, tans and whites.
Let’s Talk Bags
Manufacturers and retail tell men the only colors they like are black, brown, camo green and gray. There’s nothing inherently wrong with basic colors but I’d like designers of bags to start introducing men to other colors that are out there. How about oranges, reds and yellows? There are shades and tones of those colors that manufacturers could be using. They are really underestimating men and what they would be willing to carry, in my humble opinion.
These days men like to carry more than a wallet. I know the basics I carry are two smartphones, insulin pens, a thin wallet, a keychain and my tub of carmex. Other men, according to polls, questionnaires on men’s magazines and tech site Q&A’s, carry headphones, music technology (unrelated to their phones), umbrella, (sometimes) workout clothes, coffee, sports drinks, water bottles and travel mugs, computers (and accessories), books and/or ereaders. These are some of the items that men have stated they carry with them.
Where To Find Them.
Generally, I looked on Amazon, Ebay and Poshmark. Amazon and Ebay are motivated sellers, usually shipping within two business days and delivery is usually within a week. They both can have bargains, discounts and sales. Poshmark gave me a bit of trouble, discussed at length in a previous post here on brickoneil.com. But, to be succinct, sellers have five days to ship out your purchase, if they do at all. And they are not obligated to accept your purchase. Shipping can take 10-15 days at the most and most sellers adhere to this. But, I will say, the bags are better than average for previously used and sometimes sellers will offer sales.
On Amazon I bought most of the smaller hand held bags and the larger totes. Below I mention the smaller bags by name. Amazon sells my favorite leather manufacturer, Piel Leather. I love their ‘Naked Leather’ items, in mostly tans, chocolates and a few in navy, red and yellow. When on Amazon, check out their “Amazon Warehouse” retail reseller. I have found and received mostly brand new bags, some still in original boxes. And if you have Prime, you get your purchase within a week. Ebay has been fantastic to me. They ask their sellers to ship out your purchase within two business days and delivery can take up to five days. I can live with that. Read my reviews on Amazon for my Piel Leather (and other) purchases. https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AFAN3JH3B2OYV4VFWSVMHO53VJ7Q?preview=true
Handheld: Even with the basics I stated above, they can be too bulky for pockets in pants. My pants tend to fall off my narrow hips with the pockets too full. The smallest bags I found to carry the basics are the 8.5-9.5 inch by 5.5-6.5 inch bags. On Amazon, where I found them, they are called clutches. Now, don’t let a term or title turn you off-clutches are more unisex these days. I like unadorned, basic and plain bags to carry. I’m not fond of attached accessories, bling or designs on bags (there are, of course, exceptions). On the larger bags, hobos, totes, I do attach a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer with a carabiner on the outside metal where the handles/cross body strap is located.
You’ll have to start looking in the Women’s sections of eretail and brick and mortar stores. On Amazon, look for names such as gostwo, artwell, lecxci, asdssry, the ones I bought. On Ebay and Poshmark, check out Charming Charlie small clutches. Others I have are made by Piel Leather and Yaluxe. There are many colors, price ranges and sizes available, mine range from 11.99 to 65.00. These basic bags can be undivided inside or have sections, usually a zippered pocket dividing the inside of the bag in two. I personally, do not like the dividers, they take up room. I have one for each of the seasons’ colors, as seen in front of the totes in the corresponding colors.
These are great to throw your phones, keys and what-have-you inside. They are handheld and convenient. Some do have a cross body strap to use fully stretched out or to shorten for a shoulder bag, or a smaller wrist strap to attach to keep thieves from bump and grab. Sometimes I’ll use the shorter shoulder way to carry so the bag is just under my armpit or right at my elbow, a plus these bags are small enough to hide under your bicep.
Foldover: As women have known for hundreds of years, clutches are convenient. I just discovered foldover clutches recently. These are so convenient for a few reasons:
- They can hold your basics when folded over,
- When unfolded you can put more small items in,
- They can match your backpacks, bags and totes,
- They are still hand held and some have a cross body strap.
These come in small, medium and large. In the ones I have, Stella and Dot make smaller foldover clutches. Express makes medium size foldover clutches and the bigger ones are made by Steve Madden. Miscellaneous clutches I have are Charming Charlie, Charming Tailor, Nordstrom and Soye.
Sizes can range from 10 inches by 10 inches when unfolded to 10 inches by 5 inches when folded to the larger sizes 14 inches by 14 inches when unfolded to 14 inches by 7.5 inches when folded. The straps can either be cloth, leather, cloth+leather and chains. I personally, do not like the chains and replace them with leather cross body straps (adjustable from shoulder to cross body).
Totes can be any size and any shape, really. As you can see in the picture above, I have five standard totes. That is, wide, tall and narrow. Standard totes are around 13-15 inches wide, 12-15 inches tall and 2-6 inches depth. Both Spring and Fall are totes, as is one of the Neutral totes, the tan in the back. I like totes because they are usually wider than they are tall. That’s one reason I don’t like backpacks–I have to dig deeper to find things, rummage around or almost remove everything to find something.
I do use separate bags and clutches for items, for easier identification, but even those get lost in the depths of a backpack. I still have them and do use occasionally when I’m headed out for an adventure or the library, where i’ll empty it out anyway. Sometimes, backpacks are just too big for my needs. Totes carry just the right amount, have a wide opening where I can see everything at once and easier to carry. Totes have long handles to carry on the shoulder or use as a cross body bag.
Other types of totes are hobo bags, and you can see three of them: the Summer yellow, a Neutral gray and a Neutral toffee (toffee color as it is half way between tan and coffee). They usually have a wide opening, both handle and cross body strap. The wide opening so you can see what is inside, which I love, without rummaging and searching.
Other odd bags are the white leather duffle, the navy three compartment tote, the foldover chocolate tote (which could be a tall tote, if you bring the foldover upright) and a few open bag totes.
Every season has their colors. They aren’t a hard-and-fast rule, no one is going to berate you for carrying out of season, but if you are curious about which colors belong to which season, below are the general rules for Seasonal Colors. Remember: Rules Are Meant To Be Broken!
Springtime colors tend to be lighter, pale and pastel. As the first picture above, you can see the first row I have Apple and Baby Blue, in the backpack, totes, clutches and wallets. Other Spring colors are creams, light gray, soft yellows/greens, lavender/lilac.
Summers are for bright and bold colors. Think Oranges, Reds, Yellows and Bright Blues. Above I have Lemon Yellow and Bold Red, in backpack, hobo and bucket totes, clutches and wallets.
Fall has muted and dark-sharp colors in nature, so should your bags. As above, I have Orange and Dark Plum (purple) in backpack (the hearts are in fall colors, thus, included here), totes, clutches and wallets. Fall colors can also be neutrals, that is, tans, camels, creams, whites.
Winter is for your dark jewel tones, as above, I have navy blue and chocolate in medium totes, clutches and wallets. The backpack mostly black and white with jewel tone buds and flowers. Other colors for winter are sapphire and other dark blues, dark grays, dark emerald greens, dark purples, browns and blacks.
Neutrals are usually beiges, black, darker creams, grays, tans, whites and can be used for all seasons. These days, more and more colors are recognized as neutrals. I’m talking colors like mint green, lavender, buffalo check, hounds tooth, mustard, teal to name a few.
Sometimes, you can use a color for multiple, sometimes opposite, seasons. For example the ruby red I can use for Winter and Summer. I don’t have the money (like many of you) for multiple shades and tones of one color. One color can do for many seasons. The dark plum I can carry from fall through winter. The spring time apple and baby blue are really for Spring only, but if I wanted to carry them in the Summer months, to remind me of cooler weather, who is going to say something? If you only want to have a few bags, for example, carry the baby blue from spring through summer and the navy blue through fall and winter. Other choices may be Apple green through Spring and Summer then Emerald Green from Fall through Winter. Like reds? Find a washed out, pale red for Spring and Summer then the dark ruby red from Fall through Winter.
Future articles will talk more thoroughly about types of bags, clutches and totes as well as a more detailed explanation of Seasonal Colors.
Till next time,