There is, in the story of American fashion, a strangely enduring practice of buying...elegant...garment[s] and dressing it so far down it might have been scored at a rummage sale....
-Jean Hanff Korelitz, "The Sloppy Syndrome," Vogue September 2007
I recently read an article from The Daily Record that tells of a shocking new trend in the U.K. It states that "a staggering 18.4 million adult males" in Britain admit carrying a manbag with them daily. And by manbag, I meant the real deal manbag (the article points out that their sample spends at least £92, or roughly $144, for designer bags). Whether it serves as a fashion statement or a functional purpose is still in question, but one thing is for sure: our brothers across the Atlantic definitely know how to dress up, not down.
So how come we can't say the same thing to American men? I hate to say it, but it's such a depressing sight when I see downtown men, employed businessmen in fact, who walk in 7th/Flower, looking sharp and confident, but terribly sloppy. This breed of men typically wear newly cleaned suits with polished lace-ups, crisp, ironed shirts, ties, and a...what is that thing...is that an L.L. Bean backpack?
Yes, it sounds funny, but to me, it's just plain sad. Remember, I am talking about grown men who work for a living as professionals. So why won't they carry a decent bag (a briefcase, a carryall, a duffle, a weekender, need I go through the alphabet?), for crying out loud?
Could it be the fear of looking good, of looking accomplished? Or is it the fear of looking a bit...effeminate? My advice: throw the doubts aside and man up! Carrying a manbag has a much better effect than looking like a lost hiker in the concrete jungle.