Like sneakers and baseball caps, the backpack is one of those once-sloppy afterthoughts that have become considered, coveted purchases in the last decade. It’s the most versatile design on this list, but also the only one where you can conceivably buy three and get use from them all.
Depending on your lifestyle, it could be a smart backpack for the business-casual commuter, a rugged companion for weekend pursuits or a training buddy for your gym kit. Adopted by virtually every style tribe on the planet, your old school bag is officially all grown up: a genuine menswear classic.
Sitting at the mid-point between a briefcase and a backpack on the sliding scale of formality, the tote bag is roomy enough to stow your smelly gym gear / stolen hard drive, but sleek enough that you might still get papped by a roving street style photographer.
A versatile, easy-access design, this can be your beach bag, work bag and shopping bag all in one. Sadly, it’s also the only style on this list vulnerable to a “nice handbag, mate” from at least one of your friends.
You can’t roll up to your rented chateau without an obscenely good weekender stowed in the limited boot space of your Jaguar F-Type. Of course, they also work for train journeys to see mum and dad. Whatever your travel plans, a weekend bag suggests a man of taste and leisure, not to mention practicality when it comes to packing enough underwear.
Perfect for stowing a neat capsule wardrobe and travel essentials, it doesn’t have to live under the bed between trips. At the smaller end of the scale, a duffle or holdall can be used every day as a hybrid work and gym bag.
There’s a stereotypical image of a bowler-hat-wearing British gentleman somehow carrying an umbrella, a briefcase, a newspaper and a smoking pipe all at the same time. Admittedly, it’s a bit of an outdated concept. However, his leathery receptacle is still as relevant as ever.
A trusty briefcase is the city worker’s best friend. It’s smart, it’s practical, and if you buy a good one, there’s no reason it can’t last you a lifetime. Besides, nothing ruins that Bond-like aura quite like a bulky backpack slung over the shoulders of your suit jacket, making this sleek alternative the perfect accompaniment to tailoring.