From bags to riches and the rise of the manbag

Perhaps BlogHers will agree - it's hard to deny the lure of soft leather or the manly-ness of Jack Bauer - a lot of women hold their handbags with revelry, just as much as most men love their gadgets.

But, unlike Andy Roddick, my husband knows better than to look for room in my purse for any of his stuff - get your own bag, man!

ABC News reports the tennis star recently lashed out on his website against the trend of donning "manbags."

"Anything bigger than a money clip or a wallet is to be left to your girlfriend/wife … and just so we are clear you should not be able to throw your 'wallet' over a shoulder … if you have a man purse, the wall is waiting."

Reports from our British neighbors seem to ackowledge the fact that only the most real of real men are clutching their gadgets, as the business publication Silicon.com introduced me to the recent rise of the manbag:

Smaller than a sports bag and often more stylish to boot, the manbag is becoming a must-have item for all UK gadget fans keen to stow their multiple devices.

Though it sounds very functional - I can't help but wonder along with The Daily Mail - can anyone (besides Jude Law and David Beckham, I mean) carry off a manbag?

FEMAIL challenged three men (ages 47-60) to carry a man bag for a day and each of these brave blokes met with disrespect and left the oldest of the manbag experiment to muse:

This is a fashion statement pure and simple. If you carry one of these as a man, you are saying something about your style. "I'm at ease with my feminine side," it seems to say.

So are we...I mean, why not?

A man's gotta do something with his iPod, PDA, cell phone and wallet, and still be able to sit down or go to the bathroom all in one piece, yes?

Anna blogs about designer handbags for eFashionHOUSE.com and seems to agree:

Despite the collective shame and general denial, manbags are more popular than ever, with several styles and shapes now available everywhere from Topman to Brown Thomas, in materials from shiny vinyl to supple brown leather. Of course, designer houses like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Burberry have been offering swish manbags for years, while Prada's super-trendy manbags brought the trend out into the open.

Women have long known of such things.

"If your muse is an authentic designer handbag your going to love From Bags To Riches," claims a website following one of the hottest new fashion trends - an alternative to buying a designer handbag...borrow one:

From Bags to Riches is the affordable way to always have a new designer bag in your wardrobe! All handbag rental prices include shipping and $100 Damage Insurance. Instead of purchasing expensive handbags, you rent them for a specified period of time at fraction of the cost.

Just think Netflix and you'll get the idea of how their service works:

Build your “Bag Que� containing up to 8 handbags of your choosing, and the top bag is automatically shipped out. A return date is easily found in the Bag Que. When you return a bag, the next one on the list is automatically shipped out.

And if you're really into handbags (like my SIL who switches handbags as often as the weather and whose fashion taste changes from one day to the next) perhaps you'll consider becoming a Club Diva - join their frequent renters club for $15.95 per month and you get:

10% savings on all your frombagstoriches.com purchases and rentals.

1 free handbag rental every year.

Honors Points for every dollar you spend.

My Couture My Way, you select ANY bag and we bring it in, just for you.

Club only discounts and specials.

Diva Dollars on every rental. Use same as cash.

Either way - whether women are ready to admit our handbag fetish, or not - the word is out...man bags are definitely in.

If you're looking for great gift ideas for men, The Satchel Pages (the home of the man purse) has some suggestions on more manly-type bags, along with enlightening product reviews like the one on Jack Bauer's man purse:

"Let’s get this straight: Jack Bauer’s bag is simple and inexpensive. He carries everything but the kitchen sink inside it. While it looks like he might have only a sweaty towel and some jogging shorts in there, he regularly pulls out of it some rather strategic weaponry and devices. Dramatic tension arises from that simple contrast. The Kitchen Sink Bag, on the other hand — and other “tough� looking bags like it from Oakley and many other manufacturers — look like they might be weapons themselves . . . or at least cases for them. What’s inside could only be a letdown. A lot of imagined “protection� for your cute little iPod, no?

Contributing Editor Liz Thompson also writes for The Imperfect Parent.

[Photo Credit - Jack Bauer Adventure Bag via The Stachel Pages]

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