A Gentleman’s Guide to Bags and Luggage

A gentleman always strives to look his best even when he is traveling. That being said, the bags and luggage a gentleman carries are an extension of his wardrobe. Traveling commercially often has delays, confusion, and headache-inducing hassle. As unfair as it seems well-dressed men in expensive suits seem to get their problems resolved much quicker than the average man in jeans and a t-shirt.

Part of looking good and on point when traveling starts with good bags and luggage. Often this rule applies to more than just traveling – a sharp dressed gentleman needs a leather briefcase, not a backpack used for school. Even a casually dressed man can benefit from a sleek messenger bag rather than a beat-up tote or gym bag.


Casual Use Bags


Think about all the things you need to carry every day – papers, books, laptops and other day-to-day necessities, if your wardrobe doesn’t include any kind of small bag, you should consider adding one.

Too many men get out of school and continue to use the same old backpack for their carrying needs. However, if you want to be taken seriously you will need an upgrade. Thankfully there are different styles and choices for every occasion so you can pick the one that works best for you.



Messenger Bags


These are a popular option for the casual dresser. They sling over the shoulder and can accommodate most laptops and a few other supplies. They are often made of sturdy material like ballistic nylon or leather.




These are shorter and narrower than messenger bags and may look a bit old-fashioned mostly due to the shape. They are a good fit for tablets and the style is gaining in popularity. Beware of anything that goes too far into “man purse” territory. Look for solidly structured satchels with some heft to them and avoid softer sack like bags.




These are the standard when you are wearing a jacket. By matching the color of the case to other leather items you are wearing you look more pulled together. Having outer pockets or chunky zippers is acceptable with a sports jacket or blazer; a business suit will require something more sleek and minimalistic.

Attaché cases – This option is a more travel-oriented version of the briefcase in that is it sturdier with hard edges and interior trays. They work well for the businessman that requires a little extra room for small items or who need a little extra protection for the items in the case.



Travel Luggage


You can find bags and luggage in just about any size or shape that you may need from a small bag for your basic items to an oversized luggage for that trip around the globe. Gentlemen who dress well will opt for a bag or case that has a more refined look. Here are some simple suggestions on what to look for when you purchase:


  • Choose bags and luggage that have a fixed shaped rather than one with soft sides. Bags that are lumpy are dramatically less dressy than bags with a defined shape.
  • Avoid bags and luggage with loud decorative print or bright primary coloring. Classic dark colors are always the better choice, however, try to avoid all black cases. You want your bags to be recognizable at the baggage claim not lost in a sea of all black bags.
  • It may seem like a minor detail but sturdy handles and zippers are important. Thin and cheap straps look bad and are not comfortable to carry.
  • There should be no visible logos other than a personal monogram. Having a company name on the zipper pull or a small crest is fine but you don’t want to be a walking billboard for a sporting company, which is the opposite of dressy.


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