As we always say at The Style Guide, it pays to do your homework when it comes to style upgrades — especially if that homework involves sifting through our Online Shopping Picks series. From stylish dress shoes to the best men’s grooming products, we’ve covered a lot of ground on the blog — yet, today’s entry will be the first-ever attempt at chronicling the best men’s messenger bags. Yes indeed, we’re in this together today. A messenger bag is a sort of secret style weapon for the guy who prefers casual style yet still wants to look sharp. Although brands are indeed making stylish leather backpacks — the Jack + Mulligan Welles Backpack comes to mind — there’s still something that’s a bit too youthful about a backpack. However, a luxurious briefcase, no matter how nice, also might not work — it could be too dressy or hard to lug around (only pesky handles to hold). So, where do you go? I give you … the humble messenger bag. Still a favorite of actual bike messengers here in New York City, there are some durable, handsome and casually stylish options out there — and we’ll show you just the ones to buy today. Pack it up and bring your favorite messenger bag on a spring road trip or fill it with everyday carry essentials on the go. Join in on the fun, shop away and leave any comments for me below or on Twitter, where I tweet about as much #menswear as I can. Enjoy!
OK, so is the Joshu + Vela Zip Briefcase a briefcase, or a messenger bag? Traditional convention might dictate that a messenger bag fold over the top but hey … we’re not too picky over here. Either way, the durable, handsome and rugged Zip Briefcase is definitely an upgrade over your current backpack situation. Thick canvas and a beautiful bridle leather strap are made to age well and stand up to adventures aplenty, and this particular bag can house a 15-inch MacBook — pretty versatile and durable, ehh?
The makers of the 810 Wallet also do a heck of a nice messenger bag. A personal favorite of yours truly, the Roma Messenger has accompanied me on adventures around Brooklyn and a winter trip back to Michigan, handling each trip with grace and great looks. It’s a surprisingly lightweight, unlined leather messenger bag — designed in the state of Michigan itself, my bag has aged quite well and held up more than alright through a long commute and a frigid New York winter. If you value quality and crisp style, the Roma Messenger is your bag.
If you value functional design that considers every detail, consider making the Peak Design Everyday Messenger your next messenger bag purchase. It really does have so much going for it — from the lifetime warranty to the whopping $4.7 million it raised on its initial Kickstarter funding run, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is unlike any bag you’ve ever bought — from the waterproof waxed shell and seatbelt-style straps to the removable dividers and space for a full-frame DSLR, it’s got the goods to carry, well, your goods. Again, you might want to look into the Peak Design Everyday Messenger.
Yet another briefcase that’s not quite your traditional briefcase by any means, the Filson Original Briefcase is an instantly recognizable heritage classic known and used the world over. It’s a favorite of a lot of guys here in New York City (and elsewhere) for its water-repellent exterior, handy two-way zipper and a plethora of interior and exterior pockets. The USA-made construction is legendary — you’ll have this briefcase for years to come, seriously.
Are you sick of reading about bags that are not quite technically messenger bags? Well, fear not — we’re almost done here. Owen and Fred really lives up to the brand’s motto — “men’s goods made great” — and from its Voyager Waxed Weekender to smaller pieces like the brand’s essential brass bottle opener, you need to get Owen and Fred on your radar. The brand’s Flight Brief, made out of stylish midnight waxed canvas and finished with handsome leather accents, is a terrific bag for work or play.
Hopefully, you’ve now filled up your shopping cart with a new everyday bag — ehh? While a piece like the Joshu + Vela Zip Briefcase defies the traditional conventions of a messenger bag, it’s a handsome, durable and reliably stylish upgrade to your everyday carry. And the sleek silhouette and clean lines of the Owen and Fred Flight Brief also make it a worthy addition to this list. In terms of classic, rugged appeal, it’s very tough to top the Filson Original Briefcase — and you’d do well to pick that one up, of course. For the more functionally minded guy, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger fits the bill more than nicely. Last but not least, the Michigan-designed Brothers Leather Supply Roma Messenger could be your new favorite everyday bag. With that being said — are you ready for your next commute or road trip? See you out there.