Most people have mixed feelings on messenger bags. Walking down the street in New York, you’ll see them everywhere. What was once the trademark of a hipster guy is slowly becoming more and more popular. Messenger bags obviously have their perks; they come in a variety of sizes and colors, they can carry things that won’t fit in your pockets, and they’re a fashion statement.
But that’s not why you’re reading this article—you’re wondering if messenger bags are okay for guys to wear. The answer to that question is complicated. To really decide whether they’re okay for a guy to wear or not, you need to know where they come from, the pros/cons, and what your options are.
What exactly is a messenger bag?
The name is pretty straightforward, surprisingly. The messenger bag was originally designed for men who worked at the post office so they could have easy access to the letters they were carrying. A long strap would go across the body or over the shoulder, so the postman’s hands would be free as he walked.
For a long time, messenger bags were simply work accessories. Utility workers, postmen, and bike couriers all used them because they made their jobs easier. When they first came out in the 1950s, it was impossible to find them in stores—companies had them specifically made for their employees. However, they became more popular as time went on, and were suddenly in stores across the country.
What are the perks of using a messenger bag?
Messenger bags look professional compared to things like backpacks. Whether you’re carrying books or a laptop, they’re a great way to walk into work and look like you belong there. Arriving at a meeting with a messenger bag presents a very different visual than arriving with a brightly colored backpack. Often, you can even get away with passing it off as a laptop bag.
Secondly, messenger bags are simply convenient. Backpacks are filled from top to bottom, and often lack any specific organizational structure. And to top it off, you can access the bag while you’re wearing it; a simple search for a pen could turn into a fifteen-minute spectacle. However, you can access a messenger bag while it’s still on your shoulder, it’s full of pockets, and it’s organized horizontally rather than vertically.
Lastly, messenger bags sit very close to your body. Whether you’re waiting in line or sitting on the subway, you’re taking up less space than you would with a backpack. It’s also easier to move the messenger to your lap, and to keep an eye on it in crowded spaces. Even the best cities have pickpockets!
A recap of the benefits:
- It can stop you from looking like a college student while you’re at work
- It’s easier to keep track of your things because it’s more organized
- It sits closer to your body, so it’s easier to go about your day
What are the downsides of using a messenger bag?
If you’re one of those healthy people that likes to bike to work, messenger bags can become a hassle. They sit relatively low on your back, so it will cause you to sweat a lot. Because they rest on one side of your body, they can also throw off your balance and cause shoulder pain. You may be better off finding an alternative if you bike regularly (however, if you’re not looking to carry more than a laptop, a messenger bag shouldn’t be a problem).
Secondly, messenger bags offer much less support than a traditional backpack. The straps will slip off your shoulder more easily than a backpack would, especially if it’s raining. In addition, the more you need to carry, the less convenient a messenger bag becomes because all the weight is put on one shoulder.
A recap of the downsides:
- Not the best option for bike riding
- Offer less support if you carry a lot
Is it practical to use a messenger bag?
The answer is both yes and no. The practicality of a messenger bag entirely depends on your needs, and what you’re looking to do with it. Essentially, it comes down to two main things: how much you need to carry and how long you’re carrying it.
If you’re regularly carrying anything more than a laptop or a few books, a messenger bag won’t be your best bet. The weight isn’t evenly distributed, so it’s more trouble than it’s worth. And even if you’re only carrying a laptop, that can still take a toll on your body if you’re walking around for hours at a time. Messenger bags are best for short, easy commutes.
Finally, are messenger bags for guys?
Messenger bags are for guys. As you’ve learned, they can be extremely practical. They were also first worn by men, and have been popular among guys for decades. There’s nothing wrong with choosing the most practical option to get your things from home to work, or vice versa.
Messenger bags make guys look both urban and mature. While a backpack screams high school or college student, a messenger bag screams young professional. They also come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes so you can find one that matches your style (and is as feminine or masculine as you’d like it to be).
At the end of the day, looking good in a messenger bag comes down to how confident a guy is. If you’re happy with your choice and walk around like you’re proud of it, people will agree that it looks great. When it comes to men’s fashion, confidence is truly key.