Man Bags 2021

From pocket-sized purses, to capacious carry-ons – man bags are big news this summer. From ASAP Rocky, to Tyler The Creator, to Harry Styles – men carrying handbags are a thing right now.

In 1999, when the Friends episode ‘The One with Joey’s Bag’ first aired, it was a laughable joke when Joey (the dish of the group), found love with a tote – given to him by his fashion-forward friend Rachel Green.

‘But it’s a woman’s bag?’ Joey asks when Rachel suggested the black leather cross-body bag. ‘But all of the men are wearing them!’ replied Rachel.

We might have giggled back then, but in the 22 years that followed, man bags have indeed gone from drab to fab. Once the accoutrement of every archetypal “City Boy”, the man bag’s renewed fashion-forward status was witnessed most recently at the autumn/winter 2021 shows, where male models clutched all manner of holdalls.

At Fendi, bags were teeny-tiny and just capacious enough for a mini bottle of hand sanitiser, while ETRO reimagined “sensible and sturdy for the Instagram age” by churning out patterned statement rucksacks at his eponymous brand’s show.

There’s bags of money in it too. In 2018, there was a 5.5% increase in the market for men’s bags, hitting a combined value of £1.45 billion. In that same year, global market research found that purchases of man bags had grown by almost a quarter.

What’s more, in the last fashion week hurrah before the industry was forced to re-set last January, every fashionable fella worth their salt was seen sporting a bag, especially the Dior Saddle Bag.

So, what’re you waiting for? If Harry Styles, ASAP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator can all rock a Gucci man-bag – so can you.

These are the It accessories to buy.

ASOS Design holdall bag in black leather faux croc

We might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but when we finally do, this faux croc holdall will scratch that style itch perfectly.

£35 | ASOS

JW Anderson Belt-embroidered canvas tote

JW Anderson’s bags are cult for a reason. This pale blue canvas tote with red detailing has ‘summer’ and ‘beer garden’ (fingers crossed) written all over it.

£375 | Matches Fashion

Arket Moldable Crossbody Bag

Perfect for dancing your cares away, a crossbody bag is the hands-free holdall you never knew you needed. This achingly cool Arket iteration is the definition of a purse-friendly pouch.

£69 | Arket

The North Face Base Camp Fuse Box Rucksack

The North Face has enjoyed a slow but steady return to favour as of late, but if you’re struggling to get your hands on one of its highly-coveted Nupste jackets, then opt for a statement rucksack instead. The yellow is sparking all the joy for us.

£114.99 | Zalando

ASOS DESIGN holdall Doctors bag

One for the fashion-conscious fellas, this faux leather crossbody bag will hold your things (face mask, hand sanitiser et al) and get you some serious style brownie points while doing it.

£35 | ASOS

AllSaints Arena Leather Backpack

Even those left straddling the man bag fence can’t go wrong with a timeless black backpack. This buttery leather offering from AllSaints is a seriously chic bag for life.

£183 | AllSaints