Things I Do NOT Like: Backpacks with Suits

A very glamorous young lady (with more than a passing resemblance to Romy Schneider), who was a classmate of mine at Sotheby’s in London, once observed to me: “The more important you are, the less you personally have to carry.” While there is certainly some truth to that statement, since generally we do not see world leaders carrying their own luggage, the reality is that many of us do have to carry various items to and from work. I do not usually have to bring things to and from home, but would love to have someone carry my briefcases for me when I go to court – though admittedly, Clarence Darrow I am not.

A lady has the option of purses and bags of varying dimensions, whereas a gentleman’s choices are, fortunately, much more limited. We have briefcases, satchel or messenger-type bags, and, for those of us in the legal profession, rather hefty court cases that could house a small pack of dogs. All of these are readily available at any price point from Dunhill to Walmart.

Unfortunately, there is a marked tendency here in the nation’s capital for men of all ages, not just college-aged summer interns on a budget, to carry backpacks strapped over their dress suits. There is something truly bizarre about seeing a man of 30 plus years walking down K Street, wearing a suit and tie, and having a waterproof polyester product designed for outdoor activities strapped to his back, its padded straps digging into the padding of the shoulders and creasing his jacket.

I would never recommend that anyone carry a “man-purse” or “murse” (which is another awful thing I do not like.) However, there are ways for any man whose position requires him to wear business attire to be able to carry his files, laptop, etc. in a manner that does not make him look like he is still in 5th grade and rushing to catch the school bus. If a briefcase is not practical or seems inappropriate to the age of the user, he should consider one of the numerous types of shoulder-strap receptacles on the market made specifically for this purpose. No matter how intelligent or accomplished the carrier, it is hard to take seriously an adult male wearing a suit and tie who continues to lug a backpack to the office.

4 thoughts on “Things I Do NOT Like: Backpacks with Suits

  1. >I have a dress hat. An argument is made to me that it is awkward looking because though African American men still wear dress hats (i.e. Steve Harvey) with their suits and are able to easily pull it off, it went the way of the dodo after JFK for us white dudes.But I'm too bald to go bareheaded in the cold Chicago winter, and to me nothing looks more ridiculous than a guy in a suit and a baseball cap or knit hat. Or screamin' neon gym shoes on the train. They make black leather gym shoes for $40.The one strap bag you mention might be what is now called a messenger bag. Though some look like ratty paper boy bags, some are made of material that goes with dress wear. I just found a bunch of black and brown leather ones on eBay for under $50.Our grandfathers during the Depression may have had to put cardboard in their shoes once the soles wore out, but they still knew how to not dress like an overgrown frat boy from head to toe. Look at those photos from the 1930's.


  2. >I'd think that, barring some kind of saddle bag, that Segway + Suit = a backpack by nessecity.But, yes, a man (and here I mean a fully grown-up kind of man) needs a proper manly bag.


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