March 17, 2015
"I think it’s become a need that’s being filled -- men might carry more than one phone now, for example, and the iPhone 6 is so large that it doesn’t fit in a men’s pant pocket. So, these smaller accessories for men have started to take popularity," Bloom says. "They've gotten a lot more stylish than just the basic briefcase or backpack."
|Women's Segment % Change||Men's Segment % Change|
|Sports equipment bags||-5||+26|
As for why women's handbag sales are down, she says, it's because women stocked up on accessories during the recession. In short: Their closets are at max capacity.
"A lot of women, if they were going to spend money, they were going to spend on accessories," Bloom says. "Buying a Michael Kors bag instead of a $2,000 garment just made sense. And accessories for women are such statement pieces, so I think women are realizing they bought so many accessories over the years, and now their closet is full and they don’t need to keep purchasing new bags."
She says Philly's average gentleman isn't quite caught up with fashion -- bags or otherwise -- but that the city is starting to react to a cultural change in attitude when it comes to style.
"The popularity of the food scene in Philly, that also translates to fashion: ‘I don’t want a throwaway piece from H&M,’" Bloom says. "People are starting to wake up and buy more quality products for their wardrobe, and that’s starting to filter down to men.”
Seen in Philly: John Stone with his green oiled-canvas (and organic) United By Blue messenger bag. "When I buy a bag, I look at shape and what it can hold; this one carries my Macbook Pro," he says. "But right now I've got my eye on a new Topo Design bag." Photo: Thom Carroll / PhillyVoice.
Seen in Philly: Joseph Plant carries his A.P.C. brown-leather backpack while strolling through Rittenhouse Square. "I like something that works with my existing attire, is comfortable and is wearable while biking," he says. "And I need compartments for chargers, USB drives and my computer." Photo: Thom Carroll / PhillyVoice.
OK, so now you get it -- men's bags are in.Wonderful. Now, the all-important question that comes next: What do I buy?
Raphael Monroe, a men's wardrobe stylist for Old City-based Evoluer Image Consultants, says he's been posed with this question more than ever in the past three years. Men mostly come looking for a bag because, he says, new technology makes them "necessary."
Monroe gave PhillyVoice.com a breakdown of how to bag-shop by need:
For the Gym-going Guy: Seek out a duffle bag. Reason being, Monroe says, is it's multi-purpose, and goes well with all the new sports-apparel fashion that's been trending of late. "[Duffles] vary from low-end to high-end -- at H&M you can get one for $35 to $80, or you could take it up a notch to Banana Republic at $120," he says. "But I also have clients who want Salvatore Ferragamo, which has bags at $2,500, and the top-of-the-line duffle at Hermes, which is $4,000." Alternatively, he says, go for a tote -- it's big enough to carry gym clothes, but sleek enough to pass off as a work bag.
The (Stylish) Pragmatist: "The messenger bag," he says, "because it's slim, chic and you can put a lot in it, since they come in various sizes -- they can fit a small laptop, legal pads or an iPad." To get: Black, caramel or chocolate brown -- preferably in leather, but wool and canvas are also acceptable alternatives.
The Trendsetter: "Go for the satchel," he says. Duffle and messenger bags are just fine, he adds, but the arts students have had it right all along."Today's satchels are very stylish, and the hardware they use on them lately is very nice -- brass, silver hardware. They're plenty sturdy and durable."