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  1. #1
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    What's a good "man bag"?

    I'm at a conference and have decided that I need a man bag! Or a murse, whatever the current term du jour is...

    I have some smaller shoulder bags (not Tom Bihn) from MEC that work when I just out running errands and want to carry a digicam, sunglasses, water bottle, gum, etc. However, at this conference I realized that the bags I do have would look just so out-of-place, especially when wearing a suit or blazer and black dress pants at receptions, business meetings, etc.

    I have the large Cafe Bag, and I was wondering about the small Cafe Bag in black... not sure. I was leaning towards microfibre or leather for this specific situation.

    Any comments? If not TB, any other suggestions? I can't seem to find as many options as I thought I would...

  2. #2
    keb
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    Question Calling Maverick...

    I have had the same question percolating as well. Maverick and I discussed a smaller version of the Ego in a different thread but that probably wouldn't meet the above criteria either. Too "messengery" or "daypacky" for slightly more formal situations. I have also been eyeing a Smart Alec or Synapse (someday...) but again that doesn't meet the above needs either. I have actually been considering one of the cafe bags in black or navy for the times when I don't need a laptop and the Empire Builder is just too big or when I want to bring something along besides a backpack to have at my destination. What are the drawbacks of your Large Cafe Bag for above? Is it just too big?

    Maverick is the Cafe Bag expert. Mav, what do you think? Size and color (and material?) for a manly non-briefcase/non-backpack/non-schleppy errand/conference/sporting event bag? (Personally I would also like to be able to include a DSLR inside in the camera insert when the time comes if necessary...)
    Last edited by keb; 05-27-2009 at 09:03 AM. Reason: add title
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

  3. #3
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    tom is the expert with regard to all things bags.

    but i think that a small cafe bag would compliment the right suit nicely.

    i think the last time i put on a suit was at my sister-in-law's wedding a couple of years ago. god help you, but let me see if i can put on a suit and get a picture with my small black cafe bag. better yet, let me see if i can meet up with my brother for lunch tomorrow and have him model the small cafe bag for us. he dresses up in a suit every day. yes, that's a much safe approach!

    you mentioned cameras and the camera insert. while a dslr isn't something i would put into a small cafe bag, you could carry many nice point and shoots or a leica m-series camera with a couple of lenses in the small cafe bag.

  4. #4
    keb
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    Didn't mean to give you a project but I forgot you can't resist!!! Sorry about that... I take it that you would think the medium and large cafe bag are just too casual because of their size to replace the classic Coach Leather saddlebag but that the small cafe bag comes off as a bit sleeker with the downside of not being able to carry some of the larger items when put in a different role? I assume you would reserve the DSLR for the medium or large cafe bags (I have seen your videos), but that almost any point and shoot style in pouch would fit in the small... BTW the Domke wrap on my wife's D80 is doing very nicely while waiting for the camera insert...
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

  5. #5
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    I currently use the Ristretto as my man bag - works well for me, but I typically need to keep my laptop with me. If you choose to look at bags other than by TB, you might check out Waterfield Designs (sfbags.com). They just introduced the Musetto - their version of a man bag. Comes in a variety of colors including black and has leather as a part of it. It's pricey to be sure but for some folks, it may be worth it. I can attest to the quality of their bags, before I became a TB fan, I purchased and still use one of their bags (the Cozmo).
    Last edited by rabergnc; 05-27-2009 at 10:15 AM. Reason: typos - what else!

  6. #6
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    don't be sorry - i'm happy to do it .

    my brother is traveling, and has gone from suits to business casual, by the way. so back to the original plan.

    yes, i was thinking that the small cafe bag would look rather sleek. but the medium and large cafe bag, as well as the ristretto may work, depending on the size and build of the individual.

    Quote Originally Posted by keb View Post
    Didn't mean to give you a project but I forgot you can't resist!!! Sorry about that... I take it that you would think the medium and large cafe bag are just too casual because of their size to replace the classic Coach Leather saddlebag but that the small cafe bag comes off as a bit sleeker with the downside of not being able to carry some of the larger items when put in a different role? I assume you would reserve the DSLR for the medium or large cafe bags (I have seen your videos), but that almost any point and shoot style in pouch would fit in the small... BTW the Domke wrap on my wife's D80 is doing very nicely while waiting for the camera insert...

  7. #7
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    I'd like people's opinions...I've decided to get a Medium Cafe Bag as my "manbag" and to mostly use it for travel.

    When I travel, I pack light, wear mostly black or gray pants and neutral color shirts (white, light blue, maroon, etc.)

    I was going to get a black/steel cafe bag but the cocoa is looking good. (I've been told I wear too much black/gray.)

    So, here are the questions....will the cocoa bag stand out too much considering what I wear (I hesitate to use the word 'clash")? I like to blend in

    And, is the cocoa color suitable for a middle-aged guy? How about sand?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Frank II; 05-27-2009 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Added the question about sand

  8. #8
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    Well, this feedback is great! My large Cafe Bag is olive coloured, and ironically, I think it's a little too large for business situations in some ways. I think the olive colour is suitable for most situations (or all situations if you don't care), but I'm at a academic/business networking conferencing, and suits are pretty much the standard. At a regular academic conference where there is a lot more khaki, I don't think it will matter as much.

    I just want something that I can throw into my other TB bags but can be used anywhere.

    I'm not sure if a black small Cafe Bag has a formal enough look to pass in formal situations.

    Geez... probably getting too introspective! ;-)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    I'd like people's opinions...I've decided to get a Medium Cafe Bag as my "manbag" and to mostly use it for travel.

    When I travel, I pack light, wear mostly black or gray pants and neutral color shirts (white, light blue, maroon, etc.)

    I was going to get a black/steel cafe bag but the cocoa is looking good. (I've been told I wear too much black/gray.)

    So, here are the questions....will the cocoa bag stand out too much considering what I wear (I hesitate to use the word 'clash")? I like to blend in

    And, is the cocoa color suitable for a middle-aged guy? How about sand?

    Thanks.
    Ohhhhh! I just posted in another area about our 2 new Large Cafe bags -- one in Linen (sand) and one in Cocoa. My husband, a VERY cool middle-aged, musician by night; real job during the day type of of guy loves his new Cocoa/Wasabi manbag. He felt the Linen (sand) was a bit too much on the feminine side for him but I am guessing that under the right circumstances it would be fine and look really smart!
    Ego in Black, Steel, Wasabi, Empire Builder in Black, Black, Sapphire (Husband), 2 Brain Cells (Black), 2 Medium Cafe Bags - 1 in Black, Wasabi & 1 in Navy, Cayenne, 2 Large Cafe bags w/Absolute Straps - 1 in Linen, Olive and 1 in Cocoa, Wasabi, Guardian Dual Function Light & Lots of pouches!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbrown627 View Post
    I'd like people's opinions...I've decided to get a Medium Cafe Bag as my "manbag" and to mostly use it for travel.

    When I travel, I pack light, wear mostly black or gray pants and neutral color shirts (white, light blue, maroon, etc.)

    I was going to get a black/steel cafe bag but the cocoa is looking good. (I've been told I wear too much black/gray.)

    So, here are the questions....will the cocoa bag stand out too much considering what I wear (I hesitate to use the word 'clash")? I like to blend in

    And, is the cocoa color suitable for a middle-aged guy? How about sand?

    Thanks.
    I think you could order black, cocoa and sand and see the one you like best.

    I dare you to send back any

    Backpack owner of 2 Large Cafe Bags and 1 Small one

  11. #11
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    Waterfield Designs has a new "man purse" out --<www.sfbags.com>--quite pricey; small runs $179! It is leather and nylon. I have their Cozmo briefcase and it is very sharp looking, very professional, and excellent quality. It is a bit more formal looking than TB bags for work.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    "man purse"
    ahem (clearing my throat)... just so we're all on the same page, men carry bags to hold their stuff. the cafe bag is a great example of how we carry our stuff. you can call this a man bag if you like. but it's really just a bag. there isn't anything gender specific about it - men and women can carry it. whatever you call it, please do not call it a purse. a purse is something that women carry. now, a man may happen to be holding a purse (or a bag) belonging to his wife/girlfriend/sister/mother. that is a different matter altogether.

    now that we've cleared that up, we can move on. ;-)

    sorry shiva - i couldn't resist jumping all over that one! (you know i'm teasing!)
    Last edited by maverick; 05-28-2009 at 09:26 AM.
    -m

  13. #13
    keb
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    now, a man may happen to be holding a purse (or a bag) belonging to his wife/girlfriend/sister/mother. that is a different matter altogether.

    now that we've cleared that up, we can move on. ;-)
    I always try to make sure my belt and shoes match my wife's handbag...
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by keb View Post
    I always try to make sure my belt and shoes match my wife's handbag...
    what a clever idea!

    now, what do you do if your wife decides to carry an orange or green handbag? are you prepared for such situations??
    Last edited by maverick; 05-28-2009 at 09:45 AM.
    -m

  15. #15
    keb
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    what a clever idea!

    now, what do you do if your wife decides to carry an orange or green handbag? are you prepared for such situations??
    Luckily for me... 1. I am colorblind so brown always works, at least for me. 2. She doesn't do much in the bright color range, other than pink, which is the new black anyway.
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

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