A few years back, if you were trying to tell the world you were a middle-aged IT technician, a messenger bag would probably have been your first purchase. Until recently, these single-strapped shoulder vessels, with their poor weight distribution, were the height of luggage uncool. A sign that the wearer either didn’t understand the concept of style or had given up on it entirely.
It was a crying shame because, behind all the schoolboy connotations, this humble receptacle actually had some serious potential. Thankfully, a number of brands realised this and a full-blown messenger-bag revival has ensued.
All of a sudden, the messenger bag is back on form. There are premium versions, crafted from the highest grade leather. There are trend-led versions, courtesy of the world’s most respected haute-couture houses. The messenger bag is officially en vogue again – and this time it’s here to stay.
Traditionally, the term “messenger bag” has been used to describe the canvas, cross-body sacks often worn by bicycle couriers and other delivery people. Nowadays, however, it has become a catch-all term for similar shoulder-strap bags, like leather satchels, too. Typically, a messenger bag is rectangular, large enough to accommodate a laptop computer, has a single large flap opening and is carried either across the body or over one shoulder with a single strap. Classic, canvas messengers are often waterproof, and sometimes even feature a second strap to secure the bag around the waist while cycling. However, this is a design motif rarely found in premium versions, which are often crafted from high-grade leather, suede or nylon.
Why you need a messenger bag? Simply put, a messenger bag is probably exactly what’s missing from your luggage rotation. It complements both smart and casual looks, is built around a core of practicality and functionality, and offers a more sophisticated alternative to a backpack or holdall.
A messenger bag is also a superb option if you work an office job in the city. Less stuffy than a hard-sided briefcase, it’s a smart, contemporary option that retains a refined, slimline silhouette yet has still got enough space to house those all-important documents and electronics.
You know what it is and now you’re in the market for one. Here are the labels turning out the best messenger bags money can buy.
The label’s Montagu messenger bags are designed specifically with the urban professional in mind. Painstakingly crafted to exacting standards using the finest Italian Vachetta leather, for a smooth and natural finish, each comes with a lifetime guarantee – so you’re assured a return on investment.
The name Mulberry is synonymous with high-end leather goods. Since 1971, the British label has been making luggage aficionados weak at the knees with its trademark brand of premium craftsmanship and elegance. Expect luxurious materials, subtle branding and timeless styling as standard.
Many of the world’s best-established haute-couture houses have their roots in leather goods – and Louis Vuitton is no exception. It’s one of the most respected names in fashion and its bags are among the most coveted items money can buy.
No label does smart casual better than Ralph Lauren. Something which makes it perfectly equipped to deliver a top-notch messenger bag.
As far as British-made, luxury leather goods go, there are few doing it better than Dunhill. The brand has more than a century of experience in crafting the finest luggage, wallets and belts, amongst others, and has long been the go-to spot for a dose of that gentlemanly, London charm.