Heels strike men as painful and miniskirts seem both embarrassing and inconvenient. Not on the right girl of course, but still. Makeup is nice on women but far too much effort goes into it even for a grooming conscious man, and jewellery, though pretty, seems just one more thing to worry about. Well, of all the estrogen-dependent accessories in the sartorial universe, purses are the only one that most men envy.
Like a more comely utility belt, a purse allows a woman to carry her life around with her. Forced by the lowly pocket, men face a decision between seriously limiting their daily baggage and a horribly bulging pocket – not to mention the spinal misalignment that is the latter’s most unfortunate consequence. The ladies among us can have their purses, bags, totes, pocketbooks, clutches, portable bookshelves and medicine cabinets, a bedside table and cupholder and (depending on the woman) her pantry. What honest practical man wouldn’t be jealous? Better still, a purse is one size fits all. Nothing beats it as a catch all gift; some people have even been known to stock up on extras to distribute in case of sudden emergencies. Accessories from trusted designers like Michael Kors, Ted Baker and The Collective’s own Italian-made Private Label are steadfast friends for any gentleman spread too thin.
From the rise of messenger bag in the nineties to the Dolce & Gabbana full-grain leather, men have slowly but surely accumulated their own rights to shoulder – and hand-held accoutrements. Louis Vuitton men’s show recently showcased some exotic bags which equally appealed to both the genders. Vuitton is a unique brand which strives for equal opportunity luxury. They couldn’t have been more thrilled, though for years they have nurtured dreams of gender-neutral bags. This section for men is expanding by leaps and bounds but the number of luxury goods which are available in the market for women is exponentially larger.
The emergence of the man bag as a viable option is part of a bigger picture: pragmatism, making style and necessity not just coexist but amplify one another. Some of the popular styles include suede duffels and leather clutches, snake-skin bags in all shapes and sizes, shoulder bags with detailing in animal print and bold, graphic designs and also canvas totes.
Banish the thought that a scarf is effete. Scarves have been worn by manliest of men – the terracotta warriors of China, modern-day military units, kings and statesmen. A scarf is a great way to display a bit of personality and it can be worn in a million ways. An elegant scarf, be it a plain or checkered completes a manly man with a blast of texture and color in a good way. The French swear by scarves, which they wear with a dollop of nonchalance. They also make for great company in inclement weather. So it’s pure win: a scarf lends form (a drape around the neck softens the rigidity of a suit), style and function.
But how do you go about picking one? A good man-scarf choice would include solid or graphic printed cotton voiles or lightweight linen for summer days; cashmere or tweed for winters and jacquards or foulards for dressy evenings. Also in vogue are animal printed chiffon scarves in fuschia, satin scarves with tulips and excessively fringed scarves or one with pom poms attached.
Wearing a scarf is all about attitude. So keep it simple and wear it with confidence and it will add the right amount swag :). The most generally recommended one is the easy-to-do loop through knot (also called the lock-and-load). There are other ways too, to which you can add your own twist and flair. Just remember to tie the knot according to the material and length of the scarf. You don’t want an elaborate, fussy bulk of thick tweed suffocating your neck, or a flimsy bit of soft voile dangling from it pointlessly.