How the backpack became the modern man's briefcase

From luxury leather messenger bags to shopper totes, the ultimate accessory for men comes in all shapes and sizes this season.

Brands like Tom Ford, Thom Browne, Valentino, Dunhill, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent have all sent tricked-up luxury totes and messengers down the runway this year.

But it's the backpack that's the force majeure for blokes keen on ditching the briefcase for a street style brood to his overall image. What's more it can work outside of the workplace too.

A timeless classic revisited

"Backpacks are a global fashion staple and the Australian man is now understanding the versatility of this product," says Marnie Goding, creative director at Elk

"It's really a timeless classic when teamed with premium fabrics – it's most definitely not just for the school yard anymore," she says.

"And we've developed our men's backpack range as a result of customer demand."

The Mr. Elk label captures the best of denim meets luxury leather in its multi-textured backpack for the urban dweller. It sniffs of inner city cool and works perfectly with the high-low trend of suits rocked with sneakers or loafers.

Streamlined details

Menswear stylist Ella Murphy says we'll be seeing a return to pocket pouches along with other hands free designs.

"This summer a square shaped leather single strap shoulder style bag is coming back with a vengeance," says Ella Murphy.


"For the minimal man think leather slim line bag that hangs from the shoulder by the waistline, paired with a linen outfit and leather slides or sandals," says Murphy.

Sport luxe

It's time to let go of your old footy bag. Instead, keep your workout gear in something that you wouldn't be ashamed to take in to the business class cabin. Aussie leather goods label Kinnon has released one that is the perfect size for international carry-on, but also great for interstate trips when packing less is all you crave.

According to Beth Richards, Director of Hallow Brands, pieces like Kinnon's Oxley leather luxury overnight bag is minimalist in design, exudes a vintage charm and wins on practicality.

"It has a separate side compartment for shoes and can hold a laptop and personal accessories," says Beth Richards.

"Versatility is key and men are willing to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time both in quality and style," she says.

Country Road dabbles in much the same territory with a stronger focus on a tailored weekender in brown and preppy denim backpack reminiscent of uni days.

The everyday winners

For everyday ease and comfort, none come close to the practicality of the messenger bag. At Calibre you can find a range of tan and black messenger bags that speak to every outfit, whether it's your first meeting Monday morning or a more casual Friday.

Alternatively, the tote has become the symbol of the modern, style-savvy man. Luxury brand Loewe, best known for its puzzle bag, is the go-to for blokes looking to really make a statement with a vertical tan variety made with an avant-garde weave.

Check out the gallery above for a selection of the best men's bags.