Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: The man purse (or, how big is your bag?)

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Photographer Rémi Thériault models his preferred army bag style on the docks in P.E.I. Photo by Rémi Thériault.

In the magazine business, we get around town quite a bit, which allows us to take in fashion trends and see what Ottawans are doing to stay fashionable. Lately we’ve spotted a lot of men carrying bags (or should we call them murses, ie., man-purses?). Many different styles have been spotted: big leather weekender bags, smaller over-the-shoulder totes, and messenger bags. All seem to be rising in popularity.

So we put the call out — and we got some interesting (and photogenic) response.

Rémi's bag nicely fits a camera, moleskin, and water bottle. Photo by Rémi Thériault.

Photographer Rémi Thériault, a regular contributor to OTTAWA Magazine, shared the above series to show what kind of bag he’s sportin’ these days. (Never one to let distance beat digital, he sent it in from the docks of Prince Edward Island.)  Rémi is rocking an old army bag  that he can wear over the shoulder. “I brought it to the beach and, surprisingly, my buddies didn’t make fun of it,” Rémi says.

This style allows Rémi to have his hands free for biking or scouting a location for a shoot. It’s big enough to carry a camera, water bottle, and moleskin. What else does a man-about-town need?

If you’re looking for something larger, we recommend checking out the stock at  Tall Tree Cycles. An independent shop with a commuter focus, there’s a number of messenger styles to choose from (if you have a fixie already, why not go full on hipster?), including  leather beauties from Brooks and the rough and ready Chrome.

However, if you’re looking for something more unique, we recommend Spoken Bags. A one-man operation, the classic Sprout is meticulously handmade to order (just think, you can finally get that fuchsia and tangerine combo you’ve been looking for!).

The saddle roll by Ottawa's own Spoken Bags. Click for a gallery of more Spoken styles. Photo courtesy www.spokenbags.com

For the smart commuter who knows the annoyance of a snakebite (or the metrosexual who must bring the nail grooming kit with him everywhere), Spoken also makes smaller bags, ie. saddle rolls and tool pouches.

And remember guys, it’s not how big your bag is — it’s what’s inside that counts.