Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Sunday, I’m doing an informational article on the 6 types of bags that, in my opinion, every guy should have.

Every gentleman should have a nice bag.

Previously, I published an informative article on the types of dress shoes every gentleman should have. That article garnered quite a positive response, so I’ve decided to do another one this week, this time on bags! Like dress shoes, there’s a bag for every occasion. Here are 6 that I feel every guy should own!

1) Briefcase

Every guy needs a briefcase. If you can only have one type of bag from this list, it has to be a briefcase. It’s a wardrobe essential.

My LAVNG Soft Leather Briefcase.

Every man needs a good leather briefcase. I highly recommend getting one made out of full grain leather, which will patina beautifully over time. Take good care of it, and a leather briefcase can easily last you years, if not decades. It’s the best and most appropriate pick for the office, and is the perfect finishing touch to any sartorial outfit. A briefcase conveys responsibility – there’s nothing that makes you look important (aside from a suit) as much as a briefcase does. It’s pretty functional too, with most modern briefcases easily being able to accommodate a laptop, pens, documents, books, bottle, umbrella, and any other daily essential. I would also like to point that that you should stay away from cheap polyester briefcases, which often look like a laptop bag. A leather briefcase can be expensive, but trust me it’s worth the investment. If you don’t already have a leather briefcase, go get one!

When to carry a briefcase: Every day to the office.

Affordable recommendations (under S$500): Faire Leather Slim Briefcase, Gnome & Bow Porthos Briefcase, LAVNG Soft Leather Briefcase, Cincinati Leather Briefcase, Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase

2) Tote Bag

If you’re a creative, or find briefcases too business-like and stuffy, why not consider a tote bag instead? If your workplace doesn’t have an office dress code – perhaps you work at an architectural firm, or a design agency – a tote bag can be a good alternative.

My Obbi Good Label 9981 Tote Bag.

Think of the tote bag as the trendier, more chic cousin of the briefcase. Like briefcases, tote bags generally have a laptop compartment, and enough space for documents, a bottle of water, umbrellas, and other items that you might bring to the office. A good tote bag combines form with function. A briefcase is great when you’re trying to look serious – for a meeting with a client, etc – but sometimes it can make you look too serious and stuffy. I personally wouldn’t recommend pairing a tote bag with formal attire (it doesn’t go well with a suit, in my opinion) but if you’re going to work in a T-shirt and chinos, definitely choose a tote bag.

When to carry a tote bag: To a less formal work environment, or to a more casual meeting where you don’t want to appear overly formal.

Affordable recommendations (under S$300): Cincinati Leather Canvas Tote, Gnome & Bow Castor Tote, Obbi Good Label 9981 Tote Bag

3) Duffel

If you’re a heavy duty user, and tends to pack a ton of stuff in your bag, a briefcase or a tote bag may not be big enough for you. In that case, go for a duffel bag!

My Balsa Duffel from Gnome & Bow.

If you’re the type that loves to go for a Muay Thai or HIIT session after work, and need to bring along a change of clothes/shoes, your only option is a duffel bag. A duffel bag easily has twice the capacity of a regular briefcase/tote bag, and allows you to carry virtually anything you might ever need to the office and any after-work activities you have planned. If you’re planning to look presentable at work, don’t buy those polyester duffel bags from Nike/Adidas/Under Armour/etc, unless you happen to work at a gym. Instead, opt for a nice canvas/leather duffel bag, such as the Gnome & Bow Balsa Duffel above. Now, I wouldn’t recommend pairing the duffel bag with a suit, but if you’re in a more casual setting that doesn’t require formal attire then a duffel bag is certainly appropriate. It’s great for a weekend trip to Bali too!

When to carry a duffel bag: When you have a lot of stuff to carry, but still want to look decently presentable.

Affordable recommendations (under S$300): Gnome & Bow Balsa Duffel, Cincinati Travel Duffel, Oxhide Leather Vintage Duffel, Obbi Good Label Travelling Duffel Bag

4) Backpack

If you’re not fond of hand carrying your bags, then your only option would be the good old backpack.

My Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack.

Most people don’t wear backpacks out in the workplaces as they remind them of our schooling times. Guys often think that wearing a backpack makes them look like the uni intern. While that can be true – especially if you’re wearing a laptop bag – a proper backpack is undoubtedly the most convenient choice for the office. While a briefcase or a tote bag are undoubtedly more rakish options, it can be tiring to hand-carry or sling them around everywhere, especially after a long day at work. Getting yourself a formal backpack – no Herschels please – can be a convenient solution, while allowing you to still look presentable at work.

When to carry a backpack: When you don’t want to lug around a heavy briefcase/tote bag.

Affordable recommendations (under S$500): Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack, Gnome & Bow Athos Backpack, Cincinati Dress Backpack

5) Clutch

Now that we have all the office bags sorted, let’s talk about some weekend bags! Sometimes, you just want to go to town for a shopping trip, or perhaps a date out at a nice restaurant. If you’re a light traveller, get yourself a clutch!

A clutch, like this one from Cincinati Leather, is perfect for a quick casual trip outdoors.

While clutches used to be seen as feminine, they have now skyrocketed in popularity amongst men. If you don’t have much to bring along with you, then a clutch is perfect for smart casual occasions. It adds a nice touch to one’s entire outfit too, as shown above. I always viewed a clutch as an item of sophistication, the choice of men who are more advanced in their sartorial journey, who are not afraid of being asked “why are you holding a purse”? If someone asks you that, ignore him – he/she clearly doesn’t know their fashion. I firmly believe that more men should embrace clutches!

When to carry a clutch: In an informal setting, where you have nothing much to carry i.e a trip to the movies, to the restaurant, etc.

Affordable recommendations (under S$300): Cincinati Leather Clutch, Gnome & Bow Abbey Clutch, Obbi Good Label Clutch, Faire Leather Ross Everyday Clutch

6) Messenger Bags

If you’re still of the opinion that clutches are too feminine, or simply don’t like the idea of clutching it everywhere, then opt for the tried and tested messenger bag instead!

A messenger bag is incredibly versatile – such as this one from Cincinati Leather.

What I love most about a messenger bag is its versatility. While definitely more casual than a briefcase, you might just be able to get away with it in the office if your office has a more relaxed dress code. Off work, the messenger bag is great for a trip to town, or perhaps for a study stint at Starbucks. As compared to a clutch, a messenger bag has significantly more space, and should be able to carry multiple documents and even a small laptop. It’s a choice that would be appropriate in a wide variety of scenarios, and one that you will be able to get the most use of. Everyone should have a messenger bag!

When to carry a messenger bag: It’s appropriate to carry a messenger bag in all but the most formal of situations. A great choice if you like slinging your bag!

Affordable recommendations (under S$300): Cincinati Leather Messenger Bag, Gnome & Bow Thyme Messenger, Obbi Good Label 9981 Hobo-X Bag


That wraps up this article on the 6 types of bags every gentleman should have! In my opinion, each of the aforementioned types above are incredibly useful in certain scenarios, and if you have all 6 bags you should be set for all situations out there. If you don’t have any one of the above, do consider adding them to your bag collection! If taken care well, most bags can last you years, and I assure you it will be a sound investment.

I love my bags – they make for a wonderful accessory.

If you’re wondering where to get affordable bags from, don’t fret! I’ve partnered with multiple local bag brands – Gnome & Bow, Faire Leather, LAVNG, Oxhide Leather, Leatherback Co, Obbi Good Label – all of whom make bags that are great value propositions. I’ve also previously reviewed bags from each of them, so be sure to check out the individual reviews of the brands! For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to get 10-15% off from the aforementioned brands. Now that it is Phase 2, why not get yourself a nice bag to announce your return to work?

View Gnome & Bow’s full range of offerings here.
View Faire Leather’s full range of offerings here.
View LAVNG’s full range of offerings here.
View Oxhide Leather’s full range of offerings here.
View Leatherback Co’s full range of offerings here.
View Obbi Good Label’s full range of offerings here.

P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.