The Butch Bag- Not Your Girlfriend’s Purse

The closer I get to thirty, and the longer I remain baby-faced, the more I try to to look like an adult. Here’s a tip for you all– nothing says “I’m still in high school” like a backpack.

A few years ago my Mom got me a beautiful Kenneth Cole camel colored shoulder bag. I loved that thing. I loved it so much, I set out to beat the ever-living crap out of it by carrying it with me on the Boston subway (gross), the Boston public buses (grosser), and into the hospital I work at (grossest). I thought that the years of abuse would give the leather a nice, vintage feel (as time tends to do to good leather). Unfortunately, it just ended up looking like a Goodwill special. For that reason, this Christmas, I invested in a Jack Spade military briefcase.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, in its better days.

This is the Kenneth Cole bag I have, its better days.

My advice to you is this; ditch the backpack, Bieber, lest you want to look like a Red Bull smuggling punk.

My bro (see my earlier post “How to Have a Bromance with Your Girlfriend’s Ex”) turned me on to these sexy little things by my guy Jack Spade.


Here are some other backpack-replacements we love!


B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

B has that awesome bag from JCrew.

Clearly, we love Jack. No. Love doesn’t seem to do our feelings justice. But if you don’t want to shell out $200 for a messenger bag (and I can’t say I blame you), you can find some killer knockoffs at H&M, or even, yes, American Eagle, all for way under $100.

I admit, I still own a backpack. It’s a simple, black North Face backpack I bought when I moved to the city, thinking it might be better for trucking my textbooks across campus in the middle of winter. But I try to refrain from using it, except for something like a flight where I need a little extra space in my second carry on. ¬†Because, believe me, it makes me look like a member of One Direction, and God knows I don’t need any help with that one.

If you must carry a backpack still, do it like this (from Herschel):

Herschel Backpack

And finally, fellow accessorizers (and also, fellow-accessorizers), don’t count out your weekend bag. It’s only been in the last year (when I was shlepping my clothes back and forth to my girlfriend’s place every couple of nights) that I realized the importance of a nice duffle. Don’t just use that ratty old gym bag that smells like last month’s spin class. No really… please don’t. The other subway passengers will thank you. Try one of these on for size (but, actually, that’s the best part about bag shopping… they all fit):


Bottom line, bags aren’t just for your girlfriend. My bro and I are pretty much obsessed with new bags, and would probably buy a new one every week, if we could. I use my Jack Spade brief case as the ultimate butch purse. It holds my iPad mini, a couple of paperback books, 14 different kinds of chapstick (okay, so I lose them… a lot), gum, and other such essentials. Use it like a pocket book. Bring it with you wherever you go. Just don’t fill it up with junk (month old Dunkin Donuts receipts are not considered essential every day accessories, guys).

Trust us… a little bit of Jack can make a big difference.




  1. I’m old enough to be confident wearing a backpack. I’ve got four. Yup, one for dress up, a black Alta Dena leather bottom retro one. One for the gym, one for work, and one for the green market (a pack made out of basket material). I’ve tried messenger bags, but they bisect my breasts in a weird way and I like to keep my arms free. But I did like that first Jack Spade.

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