The Curious History of the Man Bag

Will you be traveling this year? If, perchance you find yourself in Amsterdam between March 11th and August 27th, you might want to stop by the Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses. It claims to be the largest museum of its kind in the world and is situated in a beautiful canal house in Amsterdam’s historic canal ring. The collection contains more than 5,000 bags and purses dating back to the 16th century, including one of Margaret Thatcher’s purses as well as the Versace bag that Madonna carried to the premiere of Evita.

All very interesting on its own, but this month the museum is unveiling a special, new exhibit called It’s a Men’s World. The exhibit explores the history of the “man bag” and its inevitable resurgence in popular culture.

You see, up until the 17th century, men’s purses and bags were attached to their belts, but the advent of inner and outer pockets in menswear eventually replaced the need for man to have a bag. That was fine in the days when a man only carried a wallet and a set of keys, but now a pocket is not enough when you’re carrying a laptop, water bottle, gloves, sports gear, earbuds and various other gadgets and gizmos. A man needs a bag!

The exhibit is organized by themes of Hunting, Wall Street, Sport and Travel and looks to be most enlightening. Well worth a visit, we think.

After all, the man bag is nothing new, but by looking back in time we often get a glimpse of what’s yet to come.

Put your best foot forward. Shop for accessories at Hugh & Crye.

The Curious History of the Man Bag
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