The shoulder bag that men over 25 can actually wear


“Good Things” is Esquire’s celebration of the best things you can buy, courtesy of our editors’ personal endorsements. “Best” doesn’t mean the most expensive, and it won’t just be clothes (although that’s kind of our vibe). Just know that when you see the Good Things logo, it has the Esquire seal of approval.

Men’s fashion can cause a more ruinous and unsettling existential crisis than any conversation with someone born after 1999. Because dressing, ultimately, is a personal plinko; a bump to the left can be a million, but too far, and you’re a sobbing loser comforted by Danny Dyer on a bad BBC game show (The wall, if you are interested). But instead of being down $50,000, you try too hard; the middle-aged man unable to pull off the equipment of his successors, the Stüssed emerged geriatric with sadness in his eyes. This is the existential side. And nowhere was the internal conflict more intense than in my quest for a shoulder bag.

Not travel, luxury, BA Lounge shoulder bags with a Damier Louis Vuitton print or a Dior monogram. These are for fashionable adults who refuse to share their favorite Greek island for fear it will be spoiled. No. I needed an everyday shoulder bag that could survive squeaky pubs, long walks, short vacations, who knows, maybe even a festival (the absolute no man’s land of crises existential generations). The only problem was that these shoulder bags were rare among my contemporaries. They were meant to be aimed at 24-year-old account assistants who get very little sleep on weekends and 28-year-olds who provide the right ingredients for such sleep deprivation.


Classic Kiwi Bum Bag



Could I, a 31-year-old fridge magnet collector who cherishes 10 hours of sleep, indulge in such a thing? Yes. Because, like most menswear, not all shoulder bags are created equal, especially when they come from Craghoppers.

You may have heard of it: a hard-working, functional hiking brand that really caters to serious hikers. Her “kiwi classic” shoulder bags are actually fanny packs; this staple of overseas retirees who need a safe space for travelers checks and statins. There is plenty of room. It is available in one of three solid colors. It’s uncomplicated, functional, and unlike those going through a midlife crisis, it doesn’t try too hard. What’s more, it’s only around £15, a remarkable feat when bits of blue chips can reach three or four figures.


Classic Kiwi Bum Bag



That doesn’t mean it’s boring. It just goes to show that sensible brands can tap into less sensitive trends at a more sensitive time in your life. Also, Craghoppers is not part of the gorpcore revival. It’s just gorp in its purest form. That the whole one-to-two Eurohiker area has gone cool is pure coincidence for a brand founded in 1965. Plus, I didn’t feel particularly silly with this shoulder bag. There’s something slightly hellish about a 31-year-old man with a tie-dye raver bag he bought at Coachella; minus a repurposed fanny pack from a brand beloved by South Downs hikers.

After all, age shouldn’t prohibit dressing the way you like. They just have to choose the right one. And while the plinko board isn’t always guaranteed to fall in your favor, a pure and healthy trail brand will certainly get the ball rolling – and the sling bag – rolling in the right direction, slump-free.

About Allen L. Campbell

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