Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 13, 1972 · Page 146
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 146

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 13, 1972
Page 146
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One of the most popular "man bags" is this canvas and leather model, resembling an airline flight bag but with added zippered pouch. Some men find these bags useful, others wouldn't be caught dead with one. NEW YORK, N.Y. H re you ready for this? More and more men throughout major American cities are carrying handbags. "With the kinds of close-fitting suits they're wearing these days," says a sales manager at a fashionable men's store in New York, "they cannot even fit a wallet in their pocket, let alone a pipe, lighter, notebook, and comb. No wonder men have started to carry hand- bags, they've been needing them for years." Made of suede, canvas or leather in earth tones of camel, brown, bone, and black, the "man-bags" range in style from attach^ cases with shoulder straps to bicycle bags. The most popular are modeled after airline travel bags and sell for $16 to $45. "I began carrying a bag last winter on vacation in Italy," says one Wall Street executive.. "I needed something to hold my passport, traveler's checks, sunglasses, and the rest of the gear travelers load themselves down with, so I bought a soft leather bag with a zipper. I didn't feel self-conscious because a lot of men carry bags in Europe. By the time L got back home, I was used to the bag. It seemed to make a lot of sense even in New York, I decided to ignore the occasional smiles I'd get because the bag made things easier for me. Now I see a lot of men doing the same." Hot property--but when? According to Edward Lobdell of H. Margolin, a luggage and handbag manufacturer, the male handbag market has yet to become the hot property that fashion forecasters predicted two years ago. "The key in selling these bags lies with the retailer," he says. "He must display them prominently in a boutique, not keep them under glass. A man is not going to ask a clerk to show him a bag, which, by and large, is still considered women's wear. 'The bags sell well," says Mr. Lobdell, "in communities that are fairly avant-garde in their approach to fashion. In the final analysis, the bags never go unsold. If men don't buy them, women will." Handbags for men are really nothing new. They appeared in such artist colonies as Greenwich Village and the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the late'60's. An outgrowth of school bags and army packs, these bags were essentially homemade shoulder pouches. Italians like it Around 1970 several of the leading Italian fashion houses, including Gucci, designed a leather shoulder bag for men. U.S. buyers picked the style up, but it failed to catch on with prices around the $100 mark. Also the early designs were not masculine looking enough. "We were a little bit ahead of ourselves," explains Ron Binenen of Binenen Davis, a leading luggage manufacturer. 'The time was not ripe a year and a half ago, but today the trend towards street bags for men is growing rapidly." In this era of flowered ties, skinny sweaters, and brightly colored shirts, the handbags are just another indication that men's fashions are becoming more flexible, more fun, and occasionally more functional. All-purpose canvas and leather tote is suitable for manuscripts and This genuine leather bag with lock and* key closely resembles a woman's purse. There's room enough for toiletries and a change of shirt in this suede bag,. 23

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