Messenger bags need very little introduction. They are everywhere in an urban setting these days. As far as style options are concerned, they’re one of the original hipster staples. Messenger bags are a safe bet, when it comes to selecting a bag that’s both practical and cool. They come in various sizes, but are typically large enough to accommodate a man's most frequently used possessions—to his course books, to his MacBook Air and Beats by Dre headphones.
Men’s messenger bags came back into style about a decade ago, when they virtually invaded cities all around the globe, from London and Milan, to NYC and Seattle, to Tokyo and Sydney. But where do they come from historically? What sizes and materials do they come in? And, as most guys would be prone to ask—how are they best worn? Today’s article tries to answer all those questions, so just read on to find out.
The definition of a messenger bag as the name suggests is a style of bag, originally designed for carrying postal messages. It comes with a long strap, to be worn across the body or the shoulder, and it can be designed in a wide range of materials. More often than not, it is made out of goat leather because it strong resistant and yet light weight.
Messenger bags also go by a handful of other names, including carryalls, and courier bags. As mentioned they were initially used for carrying letters and other postal dispatches, even as early on as ancient times. Among others, bike couriers and Pony Express staff were the first to carry messenger bags. And nowadays in the USA, some couriers of the Royal Mail use oversized messenger bags instead of regular Postbags.
The first modern messenger bag was actually the bag worn by utility linemen in the 1950s. It was designed by the De Martini Global Canvas Company and its purpose was to accommodate all the tools that linemen needed when going up utility poles to fix them. The initial messenger bag was made of cotton canvas and lined with waterproof fabric. The shoulder strap was also made of cotton and webbed, the bag closed with two straps and it also had a pocket on the inside for invoices. These bags were not sold in stores, but issued to and by various messenger companies based in New York.
Globe Canvas was the main bag supplier for most such companies in New York during the 70s and 80s. Back then, messengers received the bags from their employers and you could tell who worked for whom only by the color of their bag. The De Martini bag got a facelift in 1984, when John Peters first made it nylon and added binding, as well as buckles and light-reflective stripes. And so, with these simple additions, the fashion craze for messenger bags begun. It’s worth noting that before these bags specifically made for bike riders emerged, fashion brands manufactured similar products modeled after map case bags used by the military. They have been in use for over one hundred years now.
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Along with the tighter clothes, I seem to be carrying more and more each day. My wallet is always filled with cards, cash and other other bits and bobs. My mobile phone is not the smallest piece of equipment either, and my keys are bulky and really irritating when storing in the pockets of some tight trousers. And do not get me started on the case for my glasses. There has to be a solution to carrying around all of this bulky gear, right? Even for us fellas?