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Man Purse

Hit or Miss

Man Purse

During the short time I’ve been in New York, I have discovered that I have more stuff to carry around (subway map, Ipod, Clie, digital camera, hand sanitizer, breath mints, etc) than will fit comfortable in my pockets. At the same time, it isn’t so much stuff as to require my bulky shoulder bag everywhere I go. Basically, I need a man purse.

I’ve made constant fun of Mike and his fannypack, but I have to admit it comes in handy. I saw a hot guy on the subway last night who this great small vertical (rather than horizontal) messenger bag, but I was too shy to ask him where he got it (did I mention he was hot?).

After looking around on the web, I’ve discovered Manhattan Portage, which sells a bunch of bags in a variety of shapes and colors. Maybe Model 1414 is what I’m looking for.

UPDATE: I stopped by their store after my staff meeting today and spent 40 minutes zipping / unzipping and trying on all their bags.

Because my bulky shoulder bag has been killing my back (the strap broke a few months ago and I replaced it with a lightweight one that isn’t really up to the task), I ended up replacing it with Model 1457 — which is a more manageable size (it’s about the size of a binder). I guess I’m not quite hip enough to feel comfortable carrying anything smaller.

11 responses so far (Respond)


I have a friend who swears by his Prada man purse. Of course, he refers to the accessory as his “man sack.” Always good for a conversation starter. Cue the jokes!

Jase | 5 Aug 2003

Portage is the default man purse manufacturer for all of Manhattan, I think. And yep, a purse is an essential.

Anil Dash | 5 Aug 2003

Don’t look at just the regular shops. Also try the resale shops and army surplus. My… uh, man sack… is an old army medic bag I picked up for a couple bucks at a surplus shop.

Jason | 5 Aug 2003

Yeah, I ended up spending more than just a couple of bucks. I’ve never paid that much for a bag before, but it’s exactly what I was looking for and I’m too tired of traipsing around the city comparing products every time I try to buy something.

Matt | 5 Aug 2003

When I’m traveling, I always carry a small camera bag (Tamrac Explorer II) that’s about the same dimensions as a typical purse. Because it has my cameras and lenses that I’d rather not have lost or stolen, I take it everywhere (including places like restaurants where I would never think of opening it to use a camera). I don’t feel the slightest bit self-conscious about carrying something that looks like purse, possibly because I know it’s not a purse. But sometimes I wonder what other people think when they see me carrying it.

All seriousness aside, I think the “man purse” is too useful to pass up. But somehow I don’t think I could convince myself to buy and use one, even though it’s not much different from my camera bag.

Ted | 5 Aug 2003

I think you made an excellent choice. I’ve been trying to track down the perfect manbag for years now, and I’ve realized that anything too small to hold a flat magazine or 9×12 envelope makes it almost impossible to run errands, since there’s never quite enough room to stow things away in an emergency. That binder size is a very lovely solution.

Sparky | 6 Aug 2003

Man bags (down under). They’re a great idea, and there was a two page spread about them in our Sunday papers a couple of weeks ago, as a fashion accessory. I’ve got a canvas type briefcase thingy which works well. The trick is to get into a habit so you won’t forget it when you put it down on a bus, in a bar, cafe, etc.

Morrie | 6 Aug 2003

Matt–I just ordered the MP model 1414 manpurse (I need something to carry a couple of books and a light lunch to school every day) plus a cell phone holder (which I’m going to keep my *camera* in–you know I hate the cell phones). I never would have known where to begin looking without your link to Manhattan Portage, so muchas gracias!

Max | 23 Aug 2003

yes – http://www.manbag.com is a great site. i got an axible and it’s great for PDAs

Bruce | 5 Oct 2003

Swing Your Bag
Matt has finally shamed me into ditching my fanny pack in favor of a real messenger bag — though it’s…

useless! worthless! insipid! | 6 Aug 2003