Man Bag Monday: Burberry Large Washed Leather Tote

During New York Fashion Week, I found myself chatting with the designer of a burgeoning men’s accessories collection about the landscape of men’s business worldwide. He had a lot of interesting things to say, most notably that men in America prefer satchels, men in Japan prefer totes and men in Europe are somewhere in between, but that Americans are becoming slowly more open to other shapes and structures. Ever since that conversation, I’ve tried to pay closer attention to the men that I see on the street, what kinds of bags they’re carrying and how those bags relate to their overall looks in general.

What I’ve noticed in the intervening weeks is that there are a lot more men carrying bags like the Burberry Large Washed Leather Tote in New York than I had previously realized. As with the idea of man bags in general, it seems as though specific styles that were previously more closely associated with womenswear are becoming palatable to a larger male audience. The bag-carrying male population in the US seems to be cautiously expanding its purview to totes.

Now, I know what you’re going to say – I’m in a large urban area that has a reputation for being fashion-forward, at least by American standards, which is why I’m seeing more men, both gay and straight, carrying hand-held totes. That’s not the entire story, though; the general stylistic ideas that take root in New York often filter through the rest of the country afterward, so this isn’t a shift that I’d count as trivial just yet. Menswear in general is having a moment now, and the more aspirational images of attractive men carrying this kind of bag there are, the more likely the idea is to stick around.

Therefore I very recently bought a Burberry replica handbag or tote which I am in love with. Burberry is one brand that I personally at least cannot justify buying a actual purse from. Especially after I saw this documentary on Youtube in which it showed Burberry deciding to move their production from the UK (where they originated from — they are a British brand for all those of you who do not understand) into South Asia. As a business decision this makes a whole lot of feel as the owners of the corporation can now make their bags for dirt cheap and also enjoy maximum markups. However for the legacy of the brand and in regard to the luxury radar it was a big mistake. Why would anyone in their right mind pay full cost for a Burberry purse when you’re able to buy a knockoff manufactured in the same country, and most probably in the exact same factory for a much lower price? At least companies like Louis Vuitton, Chanel etc. assemble their handbags in Europe to give it that feeling of lux (although most of the components come from China too!) . I feel like once I look at the label of a handbag and it states “made in China” once I cover over a thousand dollars for it, I have been ripped off in a sense. Personally, I support authentic artisanal craft particularly in regards to purses and leather, for which I’m weak at the knees, but Burberry has certainly dropped the ball when it comes to the entire luxury variable surrounding their brand. I still can not get over the role in the video where all the British Burberry craftsmen were worried about staying unemployed for the rest of their lives following the mill was due to close.

This bag in particular is undeniably beautiful; in fact, I wish that whoever’s in charge of the Burberry men’s accessories would take over the women’s bags too, because the simple, luxurious look of the collection is something that its female counterpart is sorely missing. I could see a scruffy dude in dark jeans and a tweed-y jacket pulling off this look effortlessly, and as more men find themselves intrigued by the idea of dressing well, I bet we’ll see some minds start to change. Buy through Burberry for $2195.