For the Love of Man Bags: Banana Republic Zipper-Top Tote

This is my Banana Republic tote (as mentioned here) – the latest addition to my collection. What I love about this is that it’s actually a woman’s purse – or should I say, it was arbitrarily merchandised that way. Consider that another cause I’ve taken up – the arbitrary sexing of gender-neutral merchandise. As I was leaving the store the other day my boss (a man), said to me that he hadn’t considered the bag’s potential as a “cool men’s bag.” And I was like, I know you didn’t, but I did because I’m amazing. No, I didn’t say that. But I thought it. What gets to me about labeling an item as standard as a leather tote “men’s” or “women’s” is the lost profit potential. If this were offered to guys I think it would sell more – but not as currently merchandised. Offering it as a unisex piece would bring in at least fashion-forward dudes, but sexing it scares off any potential manvestors (a man who invests in the bag – get it?) who would fear someone pointing and shouting, “Ah! That is a women’s bag, it says so on that sign! Shame to your family!” So join me in the fight against this terrible mis-merchandising and celebrate the ambisexual potential of all bags!

Speaking of Banana Republic, my last day there is one week from tomorrow because, drumroll please…I’m the new Women’s Team Leader at Urban Outfitters! Excitement. What this means is that:
1) I have a job.
2) I have a company-wide discount. Stay tuned for massive Anthropologie hauls!

I’m also currently working with Low Vintage on a new logo design and some ads, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated once they’re out and about in the city 🙂

ALSO ALSO: For those of you who want more travel in your life and less man purse, visit my friend Meredyth’s awesome new blog about her life in Malaysia. She is a stunning writer and will probably get a book deal after her adventure is done and I’m jealous. But also supportive!

Have a great weekend, readers~


8 thoughts on “For the Love of Man Bags: Banana Republic Zipper-Top Tote

  1. congrats on the job! but what exactly does a women’s team leader do?? is that a dumb question? haha but it sounds like a job my bff would love to do too!

    • Assist the manager with stuff…sell people things…the usual? It’s not a dumb question! It’s def an ambiguous title haha, but I guess it’s a step up from a sales associate and a step down from an assistant manager, if they had those?

  2. Pingback: Getting Dressed: Spring Is In The Air « Kankan

  3. I bought this bag the other day at Banana Republic and just went online to see if it was popular and badda boom here this is.
    One thing, is the bag much softer then it looks in these photos, It actually is almost like soft fabric that way it drops in, The piece under your arm pit actually falls in. In these pictures it does not give it the recognition it deserves. Since it is so soft, the last thing I would think of is it being a man purse. To me a man purse should be a little tougher and not so soft.

    I personally think this bag belongs in the women department as intended. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time but walking down the street I dont think it will give others the impression you want.

    Its soft and feminine but man tote, nope. Go for the firmer leather guys and leave this one for us. 🙂

    • Michelle: Interesting point, but many men’s bags (neé “purses”) are made of soft leather such as lambskin – Rick Owens has a few super slouchy styles in this material and I myself have a lambskin bag from Chinese men’s line Croquis. This bag is a soft cow’s leather. A men’s bag doesn’t need to be made of a stiff leather – it’s a personal preference. I understand your confusion though and you’re right, it is marketed as a women’s bag – I’m just saying that it isn’t particularly feminine and I don’t really care what “impression” it leaves people on the street with!

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