Vintage Style Man Bags

That Dapper Chap answers a question about man bags, sent by a blog reader, and features some of his favorites available right now.

A couple of days ago I received an email from a blog reader asking me if I had done any product reviews on man bags, I won’t go into detail about he asked, I’ll let you read his email below:

Yours truly, never without a man bag

Hi Craig,

Greetings from across the pond. I love your style, enjoy reading your blog and your reviews. I recently returned from a trip to Europe and noticed everyone (ok well mostly everyone) had a manbag. I love man bags, have you reviewed any or are there any that fit in with your vintage style? I love that in your reviews you mention you are on a budget, as I’ve read several fashion blogs and always felt I needed to spend top dollar on everything (and they never mention themselves on a budget) and I have to live on one! . Keep up the great work and looking forward to reading more of your reviews!



Hi Chris, thank you for your email, while I haven’t yet carried out any product reviews on any man bags, I am a fan. As our lives get busier and technology dictates our need to be available and interacting socially every minute of the day, we all need somewhere to keep our phones, laptop, iPad, MP3 player and our lunch (we still eat right? They haven’t replaced food with technology I hope!)

My trusty John Rocha leather satchel

Yes, I am on a budget, just like the other 99% of ‘real’ blokes out there. I don’t have illusions of grandeur and don’t pretend to have a spare thousand pounds to throw at the latest louis Vuitton messenger bag. If I have a thousand pounds, trust me, it’s going on a holiday. A holiday where I shall pack my stuff in a functional and sensibly priced bag that does what it needs to do but still looks the part!

You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to look good. This is something I’ve always been passionate about and something I hope I prove every day via my Instagram account.

If you’re looking for a bag with a vintage or heritage look a satchel is great. Used by school children the world over you’ll see images of children being evacuated during the war with their satchel in tow. 

A great vintage look, maybe loose the wellington boots if you want to recreate this
look for yourself!

Originating in Roman times the Satchel has made a welcome return and I now own a few, one being an original old school satchel which I bought via Ebay complete with the owners name and childish scribbled on the inside.

My battered vintage school satchel

The bag needs to not only look good but it must be functional and offer some versatility. Choosing one with a shoulder strap and a grab handle means that you can wear it across your body for extra safety or when you’re carrying other things, and the grab handle allows you to do just that and ‘grab’ the thing when you need to dash off the tube after almost missing your stop (yes, I have done that)

You’ll need pockets too to keep things organised, so bare all this in mind when you’re choosing. It has to work for you.

So, all that said I have picked out a few of my favourite satchels and man bags that are currently available and keeping that budget in mind I’ve kept them all around or under £200.

Me with my black leather satchel

The ASOS Black Faux Leather Satchel

Starting at the very lowest price range I think this contrast satchel in black & brown faux leather looks the part.

Also available in brown, it’s a bargain at just £25.00. Buy yours HERE

Leather-look fabric

Distressed finish

Two tone design

Fold over front 

Pin buckle strap

Removable, adjustable strap

Grab handle

Zipped inner pocket

70% Polyurethane, 30% Polyvinylchloride

H: 25.5cm/10″ W: 37cm/15″ D: 13cm/5″

The Next Brown Satchel

Next up and a little further up the budget price range we have another faux leather example from Next. It’s very traditional in design and will fit a vintage style perfectly. It even has a small panel to write your name if you get lost! At just £40 you can buy yours HERE

Buckle fastening

Removable strap

Front pocket

Inside zip pocket for small items

100% polyurethane.

Lining 100% polyester.

25 x 39.5 x 14 cm.

The Next Leather Briefcase

So, moving slightly up the scale we now have a genuine leather example. Again from Next, it’s from their Signature range. This tan leather briefcase is good value at £125 and can be found HERE

Adjustable and removable shoulder strap

Designed with two main compartments

Stationary section

Front pocket. 

Tan Leather

36 x 46 x 8 cm approx.

The Ted Baker KANTOO Bag

This is the most expensive bag I’ve featured but I love it so much I would consider paying the £215 price tag.

From its tonal leather down to its buckle detailing, this smart satchel with a coloured tag and geometric print lining is a style to hold in high regard this season. Get yours HERE

Two-tone leather

Top handle

Shoulder strap

Buckle detailing

Printed lining

Internal and external zip pockets

Contrast luggage tag

Ted Baker branded

Shell: 100% Bovine Leather

Lining: 100% Polyester

H29.2cm x W38.1cm x D9cm

The River Island Blue Satchel

Back down the price scale I really like this blue faux leather bag from River Island. A steal at £35.00, it’s a really styling addition to your armoury. Available HERE it looks like it cost ten times more than it does.

Leather-look outer

Matte, textured finish

Flap top with pin buckle straps

Front pouch pocket

Grab handle

Adjustable cross body strap

Internal zip pocket

100% Polyurethane

H: 28cm/11″ W: 35cm/14″

The River Island Brown Satchel

Next up we have the River Island brown satchel, again, not leather but it has a great heritage feel. get yours HERE for a snip at £35.00

Textured, leather-look outer

Flap top opening

Twin pin buckle straps

Front pouch pocket

Adjustable shoulder strap

Internal zip pocket

Do not wash

100% Polyurethane

The Hammond & Co Briefcase

Last but not least, I am in love with this Hammond & Co satchel by Patrick Grant. This designer brown leather clasp briefcase is available at Debenhams for £155 HERE

One internal popper pocket

Three internal pouches

One internal zip pocket

Grab handle

Clasp fastening

Outer: 100% leather

Lining: 100% polyester

HWD: 28 x 38 x 7cm

So, Chris, thanks once again for your question. I hope I’ve inspired you to go and buy that man bag. If you do decide to go ahead and purchase one, drop me a line and let me know. Also don’t be shy, post a picture to Instagram and #thatdapperchap and @that_dapper_chap so I can see it!


Chap Chat – Accessorising a plain suit

That Dapper Chap talks to Desmond about making that plain suit less dull.

I often get messages from gentlemen via my Instagram page asking various questions and advice about mens fashion and what to wear. Last week I had an email from Desmond and I thought I’d share his question and my reply with you.

Desmond in his plain black suit

Hi Craig,

This is Desmond of desmondckc on Instagram. I am a Hong Kong university student who will start an internship soon in a bank. As you may be aware of, I am a fan of a suit. Yet I have some problems in choosing suits for my work, and I hope I could seek your kind help in this personal matter.

In Hong Kong, officewear, especially for a junior, is always a black suit. To wear a black suit, I would like to make it less boring by wearing ties, socks and watches of different colors. But I am not sure what color fits best. Black, grey and navy are all that I could think of, which matches a black suit, meanwhile not looking too senior. Do you think these colors are appropriate? 

I am not sure if it is acceptable for a junior to have a tie with a monochrome pattern like polka dots and squares. 

Also I find brown shoes weird with a black suit, or is it normal?

I also have a grey suit, and my choices of colors for the accessories are green (emerald), navy and black. What are your comments?

I know these questions may be bothering you, but I find you an appropriate mentor through your posts and would like to consult you for professional advice. I hope I am not disturbing you from your busy agenda.

Thank you.



Hi Desmond,

Thanks you for your email and also for your continued support for my page.

Firstly, looking at your Instagram page, I can see that you are a very stylish young man and that you take your style very seriously. You have some very nice items!

You mentioned that you find wearing brown shoes with a black suit ‘weird’ I have to agree, and it is a pet hate of mine! I’ll happily wear brown shoes with a navy or brown suit but never with black or grey.

It is sometimes difficult to make a plain black suit your own. But the first thing to say is that it should fit well. I’d suggest a slim fit suit, one that hugs your body and sits perfectly on the wrists and ankles. 

well fitted slim fit suits by Moss Bros £179, £249 and £199 
Badly fitted suits can make people take you less seriously

An ill fitting suit, no matter how expensive will always look dreadful while a well fitted suit will show that you mean business. If your suits don’t fit perfectly, take them to a tailor or seamstress and get them altered. Even a very inexpensive suit can look great if it is tailored to fit the wearer. Go for something with a bit of stretch so that it doesn’t crease while sitting at your desk all day and also to help with the fit.

Wool slim fit suits by Frank Tailor at £125

Now to make that well fitted plain suit your own! Being totally British, I do not know a huge amount about the culture in your country and the expectations of a junior and what he should wear to a bank. I would suggest that you start on the more conservative side and stick with the colour palette that you’ve suggested. Black, grey and navy are all good, classic colours for a corporate environment. 

Accessories by Frank Tailor Socks and a red knitted tie

You can add personality with your accessories. Would a lapel pin be acceptable? Maybe choose a pocket square to match it and a knitted tie. All of these will inject some individuality and over time as you become more aware of what is acceptable in your new environment you can try new things, new colours and textures. 

Polka dot navy accessories will go well with a grey, black or navy suit

You mentioned watches in your email. Have you considered the Timex weekender or the Daniel Wellington watch where you can change the straps? That way you have the versatility to wear the same watch every day but change the strap to match your outfit or colour accent.

Watches with Nato straps add colour to an outfit. Daniel Wellington, Simon Carter and Timex

I think that green would look great with a grey suit. How about a white shirt with a green knitted tie (maybe with white polka dots) a green pocket square, a green nato strap on your Timex watch and green and grey striped socks. This will look both professional and individual. So long as the look is acceptable to your company you can’t go wrong.

Green accessories

Yellow would also work but I would suggest a paler yellow rather than a very bright one. Navy accessories would also work so long as it is a dark grey suit and not a light one.  

Yellow accessories
In the pink!

I hope this helps and I look forward to seeing how you dress your looks soon on your instagram feed.

Thanks for your question


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