Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
via Wheelman & Co.. $199.99.
Q: I'm a student who needs an MB bag or backpack of some sort. I have to carry around a laptop and up to two textbooks almost all day. Got any recommendations?
In general, we think that if you're carrying so much stuff you need a backpack, you're carrying too much stuff. But it warms our hearts to hear that there's at least one college left in America that is still making its students read -- or at least carry around -- actual ink-on-paper textbooks. And conveniently, we recently discovered, via Selectism, the Babylon Backpack from Wheelmen & Co.
These days, we see a lot of trophy backpacks, which is to say, backpacks that look great in a photo shoot but quickly become painful when put into actual use. Wheelmen's Babylon backpack combines traditional materials (waxed cotton, leather) with just enough modern comforts (padded shoulder straps, foam back panel) to make it truly functional. It honors tradition without slavishly deifying "heritage."
There. Now you've got both a good backpack recommendation plus a start on your next American Studies essay. How's that for service?
Earlier: A rare Opening Ceremony/Pendleton collaboration that did not almost blind us. In fact, we liked it a lot.
Earlier: We like this prehistoric hippie bag from Jansport.
Q: I have just moved to Shanghai. I need to take the subway for work and if you have ever been to Shanghai before, you will know how crowded it is! I have a currently use a Costume National bag. More like a briefcase. Which is not really suitable for the subway. I need a good shoulder bag that can fit a 15" laptop, notebook, etc. Not too expensive. Functional and not bulky; maybe a mix of leather and canvas? Can you suggest somthing, MB?
A: Yes, we've traveled the Shanghai metro and it's even more crowded, dirty, and smelly than flying coach on U.S. airlines. The bag you need is something from Property Of..., a Singapore-based shop that makes minimally-designed bags with a harmonious mixture of the leather/canvas combo you desire, and small enough not to damage internal organs when you're being squeezed by a billion Chinese, in the same subway car all at once. The only problem is finding them. Keep an eye on Gilt (they were on sale there last week) and boutique men's retailers like Ian in Seattle or Martin Patrick in Minneapolis.
As Malcolm Fontier founders Malcolm Fontier and Gabrielle Kennedy are testing their new line of bags by eating their way across Europe and are now likely busy foraging for grubs in the jungles of Congo, we're giving away their duffel, dubbed the "New Yorker." What do you have to do to enter the contest? Follow MB by midnight CT tonight (Friday, October 29). We'll pick a winner and announce the lucky Bastard (or Spectacular Bitch) on Monday.
Malcolm Fontier founders Malcolm Fontier and Gabrielle Kennedy are promoting their new carry-on, duffel, and tote by using them on a trip from the cafes of Copenhagen to the mud huts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Magnificent Bastard is doing its part from its comfy offices in Wisconsin by giving away the duffel, dubbed the "New Yorker." It holds enough duds for an overnight trip (or weekend jaunt if you pack well) and a laptop, too. It's a $285 value. All you have to do to enter is follow MB. Entry deadline is Friday, October 29 and we'll randomly pick a winner on Monday, November 1. (While Malcolm and Gabrielle may be on an international trip, ya gotta live in the United States to claim this prize.)
Meanwhile, if you're like us and have sent your wallet to a fat farm, their Mojito is an affordable option ($29) that efficiently holds all you need: a couple of cards and few twenties.
A reminder to readers that it's the last day to enter the J. Fold "Trooper" Bag giveaway. Just follow @magbas to enter. On Monday we'll give twitRand(); a whirl to pick the winner. Direct message to that lucky contestant: you're gonna love this bag.
Also, before we're back on the air on Monday, the auction will have ended for a Season 5 Mad Men walk-on role, where the bid currently stands at $16,300. If that's a little rich, this blue Betty Draper dress is bid at $1,805. (FYI, January Jones is a size 2.)
Earlier this year we searched high and low for the fine-looking J. Fold Weekend Bag, but they were so hard to find we dubbed it the Lost J. Fold Weekend Bag. The explanation from the folks at J. Fold was they retired the bag because it usually weighed more than its contents, and convinced us to give the "Trooper" a try instead. Their new weekend model is made from leather and (lighter) coated cotton canvas, with a design based on standard-issue Soviet military bags from the '60s and '70s. While it's certainly not as masculine or elegant as, say, the standard-issue Soviet assault rifle, it's built as solidly as one, and has quickly become our favorite 48-hour road/plane-trip bag.
Why are we telling you all this? Because we've gotten our hands on another J. Fold Trooper Bag and we'd like one comrade to share our experience. No drink recipe or poem required to win this time. All you have to do to enter is follow MB on something called Twitter. Entry deadline is Friday, August 20 and we'll randomly pick a winner on Monday, August 23. (Sorry world, ya gotta live in the United States to claim this prize.)
Bag retail price: $219.00
Big bag pictures:
Ideeli.com is a Gilt wannabe primarily geared towards women and women shopping for their kids, but on Friday, July 2 at 11AM ET they're having a men's (and women's) Mandarina Duck sale. This is really good stuff worth your money. If you'd like an invitation to ideeli.com, here you go:
Q: I just bought an iPad and yeah it's smaller than my laptop but the only way I'm going to fit into my pocket is if I start wearing overalls all the time and that's not a commitment I'm ready to make. So please point me to something I can carry it around in that isn't going to look too much like a murse.
A: Dave, we actually prefer the overalls over the iPad, but it sounds like you're pleased with your purchase and spending most of your time playing iPad Scrabble. Otherwise, you'd know about Temple Bags' leather iPad case ($189), widely heralded on that outdated medium known as the web and currently available here.
About a year ago, we posted about a J. Fold Weekend Bag (top) that was on closeout at Urban Outfitters. When we finally got around to getting one for ourselves, we were disappointed to discover that they were sold out, and we've been regretting our laziness ever since. Especially since we get constant reminders about this bag in the form of Google search queries -- every time the intern checks the stats he reports news of other forlorn souls looking for what we have come to think of as the Lost J. Fold Weekend Bag.
As it turns out, if you look hard enough, there are a few still out there. At Moris Fashions, a menswear store in St. Louis, you can get a Weekend Bag in brown. Via Amazon, you can apparently get one from J. Fold itself in Army Suede. (But act fast, there are only two left.)
We wanted the "Storm Grey" version, however, so we asked J. Fold if there are any for sale anywhere or if the company has plans to produce more. Unfortunately, the answers were no and no.
The good news, however, is that J. Fold has recently released a new bag, The Trooper (bottom), and we'll be reviewing it soon.
Q: I am about to purchase this J. Peterman bag on sale at $298. Do you think it looks MB? It's the 1928 Air Corps Briefcase?
A: In the old days, briefcases were basically desks that you carried around on a leash, and there was a genuine need for all their various compartments, straps, buckles, and such. Now? There's no reason for all that stuff -- they're Snuggies for your laptop. While we typically endorse a senseless lack of utility here, that's not quite the same thing as decor posing as functionality. Unless you're an archaelogist moonlighting as an office supplies salesperson, we say go with something simpler and definitely less shiny, like this messenger bag by John Varvatos.
Lately we've been seeing backpacks so technical it looks like the wearer is either about to make a run at Everest or preparing to jump out of a plane.
Enter Jansport Heritage -- particularly the Wayback -- a bag designed by two hippies in 1969. We can think of no better pedigree, because let's face it, if you were a hippie in 1969 and you were spending your free time inventing backpacks instead of getting stoned with George Harrison and balling nubile runaways from Topeka, well, you had to really like backpacks!
At the same time, you wouldn't waste a lot of effort creating tiny little compartments, weird loops only a French alpinist could decipher, and various other "functional" ornamentation -- because George wanted to get stoned. And those runaways were pretty cute.
There are two straps, two zippers, and two compartments -- a big one for your weed and a small one for everything else. Beyond that, what else do you really need?
via Opening Ceremony. $82.00.
Q: Hello MB, love your website.
Topic: MB approved bags for bicycling. According to my girlfriend all backpacks are nerdy though they are ok for actual backpacking. So I'm looking for a magnificent, somewhat practical and non-bikecourierlooking bike bag... Any tips?
Greetings from snow buried Estonia,
A: Hello Siim,
While many cyclists prefer to let their bikes carry the load, we have no problem throwing on a backpack when doing our part to save the environment from one more godawful Prius. We also favor a traditional backpack design over a messenger bag. Minimalism has its place, but not when our latissimus dorsi is involved, and two straps are better than one.
That said, the most comfortable backpacks tend to involve a little too much cordura and Oakleyesque styling for our liking -- we prefer the more archaic approach of this Pendleton/Opening Ceremony bag, which, while lacking the padding of some more contemporary designs, completely alleviates the psychological pain that comes with knowing you have chosen to sacrifice style for comfort. No one will ever accuse you of that while wearing this.
In the event that you are looking for a one-strap solution, we recommend the Minnehaha Canvas Shoulder Bag. Made of natural materials, designed by people who ride bikes in the snow; we think it will look great in Estonia.
We dig almost anything Ennio Capasa's Costume National does, and his accessories are no exception. His entire Spring 2009 collection is 60% off, including these three bags that, while still relatively expensive, you won't see slung across anyone else's shoulder.
via eBags.com. $85.00.
Q: I'm a college kid that has recently started working. I need a bag that I can take to work that's small -- to carry stuff like my mp3 player, headphones, a sandwich, and my water bottle. For the past few months, I've been using the Briggs & Riley Map Bag (in black), here. Is this MB? I don't want a full size messenger or a briefcase because I'm not really carrying that much stuff. Suggestions?
A: A map bag? Are you planning an invasion?
This looks a little man-pursey to us, though you've chosen wisely from the Briggs & Riley collection. The rest of it has a fatal case of Tumi-itus. But why the bag in the first place? What MP3 player is so big it needs a bag? You can slip a small, cell phone-like device into the front pocket of your pants or the interior pocket of your blazer (the preferred MB method) and you're good to go. Carrying a sandwich around with you all day is a health hazard, a style faux pas, and technologically obsolete -- just make sure your device of choice has an app to find the nearest restaurant. And also an app to find the nearest drinking fountain.
I am looking for the quintessential Dopp kit for my world travels. Is the answer leather or nylon? Love the site.
A: Mr. Leisure, if you're checking bags you should go with the quintesential Dopp kit: a real Dopp kit (top, $60). It's leather, so it satisfies the organic materials principle, and will easily fit into your steamer trunk, with room to spare for your hat box.
If you're carrying on then space is at a premium, and while it's unfortunately not from a cow's hide, we're really, really liking this "kailua" case (bottom, $45) from Malcolm Fontier. Just enough room for the essentials, and thanks to Richard Reid, you can't put your lotion and shaving cream in there anyhow.
via Urban Outfitters. $199.99.
Urban Outfitters' sale page has been the pits for over a year now, however there is a gem hidden amongst the graphic tees and cheap cardigans: a J. Fold weekend bag. We're huge fans of their wallets and their bags are (almost) as cool.
Q: A male friend of mine has been looking for a weekend/overnight bag for a while with no luck. To quote him exactly, "I need a quality overnight bag/case, for planes and the car, sort of fashionable and available online? Is there something I should be looking at?" Naturally I am concerned for him, since he needs to be as magnificent as possible, but nothing I've found so far seems to suit him. Are you up to the task?
A: Let's hope he's spending a bit more time in automobiles and trains than planes, because finding affordable, stylish wheeled cabin luggage is a full-time job and should be part of Obama's stimulus package. Based on the size of his wallet, here are some suggestions:
Top: F1 Spacepak Weekend. $62.50 (on sale). Flight 001's house brand is high quality, functional, affordable, and looks cool. Can you tell we're fans? For short jaunts this bag (1/2 price!) will not disappoint.
Middle: Puma Black/Walnut Wood Cargo Bag. $225.00. Puma's "Urban Mobility" fabric/wood combo bags turn heads, and are even somewhat useful, too.
Bottom: Etro Duffel. $510.00 (on sale). If your "friend" is feeling flush, this Etro duffel from The Corner is also 1/2 price and might well last into old age.