Monday, April 18, 2011

100 Bags and Counting

I'm one of those metros that can never seem to satisfy my thirst for the ultimate metrosexual accessory, commonly known as the man-purse. Like most of my kind, rarely do I maintain a long-term sense of satisfaction with any bag. This eventual emotional detachment is what I believe causes metros to intensify their financial investment with every new bag purchase. This fact, coupled with evolving trends, tastes, and varying job titles, can only lead to a life with a 100 bags and counting.

If you haven't figured out by now—spoiler alert—yes, this article is about a recent bag purchase. Now I wouldn't say that the sole motivation behind this acquisition was an emotional detachment to my current bag (but truth be told, like all flings, the man-bag relationship can’t last forever). Rather, the true driver behind this latest sartorial quest, was the need to carry around my new gadget-of-the-day, a net-book. (Though this particular portable has been coined a “not-book” by Engadget reviewers, I’ll suppress my instincts and save that conversation for another post. Now, back to the story.) I needed a bag to satisfy not only my evolving fashion and professional needs but also my ever-growing tech collection. I wanted something that had a sophisticated yet youthful style and a completely utilitarian design, something that would protect my investment with a little space leftover for accessories.

If price were no object, the Burberry Medium Beat Check Nylon Crossbody bag would be the ideal. Unlike most high-end, luxury goods where conspicuous wallpaper-like branding and logo placement is the norm, Burberry’s male accessories line maintains design restraint, a modest reworking of their classic plaid motif into a soft, monochromatic color palette. However, the Burberry name comes at a hefty price tag, which was a little too extravagant to justify in this instance.

Then, my adventure brought me to an old and forgotten friend named Jack Spade. For the sartorially challenged, Jack Spade is not an actual person but rather the brain child of Andy Spade, whose wife is the very fashionable Kate Spade. I guess “Andy Spade” didn't test well with marketing. Self described:

JACK SPADE designs bags, wallets and clothing that work simply, age well and retain a sense of style.” 

Historically I have found Jack Spade’s designs to be a little too uneventful. Sure, the construction is solid and the design is classic and simple, yet the items always lacked that little extra something to justify their price point. Now my reconciliation with Jack Spade could signal two possible turn-of-events: either (A) I have become more conservative or (B) they have spiced up their offerings. I would like to believe that it was a little bit of both. Their current collection still adheres to the “keep it simple” motto, but now items are available in an exciting material that not only adds that little extra something, but also meets my aesthetic prerequisites—waxware. 

Waxware is a fine cotton canvas soaked in a centuries-old paraffin formula originally developed for sailcloth. One very unique quality to this treatment is how it ages with time, allowing the abrasive moments in life to be endured and captured in the finish. If by chance, showcasing those moments to the world isn’t your cup of tea , then some quick work with a hair dryer is all that’s needed to restore the material back to its original finish.

While the design elements of the bag have stayed firmly planted in the classic Jack Spade canon, by smartly swapping out their standard canvas for waxware they have pushed the bags from “simple” to “simply noticeable”. However this wondrous material is not offered on all of their bag designs. In fact, it is only offered on just a handful. And to add insult to injury, the waxware is available in only a few color options. So basically, if you have a specific purpose in mind, these limitations may help make your bag decision for you. This was certainly true in my case. I opted with the Jack Spade Waxware Computer File Case in the only color currently available, grey (which looks more like a rustic baby blue).

To say the least, this adventure was not without a few leaps of faith. I have no idea why, but there are no “non product-shot” photos of this bag on the Internet. Other than the listed measurement specs, there are no images showing it to scale or in everyday use. Since this purchase was made for transporting a net-book, I didn’t want to end up with a completely disproportionate bag, like something akin to the size of baggage prepped for a safari trip. Therefore, in light of this, my only complaint is that the bag can stand to be about an inch and a half shorter. I feel it’s just a little too “square,” quite literally. Another small gripe is the potentially disconcerting “file case” factor. There is very little room to push beyond this bag’s 3-4 inch depth limit. While I am sure you could get a bit more out of the space with some clever stretching technique, from the outside, it would seem too noticeable that the bag was being pushed and prodded beyond its limits.

In retrospect, I could not be happier with the look and feel of the bag—from the waxware exterior to the solid Jack Spade branded hardware. Overall, the bag feels as if it will last the ages, perhaps even a pass down to another generation, or at least, until my detachment creeps in and my wandering eye for a new man-purse sets in.

If you are interested in this bag please note two things, at the time of purchase, Zappos had this bag for $79.00 off. If that deal ends, you can always get 20% off at just for signing up on their mailing list.

writer: Josh Nespodzany
editor: Janice Reyes

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