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Murse Mania

By |2018-01-15T19:19:34-05:00October 31st, 2017|Entertainment|

By Jessica Carreras

Murse. Man-bag. Messenger. Whatever you call it, men, it’s still a purse.
They began showing up on the runways at fashion shows around the world. Then, designers like Louis Vuitton and Armani began making them and fashion-savvy areas like New York City and London began carrying them. Now, men with a need for a knapsack can find them at their local Target for under $20.
“I love my purses!” exclaims Center Line-based Andre Way, who’s not afraid to show his purse pride. “I have two at home.”
Recent trends have shown that men looking for traditional briefcases and backpacks are out of luck, lest they go to stores frequented by elderly businessmen or rugged mountain climbers. “Messenger bags are the perfect pairing of fashion and functionality,” explains Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for Target.
According to Thomas, men’s bags have sold steadily at Target since their debut in the chain over a year ago, though looks for them have changed. “Right now, more long and narrow silhouettes are popular,” he says, “as well as bags with graphic prints or a distressed look.”
There’s no doubt that man-purses are taking the world of men’s accessories by storm, but the question remains: Are they fashionable for every man, or destined to remain only in the gay circuit?
“All good fashion sense is going to start with gay men,” maintains James Michel, 23, of Ann Arbor, who owns a red messenger bag. “Straight men will start carrying (them).”
Testimonies by straight men, however, have shown that they are reluctant to accept the trend. Tennis star Andy Roddick served up a diss against man-bags on his Web site last summer after spotting them around town in London. “Anything bigger than a money clip or a wallet is to be left to your girlfriend/wife,” he spewed.
Likewise, makers of the suspiciously purse-like “Man-n-Bag” state on their Web site,, that they designed their bag as an alternative to less “manly” options they were forced to carry in the past. “The torment reached a boiling point when Thai (one of the designers) was called a pursey at a party,” they wrote on their site. Oh, the horror.
“If it’s not a Man-n-Bag, it’s a purse,” their tagline says in an assuredly testosterone-filled tone. Their homepage features a picture of a manly man holding a beautiful woman and a purse – though they don’t call it that.
Then again, most straight men won’t.
“I usually refer to it as a ‘murse’ or a ‘man-bag,'” says Ryan Schreiber, 22, of Dearborn.
Schreiber, who is straight, admits that he wasn’t always comfortable with carrying a clutch. “I was hesitant (to use it) at first,” he says, laughing. “But once I got used to it and cleared the hurdle of embarrassment, it wasn’t a big deal anymore.”
The one rule Schreiber has about man-bags? “It can’t look too girly,” he insists. “Like, it can’t be made of leather.”
However, as with every trend, there will always be those who don’t buy into it. “I don’t really need it,” agrees Nick Bashour, 21, of Lincoln Park. If he does get one, he says, it would have to be versatile, medium-sized and come in a color that went with every outfit.
Girly or manly, embellished or unadorned, man-purses are the hottest accessory in men’s fashion and – sorry, Andy Roddick – they’re not going anywhere soon but onto the shoulders of fashion-savvy men, gay and straight alike.


What’s in that bag, man?

James Michel, 23, Ann Arbor: Computer, Details magazine, camera
Andre Way, Center Line: Books, wallet, cigarettes, money
Danny McNie, 26, New York City: Flask, audition book, hand sanitizer, phone, iPod, camera, phone numbers, subway map
Ryan Schreiber, 22, Dearborn: Pen, notebook, wallet, iPod, phone


Craving a “carry-all” but too embarrassed to admit it? There are always excuses:

“I can’t fit my iPod into the pocket of these jeans.”
“My wallet makes my butt look big.”
“There are worse things about men’s fashion.”
“If Jack Bauer of ’24’ and Chewbacca carry them, why can’t I?”
“In the words of Seinfeld, ‘It’s not a purse! It’s a carry-all!'”
“Everyone in New York City has one”
“I use it to pick up women.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.