How To Wear A Man Bag: Real Tips From A Clutch Carrier

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Whether you say yay to man bags, or you're firmly in the nay camp, we think we'll get some bipartisan for Steve DeLong (pictured), who's dude clutches are pretty... well... clutch. We spotted the Director of Wholesale and Merchandising at Ernest Alexander (who you may remember from our want-it-need-it Reserve collab) carrying this bright orange Wax Banker's Zip Folio—a butch version of the c-word—at GQ's Style Bible party at the Jane last night. Intrigued by this sartorial risk taker, we quizzed DeLong and Alexander on all things man bag. Read on, and don't forget to vote yay or nay on this men's trend.
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Hey man! Love that clutch—is it a man bag?
"No, i like to refer to it as a professional, working man folio."
So, not a clutch....a...portfolio?
"Yeah, it's a bankers folio."
Under your arm—is that the only way you wear it?
"Yep, under my arm, tucked in."
And do you have just one, or a couple?
"Umm...I have a few of them. We have them in different colors so it's kinda just like a nice little fun accessory. A pop of color."
So, what's in the bag, man?
"What do I put in here? Well, on a day when I'm working, I usually put in a magazine – like a copy of GQ or something of that matter – or a little Muji notebook, pen, you know, maybe some gum."
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And hankies?
"Hankies."
Ernest, sotto voce: "Dirty Hankies!"
So you have it out tonight, what's in there? [Editor's Note: I rudely start rummaging around inside] There's, like, nothing in here.
"There's not much in here. It was crammed earlier today but I dropped it down."
But you just like carrying it out. "I like carrying it. I put a few business cards, a little pop of color…"
We get it—it's annoying having to cram everything in your pockets—but what do you think of other guys carrying portfolios? Do you think it's a trend?
"I think so, definitely. I think guys are kind of like, not to use the word, it's kind of a clutch, but it's a folio. You know, like a portfolio."
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It's like a clutch...
"Kind of. It's something nice to have with you if you have a few small things but you don't want to weigh your pockets down, because guys are a bit more conscious about their pants, and you don't want to stretch things out, so you can put your wallet, your keys in here, and like a few business cards. It's a nice little thing. It's not bulky like a bag."
Do you match it to your outfits?
"Sometimes, but it depends on if it's a bright color then it can be thrown together with anything, so it's fun."
And, what about other guys wearing them. We don't know if you're gay or straight, but do you think it's something that's attractive?
"I think so. I mean I think it shows a level of confidence in something, that you are confident enough to carry something under your arm that you consider looks like a clutch, but it's practical and for a guy living in New York City, you're on the go all the time and you don't always want to put on a bag or a backpack or something so it's a nice little accessory."
So you wouldn't be turned off by someone wearing it?
"No, absolutely not. I would really like it on someone…"
You'd probably like it more? [Editor's Note: I wish I had been wearing one.]
"I would probably like it more. Like 'hey, we can kinda talk about that.'"
What about man bags?
"Man bags. What is a 'man bag'? I don't know, I think that term is only applied if you live in the midwest, do you know what I mean?"
Do you think a lot of straight guys would carry a portfolio?
"Depending where you are, I think it's all about utility. Definitely living in a bigger city, especially in New York, everybody has a bag, and it's a matter of you having things, and you leave your apartment and you're traveling all day and you're on foot and you just have to carry stuff... so it's just the fact of where you're living. I guess it depends if you want to do it in style or not."
Are you worried that you're just going to leave it when you're drunk, cuz it's not attached to anything.
"Not necessarily. I mean, I try to be pretty confident with where I am, if I set it down or not. I mean if I go out and rage a little bit and dance on the tables, I'm probably not going to bring my folio along."
And one thing we've noticed, especially with the size, it's very easy to be stolen.
"It could be."
Is that something you think about? [Editor's Note: I attempt to wrestle it out of arm]
"Not really. I don't really put a lot in it that it gets super valuable, but I mean if somebody could just slip it out of my arm, I'd probably notice it."
Photo: Courtesy of Ernest Alexander.