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March 26, 2007

Product Naming: Getting A Handle On Handbags and Man Bags

handbag.jpgHandbag product naming is in a world of its own. For example, there is a bag by Jenny Yuan called The Sherlock that gets a high rating by Bagtrends.

The bag is supposed to keep you organized while you “snoop around the city.” I’m just not sure that naming a bag “Sherlock” gives it the sex appeal it needs to compete against perennial favorites Dior, Docle & Gabbana’s Frame Bag, and L.A.M.B.’s Mandeville satchel.

And when does a “handbag” become just a “bag” - or a "tote?" Look at Ashley Olsen’s Givenchy Nightingale handbag. Yes, Olsen is very petite, but I call that a tote bag. I’m not sure that would even make in onto an airplane as a carry-on.

Big brand names have been elevated into the world of high fashion by high profile movie stars like Angela Jolie toting around their “Storksak Gigi” bags.

Then, as the Albany Times Union reported on Saturday, “Men are Turning to Handbags.” That’s right, “handbags.” Not tote bags, not messenger bags, not mini briefcases.

man_bag.jpgThe rage is not limited to upstate New York: it has already swept Tokyo, where men are using handbags that look like they were stolen from their girlfriends’ closets.

Men’s Style tried to categorize the forebears of these as “bags for men” and Smartlemming posted a blog last month about how Joey from Friends helped popularize the “man bag”, but these glorified messenger bags and computer bags have given way to bags that are sold to both men and women.

But they sure look like handbags.

We're also seeing diaper bags for men. The company that sells the most masculine of these bags is called Passchal and its "Dad's Baby Bag" is made of used tire inner tubes. Some baby bags are also simply given a generic name like “diaper bags.” Lands’ End makes one that some men swear by.

I have a feeling that sort of straightforward product naming works well, but you can't knock the imaginative naming of the camo-colored “Diaper Dude” for those hunting/fishing types, or “Diaper Valet,” especially if an allusion to that high-fashion Rodeo Drive attitude is your objective.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 26, 2007 9:39 AM
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1 Comment

I wouldn't be caught in public wearing a handbag. For men, it should be some version of the backpack. As an alternative, those side bags that those bike messengers wear would be macho enough for me too.

But metrosexuals probably wouldn't mind wearing handbags. I think the perfect name for them would be "metro-bags".

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