Handbags for Men Are Here — Just Don't Call Them Murses

Major designers are bringing the historically gendered accessory across the divide.

If there’s one apparent shift in fashion, as evidenced during the recent menswear shows, it is the ever-growing consciousness (and embrace) of gender-non-comformity. More and more, designers like Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, and Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga are opting into combined runways to showcase their men’s and women’s collections together, making it possible for pieces to move fluidly across genders. At Vetements this season, gender appeared to play no role in who wore lace and heels and who didn’t.

With that growing consciousness comes the inevitable breakdown of gendered garments and accessories. Womenswear staples like heels, skirts (thank you, Kanye), makeup, blouses, and jewelry have all come a long way in breaking their gendered bubbles and crossing over into menswear. But what about the handbag?

In recent history, purses or handbags worn by men, often called “murses” or “manbags” have been the butt of jokes. They fueled gay panic humor on popular ‘90s sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends. Just last year, Vogue ran an article online about how tote bags (a “mote,” the writer called it) had started finding favor among men — from “wimpy to chic" read the lede, though the few men interviewed were less than convinced. That same writer, six months later, wrote about model Anwar Hadid carrying a crossbody purse. Her text implied that the bag was a gift from his sisters — not, say, a gift to himself. 

Though some clearly remain skeptics, menswear designers this Fall 2018 season were not.

On Thursday, at Kim Jones’s last show for Louis Vuitton, men wore small handbags over their shoulders that look a lot like the house’s Petite Malle crossbody for women. Prada boasted its black nylon and leather bags and Fendi showed a small monogrammed fur purse. Dries Van Noten had a snake-skinned crossbody on the runway. A masked model (long nails protruding from his face) at Palm Angels also carried a purse. Leaders of fashion’s brightest, biggest and global brands have clearly weighed in.

The handbag for men is here, and let’s please stop calling it a murse.             


Valentino murse 3.jpg
Prada murse 2.jpg
Fendi murse 2.jpg
LV handbag 2.jpg
Louis Vuitton
Palm Angels murse.jpg
Palm Angels
Dries murse .jpg
Dries Van Noten

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