Here at OTC, we like a good bag. Men have come to appreciate the role of a good bag in their lives and for many the seminal bag is the universally useful messenger bag. Messenger bags are much hipper than a backpack and have the implied ruggedness of utilitarian cool.
There is some debate about its true origins, but the nod often goes to San Francisco-based Timbuk2 as the creator of the modern messenger bag design. We even worked with Timbuk2 to create a signature OTC messenger last year. And while the sturdy, go-anywhere, hold anything nature of the traditional messenger is what makes it so attractive, it is inherently a very casual bag.
When looking to upgrade the messenger bag you need go no further than the Shrunken Leather Messenger from Frank Clegg Leatherworks. This is messenger bag for grown up guys, and a bag that will stay with you for life.
The first thing you notice is the leather. It is unlike anything you have seen before and will likely see anywhere else. Dense and weighty, it is also incredibly supple and soft. The process by which the leather is tanned and shrunk beyond typical limits yields a unique, highly textured surface full of character. We opted for chocolate paired with a cognac vegetable tanned trim, as shown on the site. But, as with any Frank Clegg bag, you can opt for nearly any combination available.
The bag itself is a classic messenger form: cross-body shoulder strap, flap-over body, and minimal external pockets. There is a single external rear open pocket and the bag is secured by two buckle straps. The attached shoulder strap is a beautiful example of craftsmanship all by itself and is adjustable.
Lined in a water-resistant Sunbrella fabric, the bag’s main compartment is big enough to carry a laptop and a couple of books. It also has a good-sized zippered pocket to contain keys or change and a large divided leather pocket for keeping your smart phone and pens or business cards safely stowed.
I have lost count of how many compliments this bag has received from both men and women. It has aged beautifully and is without question my go-to bag for when I need something sharp but casual. It works with shorts and a tee shirt when running errands and business casual dress when heading to the office.
While brands like Coach have only recently come back into the men’s bag market, Frank Clegg never left. As one of the finest designers in the leather goods business, he knows what makes a good bag that will last for decades. And, since he is also the guy actually making the bag, special tweaks and customizations are not typically a problem.
Though less formal than his business cases, Clegg’s exceptional craftsmanship is evident in every corner of this bag. Want to impress your dad this Father’s Day? This will do the trick – and then some.