Men are replacing their briefcases with an item once thought only for women

Herschel Supply ToteFacebook/Herschel SupplySales for tote bags marketed to men are on a sharp rise.

It seems that the days of men bringing in stiff leather briefcases to their offices are gone — and they might never come back.

At first replaced by messenger bags and backpacks, the briefcase now has a new challenger that’s rising to be the ultimate carry-all for men who can’t fit everything in their pockets.

Enter the humble tote. Once thought of as merely a beach bag or something to use for Sunday shopping, the tote has grown into an acceptable fashion accessory. In fact, many female consumers have gravitated towards the easy and cheap tote, and away from pricey designer handbags.

Now, for similar reasons, men are taking note of the tote’s broad appeal.

Sales for men’s tote bags have risen 11% in the last year, and sales for men’s bags in general have also gone up by double digits, as NPD Group told The New York Times.

The men’s bag market is now estimated to be worth about $2.3 billion.

“Male or female, consumers are carrying a lot of things around with them,” Marshal Cohen, NPD Group’s chief industry analyst, told The Times.

Keys, wallet, gum, subway pass, phone, headphones, book — it’s all too much, and guys are looking for a big enough place to stash them. The practicality, utilitarian design, and unisex appeal of the tote is making it look more and more like an attractive option. Brands like the sturdy Filson and the hip Herschel seem to be leading this trend, with designs that might appeal to masculine sensibilities.

Just don’t call it a “murse.”

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