How small is too small for a man-bag?

Feb. 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM ET

Let’s face it, men have baggage. Not all men, but many like to carry bags to hold the keys, electronic devices, credit cards and other small items they don’t want to stuff in their pockets.

But how small can you go before a man-bag gets called a “murse” or, even worse, gets mistaken for a lady’s clutch?

Tyler Thoreson, editor of, told TODAY there are a few standards to consider.

“Rule No. 1 is your bag shouldn’t look like it was designed to carry makeup," he said.

That comment elicited a sneer from TODAY's David Gregory, who admired a clutch small enough to be mistaken for his wife’s cosmetics bag.

“…Unless you’re a TV superstar, who has to wear makeup for part of his job,” Thoreson quickly added. “There are certain context rules here.”

The whole thing prompted a Photoshopped montage of Gregory toting a tiny bag:


All joking aside, products designed for men vary, depending on the individual’s need. Thoreson said many men agree there is a minimize size considered acceptable.

“It’s more of an iPad kind of thing,” he said, as he displayed a flat clutch big enough to carry an iPad mini but smaller than the next larger option: the zippered portfolio, or attaché, that can carry a notepad along with other far more masculine items.

A more comfortable option for many men is the sporty backpack, which Al Roker favors because it’s large enough to hold his gym clothes as well as various snacks for his kids.

Thoreson said a tote bag is also acceptable.

“You can’t go wrong. Every guy needs one of these,” he said, showing off a camouflage design. “Extra butch version in camo, from L.L. Bean.”

Gregory decided to call in domestic doyenne Martha Stewart to determine the bottom line on what's acceptable for man-bag size.


Her verdict on his bag was all the reassurance Gregory needed.

“That looks like a shaving kit, which is fine,” she said.

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