I used to be a "one bag man". I'm that guy who liked to streamline his life with just one backpack for a variety of trips. The getaway could be in the middle of the Sierra Madre in Quezon Province or the posh lobby of a hotel in Manila. My choice of bag was a dull-looking one that could easily pass for a schoolboy's. I was a cheapskate. And I still am -- cheap and dull -- when it comes to personal stuff that is. However, I managed to recently evolve as a single guy in my early 40s when I got stranded at a mall one evening. Without anything else to do, I discovered at the department store of SM that local brand Salvatore Mann sells the type of bags that appeal to my sensibilities as an artist and travel writer. What's more, it's pricing items at a cost that doesn't hurt my freelance career-funded wallet.
The problem with owning just one bag for different types of travel is that I'd have to keep it clean every single use. I've experienced bringing my trusty backpack in business meetings after hiking in an off-grid terrain of General Nakar and I had to hide it out of shame because it looked disgusting. It turned out that there's a thin line between looking weathered and worn out and my gear was definitely looking like the latter.
Owning a Salvatore Mann messenger bag served me well in client meetings where I had to make a good impression. It also worked great for me in hotel staycations where I can stay classy indoors after roughing it out in outdoor tours. Most importantly, my seven-year-old laptop fits in the bag just right.
In Pursuit of Black Shoes
The same satisfaction goes for my pursuit of a comfy pair of black shoes which our dads tell us to own at least one pair of. I don't have a problem with those who go crazy collecting more than one style or brand, but it's always noble to have your personal favorite. In my case, I simply have to choose the best pair that's a combo of classy and affordable and stick to it regardless of the venue.
Fortunately, Salvatore Mann also makes black shoes for formal occasions. My personal choice is the lace-up Derby pair that's square toe. It's perfect for both casual and formal events like weddings and trade show exhibits because of its open stitch design. Also, it's easier to put on and remove because of its construction unlike the Oxford type which can be strictly formal.
For guys who still frown upon owning a so-called man purse, fret not. Manhood is not diminished with what you own. You are who you are by the decisions that you make in your life. In my case, I decided to ditch the one-bag policy and choose to own something nice that won't set me back too much.
I'm just glad that I can turn to Salvatore Mann for shoes and bags that keep me moving no matter what the occasion is.
The Salvatore Mann items were shot at the newly-opened Rizal Park Hotel in Manila.
Photography by Aubrey Gacer
Aubrey Gacer is a Manila-based freelance photographer. Check out his work at Gacer Photography.