Rise of the Murse

Jay Z, John Mayer, Jude Law, Kanye West & Other Men With Purses (Photos)

The man purse has recently been reported as a global phenomenon worth almost $1 billion. From Jay Z to John Mayer, see guys who are proud to show off their murses.

Peddled by fashion houses from Burberry to Versace, the man purse is now a global phenomenon, an accessory industry reportedly nearing $1 billion. From hip-hop stars Snoop Dogg and Jay Z to fashion moguls Brad Goreski and Marc Jacobs, see guys who are proud to show off their murses.

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Dennis Rodman's Big Brown Bag

Dennis Rodman sits front row at Miami Fashion Week Swim 2014 in July. The former NBA player tends to have a unique take on style—remember the floral jacket he wore to the Vatican? As a fashion-week spectator, Rodman made sure to have all necessary accessories: numerous facial piercings, a baseball cap, and a brown, half-fabric, half-leather purse. 

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John Mayer's Crossbody Purse

Singers (and on-and-off-again couple) John Mayer and Katy Perry enjoyed Valentine's Day together in Brentwood, Calif. Mayer dressed for the occasion in gray dress pants, a jean jacket, and a petite brown crossbody purse. 

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Brad Goreski's Louboutin Clutch

Brad Goreski sure loves his Louboutin. The fashion stylist, who is regularly spotted in the red-soled shoes, attended Zac Posen's fall 2012 show during New York Fashion Week carrying one of the French designer's spiked clutches. No stranger to chic bags, Goreski seems to have an endless collection of man purses, from his neon green Cambridge Satchel Company bag to his brown vintage Chanel briefcase.

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Marc Jacobs's Leather Pouch

Fashion king Marc Jacobs is never afraid to take a fashion risk. The designer has been known for his wild and crazy style, from wearing pajamas in public to, yes, carrying a variety of murses. Normally a Birkin man—he's been photographed carrying the Hermes bag in green, black, brown, tan, and purple—Jacobs opted for a smaller, simpler black clutch to attend Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs: The Exhibition at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in March 2012 in Paris.

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Jay Z’s Louis Vuitton

Jay Z has no trouble carrying around heavy diaper bags, since he’s got extensive experience lugging around large bags of his own, like this one that he was spotted carrying while leaving the Bloomberg building on New York’s Upper East Side. In the past, the rapper has used his refined taste in purses to pick out stellar gifts for his wife, Beyonce, but he is also prone to sporting his own luxurious man-bags. While exiting the Crillon Hotel in Paris, Jay Z was spotted toting a $24,900 Louis Vuitton ostrich-skin backpack, hot off the Spring 2010 runway.

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Lil Wayne’s Louis Vuitton

In addition to releasing a 30-minute “public service announcement” in October 2011—in which he ponders, among other topics, his tattoos, Steve Jobs, and his own mortality ("I was like, man, what if I just skate off my roof and end it all.")—rapper Lil Wayne also made a different kind of public statement the same month: It’s okay for a guy to carry a purse to a basketball game. The hip-hop star was as happy as could be, sporting a mini Louis Vuitton iPhone case to Game 3 of the WNBA Finals in a trend that seems in keeping with his equally feminine dress code at the year’s VMAs.

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Kanye West’s Birkin

Kanye West, known for his chameleonic taste in fashion, has rocked everything from nerd chic to Cruella de Vil and even debuted his own fashion line at Paris Fashion Week in fall 2011. But one feature of the hip-hop star’s closet that stays constant through all the changes is his colorful assortment of luxury bags. West was spotted in Soho with a giant leather Hermes Birkin travel bag valued at around $7,000.  

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Mark Ronson's Leather Briefcase

Mark Ronson takes a more masculine and chic twist on the man-purse trend. When the DJ/singer visited Late Show With David Letterman in October 2010, he coordinated a sleek, leather, midsize briefcase with his black and white printed suit.

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Robert Downey Jr.'s Blue Messenger Murse

Actor Robert Downey Jr. may look like he just rolled out of bed in his baggy, striped pants, oversized cardigan, and t-shirt, but he definitely didn't forget his man purse. Downey Jr. wore a blue messenger bag decorated with red and white stripes in Janurary 2010.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Gucci Clutch

Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has got flair to spare, even off the field. The world’s most expensive soccer player spends plenty of his hard-earned cash on both stylish duds and, apparently, Gucci clutches which happen to coordinate nicely with the Gucci shoes and Gucci belts he is also prone to wearing. All the attention his wardrobe has brought him has left Ronaldo slightly irate, though. “I don’t know why people are so interested in what I wear on holiday,” the 26-year-old has said, adding that, “It’s good to be different.”

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Jude Law’s Leopard-Print Mini-Audiere

When he isn’t committing an airport fashion faux pas, Jude Law is most often associated with faded blazers and a generally understated fashion palette. But the Contagion star spiced up his look earlier this year while out with ex-wife and fashion designer Sadie Frost and their son Rudy in North London. Law held a bright leopard print Mini-Audiere in hand, proving that even Brits are buying into the murse trend.

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Ryan Reynolds’ Brown Leather Bag

Ryan Reynolds was seen out and about a few years ago with a weathered brown leather messenger bag—one of the more traditional varieties of murse— slung around his shoulders. Reynolds apparently liked the bag so much that he reprised his messenger-bag look in 2009’s The Proposal, in which his character also rocked the brown-leather-bag look.

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Pharrell Williams’s Purple Hermes Birkin

The year 2007 saw hip-hop star Pharrell Williams adding a touch of class to his act by performing at a Princess Diana tribute concert and purchasing for himself a custom-made Hermes Birkin bag. Williams bought the enormous purple travel bag while in Paris, and educated his fans a little bit on the brand and his bag by writing on his blog, “Hermes is a world famous luxury goods company originally known for its leather goods including its saddles and famous silk scarves. This purple croc bag is a ‘Haut A Courroie’ which is the original Birkin Bag. This bag is a custom piece hand made in the Paris shop. The key chain was made by Jacob.”

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Snoop Dogg’s Louis Vuitton

The inexplicable blue shower cap was a highlight, but not the centerpiece, of “young, wild and free” Snoop Dogg’s outfit as he strolled through London in 2007. Instead, that honor went to the $620 Louis Vuitton Damier Speedy handbag that he proudly clutched. Though the purse likely belonged to his wife, D.O. double G has publicly voiced his appreciation of purses on Twitter in a post that read, “Purse first asss last I need to get paid ya dig.”

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Terrence Howard’s Patent-Leather Borsa

Hustle and Flow star Terrence Howard showed up to the 2006 Academy Awards in a dashing suit and star sunglasses—but it was his $34,000 Borsa crocodile leather and diamond-encrusted clutch by designer Ralph Barbero that stole the show. Though Howard didn’t end up taking home the Oscar for his Best Actor, the shiny black clutch was a hit. When asked about it, Howard said simply, “A man needs a bag.”

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Seal’s Black Leather Murse

Soulful singer Seal has been seen carrying a variety of small, black man purses while holding hands with ex-wife Heidi Klum, staring down cameramen at a gas station and while out with the couple’s kids. Though the singer has recently come under fire for partying with Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya accused of human rights abuses, Seal will likely keep rocking the murses. 

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Burberry Milan Spring 2012

Celebrities haven’t been the only ones showing off their man purses, however. Burberry’s spring 2012 Men’s Fashion Week show in Milan showcased a line of oversized bags that proved even in the world of high fashion, stylish men wear purses. Textures and color filled the show with “general waywardness as opposed to the strong, single-minded statements the designer has opted for of late,” according to style.com’s Tim Blanks.

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Roberto Cavalli Milan Spring 2012

Roberto Cavalli’s show at Milan’s 2012 menswear week also saw men sporting large leather and canvas travel bags which complemented the show’s occasional bursts of bright violet, yellow and fuchsia. Daniele Cavalli, Roberto’s 25 year-old son, said the collection was “inspired by the Riviera” and its power to attract both Americans and Europeans, hence the line’s blending of American elements like blue jeans with more structured European designs.

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Versace Milan Spring 2012

At Versace, the trend of extra-large men’s totes continued, the bags looking especially big juxtaposed with the itty-bitty swimwear trunks that models showed off down the runway. Though the beachwear “looked like it was strictly for striking a pose poolside at a Hollywood hotel”, according to style critic Suzy Menkes, the rest of the collection boasted a successful throwback to Versace’s 1980s days, with strong-shouldered suits and rolled-up sleeves.