Aspinal are an English company who make very high quality leather goods.
I have been a fan for some years and like their men’s collection a lot. Aspinal have put a lot of work into building up their men’s leather goods and for me they have built a distinctive style. There is a solidity about their men’s leatherwear, a classy English ruggedness, but they also have a sense of fun, there is a lightness about their designs which prevent them being stuffy or over-traditional.
I would like to claim that I disovered Aspinal myself (being a style genius and all) but the truth is my wife, with a keen eye for great accessories, bought me my first Aspinal piece.
So Aspinal recently held a Press Day, centred around their new men’s bag, the Harrison. I went along to see the current collection at their Brook Street flagship store and to take some photos of what I like in their men’s range.
But firstly, here is my first Aspinal piece, from some years ago. My Aspinal hip flask, complete with scuffs and dings. This hip flask has served me well, and is currently full of Bowmore 12-year old. Gotta have some good stuff for an emergency….
Here is the front view.
Here is the back view.
I show you this because I really like the detail stitching. Very British, more than a bit James Bond. Aspinal’s detailing is one of the things that make their men’s range stand out. More on the detailing below.
This is the new men’s bag from Aspinal. It has a luxury, weekend-getaway-bag kind of feel about it. Like almost all of Aspinal’s men’s products it has a functional, well-made quality about it. You can just imagine stuffing it with weekend essentials and chucking it in the car.
I like that the bag is so obviously well-made, shows off its functionality and is clearly designed to be used. I like the slight retro-look of the design, that kind of ‘fifties manly man feel. I would like to see one of these bags after it has been knocked around a little. I suspect that they age well, and develop an individuality all of their own.
The leather is of course superb, it feels smooth, supple and thick. The colours are deep and rich. I shot this picture under the shop lighting, which is quite harsh, but the glossy chestnut colour glows.
Here is a picture of the same bag in black marbled leather. For me marbled leathers have a style and sophistication all of their own, so this bag looks very mature style and class, to me.
Other Leather men’s bags
The man-bag below has more an urban design. There is a bit of the school satchel about it and it actually has an insert for a laptop inside. However the graining and the gloss of the leather give it authority and class. It is not my personal style but I think it is a well-designed bag, of its type. As an executive bag with flair and style I think it would make an excellent gift, to the CEO/Finance Director of your choice.
These Pochettes are very fine indeed. Pochettes are those little bags that European men carry, big enough for your passport, phone and credit cards. These two are very stylish, for very different reasons.
My friend Matt liked the Navy-Blue crocodile-effect leather. And I can see why. It is very upscale, discreet and slightly traditional in effect. Quietly understated, as they say.
I have to say I liked the bolder pochette, with the tan strapping. The effect here is rather like the bonnet strapping on old jags and bugattis. There is a functional, military effect that makes the bag stand out. The bag is a bit of a contradiction. It is quite showy but does that by drawing on some very old-school masculine iconography. Intriguing.
This wallet was fun, with the brightly coloured insert layers. Studies show that women always look at what kind of wallet a man carries. Depending on the type of wallet a man carries, women make assessments of what kind of man he is. Apparently it’s not about the money but how you determine your style. So a guy carrying this wallet would clearly have a little devil-may-care. Good fun, discretely done.
Portofino carry-on bag
Next up is the Portofino carry-on bag. It has a steamer-trunk, cruise-liner glamour and carries on the strappy, overlock theme of the pochettes. Its not for me, my style is simpler, more classic. But if you have a glamourous style, are the star of your own movie, this one is for you.
Damn, this is a great bag. Tough, extravagant and colourful. This is THE sports bag. This bag looks and feels like you could kick it off the side of Everest and it would hit bottom without getting a scuff! This is the manly sports-bag of the Team GB patriot!
Portofino weekend bag
Now this bag is a work of art. A weekend bag, again the Portofino collection, this is organic, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, it just radiates real style. If Aspinal have any sense, they will send me one of these bags forthwith and I can wax lyrical about its virtues. Classy colours, subtle finishing and mature style.
These colourful fedoras were a real surprise! I had no idea Aspinal made them. And they have real bravado, the colours are vivid and lively, not simply your usual browns. And then I found out why. These are Borsalino Fedoras! Aspinal are selling the finest Italian hats here in the UK. This is seriously good news.
In this case, I am the last to know. Apparently the Borsalinos are amongst the shop’s most best-selling products. Not really a surprise, these are amongst the finest of men’s headgear.
Aspinal have a wide range of cufflinks, from the slightly old-school to the chunky. But I shot these because I really liked this pair. They are of course gloseed enamel over gold. I liked them because they were slightly bigger than similar fine enamel cufflinks and because the colour and finish was so very rich. The designer had hit a moment of inspiration with these and made something very beautiful.
A treasury of cufflinks.
Just to prove that Aspinal have a wealth of cufflinks, here is a shot of their cufflink cabinet. If you would like to see mre, go alongto the store fof the Aspinal website, which has all their cufflinks available to buy on-line.
In fact, all the products I have reviewed here today are available from the Aspinal website. Though if you can get to the shop I would recommend it. Aspinal products are very tactile, if you handle these bags, you will get a feel for their richness and quality of manufacture.
There are lots of men’s accessories out there in the market but Aspinals’ products, especially their bags, have an assured manly design. Put them on your style list, they are very good.
The Aspinal London Flagship store is at
25 Brook Street (off Bond Street)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7493 9509
Their website is here
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