“Good morning Glen. So, do you plan on skipping town after work?” said a colleague of mine as I entered the department at work. The Dooney & Bourke Florentine Medium Duffle is so robust, one has to ponder if “medium” is an accurate descriptor of the aforementioned travel companion. Now, before I venture too far ahead of myself, please allow me to rewind the story for proper context. Approximately three weeks ago, I was contacted by a public relations representative with some intriguing information: Dooney & Bourke, leading American designer of fine accessories in leather and fabric, was revitalizing and reintroducing their men’s collection from the mid 1970s. Furthermore, I could inspect and review a selected piece of merchandise for my reading audience.
Honored and overjoyed by the invitation, I perused their current inventory and decided the Florentine Medium Duffle Bag would be an excellent choice for a gentlemanly evaluation. Not too familiar with the brand with the exception of purses and handbags, I was thoroughly impressed by the exceptional quality and craftsmanship upon opening the package. After its arrival, I resolved myself to traveling with it to my base of employment to gauge the reaction of other gentlemen. Capturing a photograph with my Samsung Galaxy and sending it to a few male coworkers; it was likened to an oversized purse. Unfortunately, the bag’s true scale was not sufficiently captured by my camera phone. Full disclosure: Founded by Peter Dooney & Frederic Bourke in 1975, gentlemanly accessories were a part of its introductory collections before women’s accessories became a signature for the brand. And so, with Florentine in hand, I stepped out onto the 4th floor in my building, looking to prove the naysayers incorrect in their assumption, and examine its style and practicality.
So, first, allow me to examine a primary point of concern that most gentlemen share when purchasing a duffle bag – functionality. In other words, the duffle bag of a gentleman’s choice must be able to comfortably house all of his clothing and small personal effects – fair enough. The Florentine is billed as a duffle bag that will satisfy the needs of the gentleman traveler through any particular weekend. Perusing my own wardrobe, I thoughtfully selected a group of clothing items that would surely test the Florentine appropriately. In the interest of context, I excluded items such as socks, underwear, neckties, and other small items because it would have little to no effect on maximizing the capacity of the Florentine.
Proceeding with the theory that I am working with a three-day weekend trip (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday), I packed the following: 1 pair denim jeans, 2 pairs of khakis, 1 wool crew neck sweater, 2 cotton shawl collar sweater, 4 long sleeve sport shirts, 2 pairs of pajamas, and 1 pair of casual shoes. I wanted to pack bulky and heavy items to gauge if the holding capacity was sufficient. Of course, the selection of what one may choose to pack would be dependent upon lifestyle. I reside in Michigan, and right now the weather begs for items that retain warmth and comfort, hence the addition of sweaters and long sleeve sport shirts. The bag was full, but not tight and could still be zippered without issue.
Now, filled to capacity, a gentleman may have issues with any attempt to stuff the Florentine in an overhead bin during air travel. Although its dimensions – H 13.5″ x W 8.5″ x L 21.5″ – are less than the total allowed maximum of 45 inches, the weight may play a factor as well as the Florentine’s shape as it is packed, given the lack of fixed size like a small suitcase. It would be prudent to verify this information and travel policy according to your airline of choice. Personally, I would check the duffle bag and perhaps employ a stylish book-bag as a carry-on for smaller items, as it does come standard with a luggage tag in addition to a lock & key.
Cosmetically speaking, the Florentine boasts a buttery smooth leather exterior. Soft and pliable with no unsightly creasing, the leather has all the attributes to age with character and charm. The interior and exterior zippers are solidly constructed with a dual closure across the top. Embracing a minimalist approach with its design, the only noticeable embellishment resides with its extended zipper closure on each opposite end that button down the side. The are two pockets on both sides of the body, one zippered and the other a straight jetted pocket. The leather handles are assisted by a buttoned leather closure that affords a comfortable grip, as some duffle bags utilize velcro to keep both handles together or shun a closure entirely.
Now, I absolutely love the design of the handles, as they are not attached directly to the bag’s body, rather, the upper handles are attached to square metal links which in turn are attached along the upper sides. This should provide much-needed support surrounding this area of concentrated stress due to bearing the weight of its contents. Sporting plaid fabric on the inside, the interior is equipped with 1 bifolded compartment, a regular jetted pocket, and a zippered deeper pocket.
As for the finishing touch, the Florentine’s bottom arrives with metal “feet” or studs so your bag is never in total contact with the ground. And speaking of ground, there is approximately a 12 inch drop in strap length, so the bag is approximately 10 inches off the ground when holding the bag with one’s arm totally extended down. However, the audience should consider I am 6’1″ so that approximation will vary from gentlemen to gentlemen. So, to the unnamed gentleman that likened the Florentine to a woman’s purse; I humbly submit that you are woefully mistaken.
Retailing at $548.00, the Florentine is not an inexpensive travel companion. And many gentlemen with humble means will scoff at the price-point, and that is perfectly acceptable. Most likely, there is a duffle bag that will suit any lifestyle accordingly. Nevertheless, the Dooney & Bourke Florentine is designed for the cultivated gentleman that appreciates a refined piece of luggage that becomes more exquisite with age, exudes an understated presence of sophistication, and considers such a purchase a quiet investment in elegance. This bag should last a lifetime. After a long hiatus, resurrecting their collection of fine accessories for stylish, contemporary gentleman; Dooney & Bourke should be able recapture a market of men that will surely explore future collections with newfound excitement.
Please visit https://www.dooney.com/home for purchasing information.