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Needles: beautifully useless

It’s difficult to review clothes. I mean, one man’s chicken liver parfait is another man’s Gregg’s Steak Bake. But with these Needles bags at least, I can confidently speak to the practicality. I don’t own one of these specifically, but I do own an Engineered Garments equivalent — a very similar arrangement of cloth pouch and over-the-shoulder handle. Bags really don’t get much simpler. Nor, I would argue, more out of step with the demands of modern life.

Put simply, they’re not big enough for daily use. Those of elephantine memory might recall my post from August. I suggested that the EG ones could comfortably carry, ‘an iPad Mini, or a handful of spectacles, fags, lighters and an iPhone’. Who was I kidding? If you stick all that in a bag this size it’ll look like a tumour on a strap.

Personally I need to carry a laptop — as do many of us. These bags simply won’t do that. I also need to carry fags, wallet, lighter, iPhone, specs, keys, frequently chargers for my devices, occasionally a book, sometimes a half-drunk Innocent Super Smoothie (berry flavour). So what do you do? Haul around a bigger bag for the laptop and chargers and one of these smaller ones for fags and phone? Doesn’t that sound like 50% too much bag?

Ultimately these bags are big on pretty and small on function. They’re the Royal Doulton porcelain figurine of luggage — ornamental, charming and of practical use to no-one. That. All. Said. If you’re comfortable with the concept of what is basically a man’s evening bag. If you dig the aesthetics. If, for some reason, you don’t like using your pockets. Then one of these is for you.

As I said back in August, I think they work best worn under a blazer or coat. Slot in only the evening’s essentials (fags, wallet etc…) and use the pattern to break up a solid black or navy look. Yeah, the whole concept’s a bit chi-chi. But, I think, in a cool, Nepenthesy way.

If you’re sold by this unconvincing argument, they’re available in four delicious patterns – diseased paisley, fondue party, trampled flowerbed and granny’s pill box.

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