Ah, the briefcase. What did we do to deserve you? Fads and fashions may be fleeting — even in the workplace — but everyone from interns to tycoons have been zipping up and clicking shut these long-grain leather cases for decades. They’re understated, versatile and utterly dependable. And, what’s more, if you buy the best — they last a lifetime.
Now, they’re not the most practical of bags — the backpack is very much king there. And they may not be the roomiest option — look to holdalls if you’re after litreage. But the briefcase is a slick, sleek boardroom essential — the gentleman’s option in a suddenly smart-casual workplace. Here are our picks…
You should carry brown in town
Brown may be a no-no when it comes to lacing up your city-stomping shoes, but businessmen should turn to tan if they’re looking to add a little colour to their workplace wardrobes. A brown leather briefcase doesn’t look as buttoned-up as black and will help you appear a little more characterful in a world of two-piece suits and dulled silk ties.
Try Ettinger for this, whose Metropolitan Jubilee case is crafted from waxy dark tan leather and fits everything you need for your business day and everyday errands. Aspinal of London’s Mount Street range, named for the stylish London street, also has a stellar option; crafted in full grain Italian leather its interior compartments are perfectly sized for all your tech. Or for vintage masculine elegance, Purdey’s burnished briefcase is an antique in-the-making.
Ettinger Metropolitan Jubilee Satchel
Aspinal of London Mount Street laptop bag
Purdey Audley Briefcase
Work ’til you’re blue in the case
Another option if you’re not looking for the traditional black leather briefcase, various hues of blues and navy are also ideal, work-appropriate options. They’re not too far from the respected, acceptable dark colours of the boardroom — but manage to inject a little colour to the office, below the boardroom radar.
Dunhill’s single document case, for example, offers contemporary British design at its most refined and considered. Bennett Winch’s briefcase is a softer take on the classic look; with lightweight cotton canvas and a deceptively roomy slimline design. Or opt for Smythson’s Panama briefcase, equipped handsomely with multiple interior pockets and gold-toned hardware.
Dunhill single document case
Bennett Winch Brief
Smythson Panama briefcase
Buy black, and you’ll keep your case classic
Simple, sophisticated and stylish, the black briefcase has been a cornerstone of the corner office for years — and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Relied upon by magnates and moguls, politicians and plutocrats, these traditional briefcases have seen life-changing legal documents, multi-million dollar deals and national secrets nestled in their dark depths over the years.
And the good news is that the quality black briefcase is still in demand. So you can call on Charles Laurie London and pick up a smart, made-to-order number, or pop into Mulberry for its smaller Belgrave document holder. Our favourite, however, has to be this twill-lined, Spanish-leather option from Connolly.
Charles Laurie London briefcase
Mulberry Belgrave Document Holder
Connolly Full-Grain Leather Briefcase
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