How to Choose the Perfect Briefcase for Work

The right briefcase says a lot about who you are. Read on to learn how to choose the perfect briefcase for work.

Keyword(s): briefcase


"This above all: to thine own self be true."

William Shakespeare may not have been referring to briefcases but he was stating an eternal tip for life. The clothes and accessories we wear are part of the picture that reflects our true selves.

We're right on the case. If you want to know what style, shape or color of briefcase suits you then look no further.

How do you mix style with something that needs to be functional? Well, here's how.

Spring for Leather

Whatever briefcase you're looking for, go for one that's made from high-quality leather. Full-grain leather is regarded as best. It develops a soft sheen on the surface over time bringing character and personality to your case.

Top-grain leather incorporates the exterior layer of the hide, known as the grain. It's strong and durable. 

It's usually less expensive than full-grain. It also has better resistance to staining than other types of leather.

Italian, American, and British leathers are considered some of the world's finest. The smell of leather tends to conjure up images of the great outdoors and of masculinity.

It's an open and shut case. If you buy a fake leather briefcase, you'll be throwing your money away. It simply won't last as long.

The Best Colors

Black is the most common color when it comes to briefcases for men. Brown and tan are certainly alternatives though.

Black is the best color to make an authoritative statement. Lighter colors tend to be better for more informal environments.

It's wise to avoid briefcases that have more than two distinct exterior colors or that have contrasting colored stitching. They won't always project the most professional image.

Black leather is always best if you're always going to be wearing suits. Dark brown goes well with navy suits and looks stylish. Rich lighter tans are also smart and a good choice.

Choosing the Right Style

This is where your lifestyle is going to play an important part. If yours is a more formal type a career, such as the law or accounting, then an attache case will be perfect. They do tend to be slimmer with fewer compartments, though.

If you're a doctor, you may want to go for the classic, iconic style of bag with a zipped base.

If you travel a lot for work, consider buying a rolling leather briefcase with extendable handle. A casual working environment allows more choice. A messenger style bag or briefcase, for example, is great for work or taking on vacation. 

Hard-Sided or Soft-Sided?

It's a matter of taste. Styles change but both are fine for taking to the office.

Hard-sided briefcases tend to be light-weight and have an aluminum or plastic frame. They can be set down flat or on their side. Shoulder straps are unlikely to come with a hard-sided case. 

Soft-sided cases don't have any framing on the top from where they're usually opened. They're set down in a vertical position. They tend to be easier to store but can be less secure than a hard-sided case. 

Compartments in Your Briefcase

The inside of your leather briefcase needs to be designed with spacious compartments. This is so you can store your laptops, papers, and chargers. 

Think carefully about what you're going to need to carry in it. It's no use buying a briefcase you love and then finding that it won't fit everything in.  

If you go for a rolling briefcase, try and find one that has a separate compartment for some clothing essentials. Make sure there's an outer compartment too so that you can access travel documents or a wallet quickly. 

Straps and Handles

It's always good to have options. A detachable shoulder strap that can be adjusted does give you just that. You may not need to use it all the time but it can be really useful if you're heading home with a bag of groceries to carry as well, for example. 

An over the shoulder strap is also useful if you're trying to convey a more casual look and message at meetings. 

There are many designs that will offer top handles and a detachable strap. In this case, more is definitely better. Try and go for a briefcase with both. 

Bottom Feet or Padding

Bottom feet or extra padding on the bottom is a great idea. Your briefcase needs these so that it can stand up when empty or full. They'll also act as a protector and will prevent damage to your case and its contents.

If you're carrying a laptop in your briefcase, extra strength will also lower the impact when your briefcase touches the floor. 

Will Your Briefcase Last?

A decent briefcase doesn't always come cheap so you want to be sure it's going to last. You should have a thorough check of all its parts.

Examine the inner and outer stitching on the briefcase. It must be straight and even. Loose threads should be a warning sign that something isn't quite right.

Are the zippers metal? These are usually sturdier than their plastic counterparts.

Try opening and closing the zippers yourself several times. The operation should be smooth. 

If you're buying a hard case, check out the hinges. They should look strong and not show any signs of rusting. 

Handles should attach to the main body of the case. Avoid briefcases that have had their handles glued on to them. Check along the edges of the briefcase for signs of splitting. 

Fixtures and Fittings

The materials used for locks and buckles need to be durable as well as stylish. These parts of the case can take the most knocks every day and so will deteriorate more quickly.

Check out these materials for quality. You don't want to have to replace your briefcase after a short time because of a broken zipper or strap.

A Quality Briefcase for You

We've made it our mission to select the finest quality briefcases for you. We've gone to every corner of the earth to track down the best.

Take a look and select your briefcase from our stylish and durable collection.