Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
My everyday carry is getting pretty big, but sadly I can’t seem to find a way to pare it down significantly. And that means there’s only one solution: add another piece to it; namely, a briefcase large enough to carry all my little bits and bobs. I’m as big a fan as any when it comes to high-quality leather briefcases, but sometimes their fabric counterparts are just the way to go; they’re lighter, can be more water resistant, and arguably help keep your outfit a bit more on the casual side, to boot. While there are nearly an endless array of fabric briefcases out there, we’ve put together a short list of some of the popular choices that are each a bit different from the next.
1) Porter-Yoshida & Co: Tanker 2-Way Briefcase in Silver Grey
If I had to buy a fabric bag, wallet, or accessory sight unseen I would definitely go with one from Porter-Yoshida & Co. Their construction is solid, the fabrics are always gorgeous, and they have a signature style that is instantly identifiable as theirs without being gimmicky or overbearing. Their Tanker 2-Way Briefcase is on the smaller side, which can certainly be seen as a positive or a negative depending on what you need, but that ensures you won’t be lugging around too much extra weight. This piece features their quintessential orange fabric lining, a silver grey nylon outer with a light sheen, and all the pockets you’ll need for a light day at the office.
Available for $315 at Need Supply.
2) L.L.Bean: Waxed Canvas Briefcase
If you want a fabric briefcase but aren’t digging the nylon/techwear aesthetic that many offer, then the classic, Waxed Canvas Briefcase from L.L.Bean might be just the ticket. It certainly leans casual, but it’s also quite understated, which makes it easier to use in business casual environments. Though it’s a bit on the slim side, it still has room for your laptop, writing pad, and all the small accessories you might need to carry. Available in three colors with a terrain-map lining, it’s easy to find a version of this briefcase that works with your wardrobe.
Available for $149 at L.L.Bean.
3) Master-Piece: 3-Way Briefcase in Black Cordura/Leather
Master-Piece’s 3-Way Briefcase is a great choice if you want to use a briefcase on occasion but don’t want to commit to the style all the time. It’s designed to be carried by hand, slung over your shoulder, slipped over the handle of your luggage, or converted into a backpack, making it the most versatile piece on this list. Plus, it’s 180° unzipping ensures it’s quick to pack or unpack. Made in Japan from 420d Cordura nylon with 160d Cordura nylon and leather reinforcements, this bag isn’t going anywhere…well, at least in terms of durability. In terms of travelability it will go anywhere and everywhere you need it to.
Available for $245 at No Man Walks Alone.
4) The Workers Club: Canvas Briefcase with Leather Trim
If you are looking for a fabric briefcase that’s more on the sleek side, with an understated design and fewer fussy pockets on the exterior, then The Workers Club’s Canvas Briefcase is a great choice. Made from a two-tone blue/white canvas fabric, this bag is the perfect companion for students or those who work in a casual office, but who don’t want to adopt the rugged waxed canvas look or the nylon techwear style. With a simple design and no special features, this back is intended to blow you away with its quality, functionality, and pure simplicity. So if that’s your game, take a good hard look at this option.
Available for $670 at Mr. Porter.
5) Filson: Original Briefcase
I bet you thought I was going to skip over Filson in this article, but how could I? Their Original Briefcase is arguably the most recognizable fabric briefcase of all time and is certainly Filson’s most recognizable piece. Constructed from rugged twill, this bag has all the goodies you’d expect to find on a briefcase: newspaper slot (i.e. 21st-century tablet holder), a large central pocket, solid brass hardware, leather accents, and a removable leather strap.
Available from $325 at The Stronghold.
Plus One – Cote & Ciel: Garonne Briefcase
It’s hard to find a briefcase that stands out without being tacky, but Cote & Ciel nailed it in their Garonne Briefcase. It’s another multi-style bag, which can be carried by hand, carried with a crossbody strap, or converted into a backpack, but features C&C’s slightly space-like styling. Designed to open completely for easy access, this bag is constructed from ballistic nylon, which has a light sheen to it, and has a wide range of exterior and interior pockets for all your gizmos and gadgets. While it’s certainly not a piece that will appeal to everyone, I’m sure many of you, myself included, would find a place for it in our lives.
Available for $325 at Eastdane.