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.
Gladstone bags hold an interesting position in fashion history. Having been commonly used as doctor’s bags, toolboxes, and even suitcases, these carry-alls are versatile as they are iconic. Made with a ridged frame generally constructed from metal, these bags open in the middle to give you unimpeded access to all that it holds.
Sadly, Gladstones are not as popular as they once were, but that only strengthens the need for a list of some of the best options out there.
1) WP Standard: The Doctor’s Bag
WP Standard’s Doctor’s Bag is a great example of their classically inspired, minimalist accessories. This Gladstone-style bag features a metal wire frame that is fully wrapped in the exterior leather, and utilizes copper rivets to ensure the bag’s longevity.
With a small internal pocket and a large central compartment, this a a great weekender bag for those who like to travel in style and don’t mind carrying their essentials in their hand.
Available for $400 from WP Standard.
2) Frostriver: Gladstone Bag
While most people probably picture a leather Gladstone when they think of this style, Frostriver offers a serviceable alternative in the form of their canvas Gladstone Bag. Made with a wire structure, this bag comes in two sub-styles: toolbox and luggage.
If you’re looking for internal pockets and whatnot then the former is a great option, but if you want to maximize clothing carrying volume then the luggage variant might be more up your alley. Whichever you choose, this bag is an affordable way to get into the Gladstone game.
Available for $230 from Frostriver.
3) Maxwell-Scott: The Gassano Large
For those who know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to pay for it, Maxwell-Scott’s Gassono Large is a great option. It’s about as classic as they come, feature with a locking, metal Gladstone frame, leather handles and straps, and buckled strap closures.
In additional to the main storage compartment, this bag features several external pockets for all your smaller items that you want to access quickly.
Available for £880 from Maxwell-Scott.
4) Satchel & Page: Gladstone Bag
Satchel & Page is another brand offering a great, classically designed Gladstone bag, and they’ve thought of just about everything. This bag is constructed with a brass internal structure, aniline dyed French shoulder exterior, suede lining, and an array of internal pockets for all your carrying needs.
While it certainly isn’t cheap, this is the kind of bag you get to watch evolve as your wear-and-tear helps it to develop its own, unique patina.
Available for $595 from Satchel & Page.
5) Vermilyea Pelle: Doctor’s Bag
Vermilyea Pelle is a fan favorite when it comes to bags, and we’re sure their Doctor’s Bag will get just as much praise as their other offerings. This model is made from Horween’s Dublin leather with an army canvas lining, and features a steel internal structure.
Finished off with nickel hardware and a long, Wicket & Craig leather strap, this piece is inspired by vintage doctor’s bags and aims to be your own family heirloom.
Available for $525 from Vermilyea Pelle.
Plus One – Böle: Doctor’s Bag
Doctor’s Bags are one of the most iconic forms of Gladstone, and Böle’s interpretation is just phenomenal. Made to not hide the metal structure but rather to accentuate it, this bag features a bark tanned leather exterior and reindeer leather interior which pair well with the brass hardware closure.
While yes, this bag is as pricey as a used car, Böle controls everything from the leather tanning to the design to the construction in the saddlery, and this attention to detail really shows. If all doctors used bags like this, it might explain some of the cost of the American medical system.
Available for €9000 from Böle.