There was a time when the professional man had but one look, and when he was dressed for work, things were clear. Along with the suit and topcoat, there was the standard briefcase - the hard, angular, leather box, with bright, shiny metallic accents.
Now, with the traditional office dissolving and the 9-5 work week being constantly reimagined, it's time for a new briefcase: one that will still look professional, just not like Gordon Gekko. So, whether you still have a cubicle or corner, work from home, or anything in between, here are our picks for some seriously stylish and masculine, yet affordable, briefcases, laptop bags, and other ways to keep your work organized and mobile.
The Beckel Canvas Briefcase - $52.00 The most casual of the bunch, but also the least expensive. It would work best in informal work spaces, or for lugging your laptop, tablet, and a bit of paperwork to the coffee shop or co-working environment. Thick, unwaxed canvas with leather reinforcement and cotton handle. Optional shoulder strap available, and made in the U.S. in Portland, Oregon. [Beckel Canvas]
Knomo Kilkenny Messenger Bag - $139 This British offering features a great mix of leather and fabric, making it classy, but still affordable. It's both padded and water resistant, making it a good option for filling with your investment tech and gadgets. The structured, rigid design allows to keep things organized, and your documents crease-free. [Amazon.com]
Banana Republic Messenger Bag - $125 (Often 30% off) Best for the freelancer or telecommuter who mostly wear jeans to work, but still needs to dress up a bit for the occasional meeting. Comes in black, blue, and green, and easily swings across your shoulder for a train commute or bike ride. [Banana Republic]
Filson Original Briefcase - $225 A dressier and yet more rustic version of the above, Filson's is pricier, but features water repellent 22oz oil-treated canvas, making this a great travel case, and the right option for tougher weather conditions, like Filson's hometown of Seattle. The most expensive on this list, but you'll use it for decades. [Filson.com]
Amerileather Traditional Double Slip-in Executive Briefcase - $94.99 Though likely made overseas, this bag is made from all top grain leather, and is, according to the comments, very roomy. It's got pockets and organizers all over, and receives very positive reviews. It's a lot of bag for under $100. [Pictured at top: Overstock.com]
Duluth Safari Portfolio - $125 Available in sixteen colors of canvas for those who like to make a statement, this smaller option is best for those who use a smaller laptop or tablet for the majority of their work. All Duluth products are made in the U.S. and guaranteed for life, so it's wise investment for all kinds of uses. [DuluthPack.com]
Neo Handmade Leather Briefcase - $125 This all cowhide bag is a bit on the small size (it only fits a 12" laptop, but makes up for it with vintage-inspired styling and topnotch materials. The inside features just enough pockets to keep things organized, but enough room to maintain adjustibility. [Neo Leather Bags]