They always say, “You should dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and while that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to strut into your relaxed, business-casual office in a three-piece suit every day, it does mean that you should gradually up your style game as you advance in your career.
And believe it or not, it starts with the accessories—a nice tie, a good watch, and yes, a killer briefcase. If you think people don’t notice the crappy bag you’ve been hauling to work, you’re wrong. People notice and judge accordingly. It’s time to invest in a nice bag.
You can get a starter briefcase for under $300 or, if you just got a big promotion, you can treat yourself to a briefcase that costs right around what you pay for a month’s rent. The less expensive one will get you on the right path to at-work stylishness, and the uber-expensive one will be with you for years to come. Check out our list of the 25 best briefcases for men below.
J. Crew Abingdon Laptop Bag
If you’ve been dragging that old messenger bag you’ve had for years to the office but aren’t ready to drop a ton of cash on a classic leather briefcase, the Abingdon Laptop Bag is a good choice. Made out of durable waxed canvas with leather straps and brass hardware, it looks good and will stand up to your not-quite-executive-yet lifestyle (read: you can bring it to the bar for your usual trivia night that somehow always turns into last call).
Herschel Supply Co. Clark Messenger Bag
Herschel Supply Co. is known largely for making stylish backpacks and weekender bags, but with this offering—designed exclusively for Apple—they’ve cemented their dominance over the messenger bag category. With fleece-lined interior sleeves to protect your Macbook and iPad and multiple mesh organizers to keep everything organized, it’s the ultimate work bag. You almost won’t be pissed about having to haul your computer home to work on that presentation this weekend. Almost.
Skagen Kruse Document Bag
A mix of casual and elegant, this is the ultimate bag if you work in a casual office but still want to look sharp (you do). Made by Denmark-based Skagen, it embodies minimalist modern Danish design with its durable waxed canvas exterior and twill cotton interior with tons of padded pockets for your laptop and all of your essentials.
Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase
If you’re the type of guy who spends your weeks in the office but your weekends in the wilderness, the Mountain Briefcase by Colorado-based Topo Designs will be your go-to work bag. It has the classic shape of a briefcase, but with its waxed canvas exterior, rugged leather accents, and zippers with bright red pulls, it’s decidedly different than what other working stiffs would carry. It has a ton of interior pockets, but the best feature is the two cinch straps on the bottom, which can hold a jacket or anything else you’ve got that can be rolled up.
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie Heathrow Commuter Bag
Recently founded by two Montreal-based twin brothers, WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie specializes in creating quality travel accessories that will make traveling an art again instead of a chore. This sleek Heathrow Commuter Bag looks way more expensive than it actually is—its slim profile, deep blue coloring, leather accents, and a detachable cross-body strap make it the perfect bag to take to work.
Ernest Alexander Spencer Brief
Ernest Alexander was started 5 years ago with the mission to create the perfect men’s messenger bag, and since then, the brand has been churning out quality men’s bags perfect for work and play, like this Spencer Brief. Made from wax cotton canvas that will develop a nice patina as you kick it around over the years, the bag also has sturdy brown leather handles and accents as well as interior pockets to hold your laptop and other work docs.
Billykirk No. 332 Attache Case
Brothers Chris and Kirk Bray have been crafting quality men’s accessories since 1999, and their No. 332 Attache Case is no exception. In olive green, it’s more casual than a lot of attaches, and will fit a 15” laptop. The two deep exterior pockets are perfect for stashing things you need to easily access when you’re in transit, like an iPad, boarding pass, or magazine.
Filson Original Briefcase
Made of indestructible, water-resistant twill canvas with bridle leather handles and accents, this is a good-looking briefcase that will grow with you. The American-made bag also has a reinforced bottom for extra durability and is available in your choice of either tan or otter green.
Lotuff Slim Zipper Briefcase
Though this briefcase from New England-based Lotuff sports a slim profile, it’s able to fit a helluva lot of stuff. The canvas and leather exterior boasts two full-length pockets to hold magazines and your tablet, while the interior has multiple dedicated pockets for pens, your wallet, and phone.
Killspencer Attache Briefcase
Los Angeles-based Killspencer’s Attache Briefcase is business on the outside, party on the inside. Why? How many briefcases have you seen that have an interior lined with black fur? Not that many, we’ve checked. Aside from the furry interior, the briefcase has three divided exterior pockets for your phone, wallet, moleskine, and whatever other small things you need to keep handy.
Billykirk Schoolboy Satchel
Billykirk’s Schoolboy Satchel is made of vegetable-tanned leather from Wickett & Craig, one of America’s oldest tanneries located in the heart of Amish country (really). The handcrafted bag is very simple—it will fit your laptop and your documents but if you’re looking for a bag with a ton of interior pockets to keep everything organized, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Jack Spade Nylon Slim Briefcase
Jack Spade, like it’s sister brand, Kate Spade, is known for creating quality bags, so this Nylon Slim Briefcase is a good choice. Its slim profile will automatically make you look put-together while the textured nylon exterior will absorb wear and tear.
Graf & Lantz Carry-On
Designers Holger Graf and Daniel Lantz are known for creating unique bags and accessories out of a unique and luxurious material—merino wool felt. This gorgeous Carry-On bag melds gray felt with leather accents, and because it’s a bit roomier than traditional briefcases, you can easily make it the only bag you carry on your next overnight business trip.
Jack Spade Bartlett Briefcase
Another offering from Jack Spade, the Bartlett briefcase combines waxed full-grain leather with oxford weaved canvas for a truly unique look. It has a zippered, easy-to-access exterior pocket and a single main interior compartment with slip pockets for your wallet and phone.
Cole Haan Whitman Attache
The Whitman Attache is a little bulkier than the more slim-profile briefcases we’ve featured, but the upside to a bigger bag is that you can fit more stuff in it—this is a bag that would be perfect to take to your Friday afternoon business meeting and head straight to the airport to start your weekend with.
Travelteq Trash CitizenM X Briefcase
Amsterdam-based Travelteq has teamed up with CitizenM Hotels to create the X Briefcase for people who are constantly on thego. Handmade in Italy, the bag features 8 interior compartments to stash all of your stuff, and there’s even a separate compartment for a cigar, if you’re into that.
Ralph Lauren Soft Gents Briefcase
Sleek and minimalist, this Soft Gents Briefcase from Ralph Lauren is made from soft leather and lined with cotton twill. This is the briefcase you want to be carrying when you interview for your dream job.
Hard Graft Atelier Assembly Briefcase
London-based Hard Graft is committed to using the very best materials to create quality accessories, and this Atelier Assembly Briefcase is one of their best offerings. Made by skilled craftsmen in Italy, the bag is padded to protect what’s inside, and the bottom includes 4 small metal feet to protect the bag when it’s hanging out on the airport terminal floor while you’re waiting for your flight.
Filson Leather Field Satchel
Filson has been creating quality leather goods since the late 1800s, so you can rest assured that they knew what they were doing when they crafted this Leather Field Satchel. This durable accordion-style briefcase is made with saddle-grade Bridle Leather that takes over a decade to fully break-in. The bag features a storm flap with buckle closure and tons of interior pockets to store everything you’ll ever need.
Dunhill Bourbon Leather Briefcase
Founded in the late 1800s by the brand’s namesake, Alfred Dunhill, in its 100+ history, the brand has become synonymous with luxury goods. So, if you’re going to shell out nearly $1,000 on one bag, this one is a good bet.
Tumi CFX Indianapolis Slim Brief
For years, Tumi has been a trusted brand when it comes to luggage. With their collaboration with Carbitex, they’ve created a high-quality briefcase crafted with Carbitex CX6, which is a dense, intricately woven material that will guarantee that this bag is an investment that you’ll never regret.
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie Trudeau Briefcase
The Trudeau was the first bag designed by the team behind WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, and it’s stuck around for good reason. Its slim profile and minimal details keep things simple, but don’t let your first glance fool you—the bag has a total of 14 interior and exterior pockets as well as a padlock with keys in case you work for the CIA. It’s also available in cognac if black isn’t your thing.
Burberry London Crossbody Briefcase
Burberry doesn’t just make that one scarf that every ex-girlfriend of yours owned—they’re a British heritage brand that makes a ton of quality outerwear and accessories. This 100% calf leather briefcase might be expensive, but it’ll be well worth it when you’re still carrying it around 20 years from now. We like the more subdued navy coloring, but it also comes in a variety of hues if you want to get bolder in your choices (we’re talking seafoam green, turquoise, red, and purple).
Tarnsjo Garveri Icon Leather Briefcase
With experience reaching back to the late 1800s, the Swedish Tarnsjo Garveri knows how to make a nice leather bag. The Icon briefcase, with its gleaming cognac coloring and classic buckle flap, is a bag you’ll carry to every job you have—even if you end up in the corner office one day. Especially if you end up in the corner office one day.
Berlutti Un Jour Venezia Briefcase
When faced with the options of spending $3,000 on a vacation to Europe or buying a bag, most guys would go with the vacation. But if you have the spare cash to spend, you will not regret investing in Berluti’s Un Jour Venezia briefcase. Handcrafted in Italy, this gorgeous all-leather briefcase will make everyone wonder where you work and whether or not you would consider working for them. It’s an expensive—but effective—business card.
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