Whether you’re looking for a revamp of your old briefcase, or you simply want a smarter way of carrying around your business essentials, we’ve got our top 5 new briefcases below.

Jump to: History | Types of Briefcase | Best Briefcases Under $549 | What Brands Say

You can also shop all men's leather briefcases online here.

Wide shot of brown business briefcase

A briefcase was traditionally used by the legal profession, but has since been adopted by all forms of business environments. It used to consist of a hard sided bag with a traditional rectangular shape, but as the turn of the century brought a more relaxed business casual feel to office dress, a softer sided briefcase has been introduced alongside it. The introduction of new materials and water protective fabrics have allowed a revival of the briefcase in modern styles, perfect for a professional or casual work environment.

Where do briefcases come from?

Old briefcase

Leather briefcases have always been a man's best friend, even from Roman times where the soldiers were carrying their belongings in similar leather bag. However it was during the 19th century when the western world was full of new and interesting materials to use for practical fashion that the briefcase truly took shape. During this period metal was introduced to reinforce a work bags structure, and so the modern briefcase was formed. Barrow and Gale are a traditionally famous briefcase brand because they manufacture the type used in the British budget photos you might see on TV, which have been copied by countries across the world. During the 1990's and sooner the thicker briefcase was substituted for a more sleek and modern finish, with softer sides introduced and stylish front buckles preferred to the two top clips.

Types of Modern Briefcases - How to Choose

In the modern era there are now more than 3 types of briefcases to choose from. Different styles of briefcases are appropriate for different situations, so it's important to know how you are going to use your briefcase in order to pick the best one. A man's bag should be both practical and fashionable, but it's always practical first.

PortfolioPortfolio Briefcases

These are typically smaller and sleeker in design, with 1 or 2 small compartments that are designed to be carried in the hand or under the arm (they don't come with a handle).

FolioFolio Briefcases

A folio case is simply a portfolio with a retractable handle, and so is designed to carry a few documents or a small laptop.

Soft sided briefcaseSoft Sided Modern Business Briefcases

These involve briefcases with multiple central pockets, designed to carry both documents and laptops, and have a robust top handle and sometimes a shoulder strap. They fit a more casual work environment because of the soft unstructured sides.

Structured Modern BriefcaseStructured Modern Business Briefcases

These combine traditional structured briefcases with modern design, and always involve both hard sides and a robust lid to protect valuables inside. These are particularly useful if you carry heavier laptops, as the stronger sides can protect from damage if dropped or knocked. They will often be slightly smaller inside due to the limitations of fixed sides.

Token mention: Attache Briefcases

This is the older styled briefcase with the completely solid hard surround on all sides, which has typically gone out of fashion because of its historic association. You won't find many modern brands sporting this type of case anymore.

Best Men's Briefcases for Business under $549

So here we have our top 3 briefcases, all coming in at under £450. Investing in your business appearance will increase the likelihood of a promotion, making a leather business bag a great investment for any working professional.

1. Abramovich Soft Sided Leather Briefcase - $363

Spacious but business casual, this soft sided briefcase can store both documents and laptops at the same time. You can carry it with the soft handles or the detachable shoulder strap. It's available in both brown and black leather.

2. Master No1 Structured Leather Briefcase - $545

This briefcase combines a structured feel with smoother lines for the perfect mix of classic and modern style. The 3 central compartments help you easily manage your belongings whilst on the move. It's available in both brown and black leather.

3. No.3 Elegant Leather Briefcase - $363

This large briefcase is more of a laptop bag and briefcase hybrid, providing plenty of space to fill with all your work gear. The soft sides make is a slightly more casual briefcase, but still made from quality waterproof leather. It's available in both brown and black leather.

4. Executive Professional Leather Briefcase - $521

This highly structured briefcase is ideal for a very professional work environment, where you need to display both authority and style. There are 4 compartments including a zipped central pocket for extra security whilst on the moth. It's available in both brown and black leather.

Popular Brands on Briefcase Style

GQ Says:

"Think briefcases are just for grandpas? Think again. This new generation of briefcase is sleek and slim, with room for all your paper and non-paper work stuff."

Men's Journal Says:

"Unlike your ballistic nylon work bag that looks roughed up and needs replacement every two years, a well-made leather satchel will only get better-looking over time."

Men's Health Says:

"When we say “work bag” do you automatically think “man purse”? Well cut it out! The kind of bag you need for the office couldn’t be less like a purse."

Reddit Says:

"Briefcases, especially leather ones, really require at least a business casual level of formality, and they look fantastic when worn with a suit."

Fashion Beans Says:

"When it comes to selecting a style of bag for the 9-5, briefcases are functional, stylish, classic and, somehow, all too often overlooked."

We also stock leather laptop bags for men here.

Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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