riefcases have been a staple in the workwear industry for decades. Back before laptops, people carried them around even when they barely had anything to put in them. Due to the material and structure of a suit, it was customary to carry one in hand rather than have an over-the-shoulder bag to avoid damaging your clothes. Briefcases were, and still are, a sign of professionalism. It signifies you mean business, and even now when workwear is becoming more casual and people use tote bags and backpacks, briefcases are still very much a good way to let your whole workplace know you’re a professional. It’s important to note that briefcases aren’t just one style, a briefcase can be a satchel bag, a messenger bag, or even a backpack. As fashion progresses, workplace looks have become more dynamic and even more casual, so our briefcases need an update, too.

There are a few key things to look for when shopping for a briefcase in 2022, such as size, ethics, and making sure it is technology friendly. These days, our needs are different from back in the day in the workplace. We need less space for paperwork which can now mostly be viewed on a laptop. This gives room for improvement and efficiency, allowing us to carry a stylish bag but not be weighed down by a wide, bulky case designed to hold documents and letters.

1. Fossil Miles Messenger Bag - $120 (SALE)

A brown leather bag.
Messenger bags are a classic. Image courtesy of Shop Style. 

This unisex bag comes in black or brown, is made with leather and recycled polyester, and has brass hardware. It conveniently fits a 15 inch laptop, plus your plus-sized smartphone. It has a handle and a shoulder strap, plus inside and outer pockets. Messenger bags are a great updated look from the classic briefcase, adding style to your look while still keeping it professional. This will take your work fit to the next level.

2. Tecovas The Briefcase - $375

Brown leather briefcase.
A well-made, luxury choice. Image courtesy of Tecovas.

This briefcase has the classic professional look with a modern update. It is well made and built to last, so if you’re looking to splurge, this would be a great option. It’s made with Presidio leather and canvas lining, and antique brass hardware. It has a padded tech sleeve which has room for a 15 inch laptop, tablet, and phone, plus other large pockets for optimal organization. It’s also equipped with two outer pockets for easy access. It’s certainly a good option for those who have luxurious taste.

3. Ecosusi Women’s Stylish Cambridge Backpack - $83

Brown briefcase on table.
Made with vegan leather and can transform into a backpack or briefcase. Image courtesy of Ecosusi.

This bag is a more affordable option if you’re on a budget, but still want the classy, professional look. This bag is made from vegan leather (a win for the planet and animals), and comes with adjustable straps which can be turned into shoulder straps, or even a backpack style. It can fit a 14-inch laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, and your other accessories with ease. It’s well-structured, and has room for optimal organization. This bag is perfect if you’re a student or a young working professional. 

4. Boconi Slim Zipster Laptop Briefcase - $120

A reddish brown bag.
A classic briefcase look. Image courtesy of Lyst.

This briefcase is perfect if you have a few pieces of technology to bring with you. It is made from leather and has a textile interior, and has several pockets inside for all your essentials, plus a RFID data protected sleeve. It is well-structured and well equipped yet has a slim design for easy transport and grabbing on-the-go. It has a classic look and nice structure, so you can’t go wrong.

5. Ted Baker Joinn Satchel - $116

A black briefcase with two straps.
Another good cruelty-free choice. Image courtesy of Tradesy.

This satchel comes in two colors, navy and black, and is made from PU vegan leather. It has a detachable shoulder strap, and gunmetal hardware. It has plenty of storage to fit a small laptop, tablet, phone, and your cords. It has an outer pocket as well for easy access. It has a double faux buckle in the front with a magnetic clasp. This bag is perfect if you only need to carry your essentials around and just need room for the basics. 

6. Ted Baker Nevver Striped Document Bag

A man with a briefcase.
A briefcase for the minimalist. Image courtesy of Ted Baker.

This bag is made with vegan PU leather and comes in two colors, brown with a tan stripe and black with a teal stripe. It can be carried over the shoulder or by the handles. It has the perfect amount of storage for a minimalist, but nothing too heavy or bulky. The pockets inside are enough to fit your laptop and tablet, plus some additional room for miscellaneous items. The style is timeless, and it’s comfortable to carry around.

7. Robert Graham Paterio III Portfolio Briefcase - $120 (SALE)

A light brown Robert Graham bag.
A practical choice with plenty of storage. Image courtesy of Nordstrom Rack.

If you’re looking to splurge, and sport some luxury, try out this Robert Graham portfolio bag. It’s definitely not as minimalist as others in its category, but it will definitely get you through your workday with its compartments and slim yet practical structure. It’s equipped with a handle and strap, and it can hold a laptop or tablet. It’s a classic look but has the beautiful embossed detail that Robert Graham often works into their items. It can fit all you need with its inside compartments and outer pocket. 

8. Ecosusi Julie Vintage Vegan Briefcase - $89

A black bag.
Another vegan choice with a classy look. Image courtesy of Ecosusi.

This vegan leather bag is very versatile, you can switch the removable straps and turn it into a backpack, over-the-shoulder, or crossbody. It also comes with a specially designed flap detailed with antique metal clasps. The bag has a nice slim design with soft touch faux leather, several different compartments, a keychain strap, and even has a place for a water bottle inside. It can fit laptops up to 16 inches. This one is perfect if you’re looking for something that’s cruelty-free, practical, and affordable.

9. Waxed Canvas Laptop Briefcase - $87

A brown canvas briefcase.
Made with unique material with a practical purpose. Image courtesy of Lands’ End.

This one is different from the others in that it’s made from canvas instead of leather or PU leather. It comes in two colors, navy and brown, and it has a cotton lining and leather accents. It changes the structure, which is ultimately personal preference. It is waxed canvas, which makes the material water resistant and more durable, so it is not going to be flimsy like a normal canvas bag. It’s less prone to getting dirty or ruined from the elements, and has a lot of room to expand with the added flexibility. This bag is built to last, with canvas being a durable material, and can withstand bending, stretching, spilling, tearing, etc. 

Waxed canvas is made to last a lifetime. It has five zipper pockets inside, and can fit a 15 inch laptop. You can also choose to personalize this bag and add embroidery!

A briefcase is usually an investment, so you want to be sure you pick the right one. Sure, it may cost upwards of $100 or more, but if they are good quality, they will last years. Plus, there are always affordable options out there if you’re on a budget. For young professionals, getting a head start in the working world is one of the keys to success. 

The other key to success is organization, which is where the briefcase comes in. While a lot of people will say they are outdated, briefcases are very beneficial for keeping your laptop, supplies, documents, tablet, and accessories right there where you need them, so you don’t have to worry about anything but getting to work. Besides, briefcases don’t look like they did 30 years ago. The word briefcase can be applied to more of a variety of bag styles now, fit for every person, and every career. Whichever briefcase you choose, be sure it fits your style and your needs. There are plenty to choose from!

Dec 14, 2022