UPDATE: The J. Abboud case seen above is now going for $140 from the flash sale site Beyond The Rack. Shipping can take awhile though, and it’s a flash sale site, so be familiar with their return policy.
I work at a think tank in DC where the dress code for men is anything from very basic business casual, all the way up to a suit and tie with cufflinks. I tend to dress as if I have an important meeting that I’m going to (even if I don’t), but I do go more casual from time to time with either khakis or even jeans and a sport coat. I’m looking for a decent bag that will go well with either one of these scenarios. Something that doesn’t look too casual with a suit, and not too stuffy with jeans and a jacket. For an added degree of difficulty, I probably can’t justify more than $200 for this investment currently. Any ideas?
Oof. Marshall, Marshall, Marshall (bet he’s never heard that one before). That’s a tough one. Some sticky parameters for sure, but we’ll make a deal with you. You stick to working at the think tank (good grief man, that’s a conversational trump card) and we, that includes you guys the readers, will try and find you a briefcase.
What you want is something that’s not too rigid, but not schlumpy either. A pair of top grab handles is a must. A pure messenger with only a shoulder strap is a no. Leather accents will be a plus, but an all leather bag is going to be tough to find under $200. The Abboud up top ^ is a little steep at $185, and the hardware is just so-so looking, but it fulfills the requirements. What else fellas? Leave your suggestions in the comments. More options from this side of the website are as follows:
Leans tactical. Heavily. The olive version on the left leans too casual, but as long as you keep the black one from getting overstuffed, it almost comes across as a soft sided, dark, Zero Halliburton. Meaning: If some suited up guy is walking down the street, with purpose, and he’s not smiling… I don’t think many will mess with him. Who knows what’s in the bag. Meaner and more urban looking than Filson’s original brief. Try the code BETTERFIT10. Seems that might take 10% off for a new customer, or maybe if you’re lucky, it’ll just take 10% off period.
Great if you’re the type who doesn’t like to carry much. Holds a 14″ laptop, but at just 1″ deep, it won’t be holding much else. Obviously, real sleek. Leather. Also comes in black.
It’s a little sharp edged looking to work with jeans and a t-shirt, but jeans and a sportcoat? Probably. And the ultra-cheap it ain’t leather it’s PVC factor helps a little with that. If it were some ultra luxurious, drool over piece of fine leather… then it’d overwhelm a more laid back outfit. That won’t happen happen here.
The Good news? It’s made in the USA and looks incredible. The Bad news? It leans pretty casual and it’s $45 over the line. Best to not go digging through the couch cushions if you favor a suit, this probably leans too casual.
An odd one. The straps actually slide along some bolt-looking things to go all streamlined when recessed. F-14 Tomcat Variable Sweep style. Part of the up to 30% off Yoox sale that’s going on right now. Also available in a more streamlined, no side pocket style (which looks a little less like a purse.)
The best in show, by far. After seeing Marshall’s requirements the mind immediately runs towards Jack Spade. Cleaned up but not stuffy. That’s what their brand specializes in. A perfect briefcase for what he’s looking for… as long as he doesn’t have a closet full of pinstripe suits. That might get a little weird. A final sale item. No returns.
Anything else for Marshall? Leave it below. More ideas for affordable briefcases can be found in this old post.