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The Edit

Match Your Bag To Your Career

Briefcase, portfolio, or something in between… we’ve got every job covered

While the power of a good suit is well-documented, the importance of having the right bag to go with it is less often discussed. How many times, while enduring the ordeal of the daily commute, have you been treated to the sight of an otherwise smartly dressed man on his way to work with a backpack slung over his shoulder that looks like a relic from his school days?

A failure to address the finishing touches can spell doom for even the most well-put-together of looks, and nowhere is this more the case than in the office. When everyone is dressed in dark suits and white shirts, the little details can make a big difference. To help you ensure that you make the right impression, we’ve picked out six briefcases and pouches that deliver on both function and formality. Time to hang up the schoolbag and get to work.

The Businessman

It’s not just our working habits that are becoming more flexible; the same is also true of the international symbol of the working world. Yes, that’s right: we’re talking about the briefcase, which has adopted a far softer silhouette in recent years. Take this example from Italian leather specialist Bottega Veneta: cut from the brand’s signature “intrecciato” woven leather, it’s a quiet declaration of good taste – and a sign of a businessman who knows how to adapt to changing times.

Wear it with

  • Boglioli Grey Slim-Fit Virgin Wool Suit

  • Ermenegildo Zegna Blue Slim-Fit Cutaway-Collar Trofeo Cotton Shirt

The CEO

You can spot a Berluti briefcase a mile away, such is the eye-catching finish that this illustrious Parisian brand applies by hand to its leathers. It’s referred to as a “patina”, a word normally used to refer to the appearance that old wooden furniture takes on after years of use and repeated polishing, and you can see why: in a beautifully burnished mahogany brown, this “Un Jour” briefcase has a finish that wouldn’t look out of place on an antique Chippendale sideboard. Quite the statement, then, but nothing says “chairman of the board” quite like it.

Wear it with

  • Canali Navy Valencia Slim-Fit Stretch-Wool Travel Suit Jacket

  • Edward Green Dover Leather Derby Shoes

The Entrepreneur

The century-old Swedish tannery Tärnsjö Garveri shuns the chrome-based tanning agents preferred by most leather manufacturers, relying instead on natural vegetable tannins derived from tree bark. It’s a more time-intensive process, requiring a greater level of skill – the company’s master tanners boast decades of expertise – but it results in a finished product that’s both richer in colour and more prone to darkening and softening over time. A future-proof investment, in other words, and just the thing for compelling the venture capitalists to think the same of you at your next funding round.

Wear it with

  • Helbers Grey Slim-Fit Unstructured Cotton, Alpaca and Wool-Blend Jersey Blazer

  • Theory Zaine Slim-Fit Neoteric Tech-Jersey Trousers

The Creative

There’s more than a hint of Mad Men about the elegant leather accessories produced by Valextra, a Milanese brand founded in 1937 that became a by-word for jet-set elegance during the middle of the 20th century. Bring out your inner Don Draper (we’re referring more to his timeless style and less to his penchant for womanising and heavy drinking) with this burgundy pebble-grain leather portfolio, which, with its handy array of internal pockets and smart looks, is perfect for making an impression at your next pitch.

Wear it with

  • Solid Homme Intarsia Wool-Blend Sweater

  • Maison Margiela Slim-Fit Wool-Flannel Drawstring Trousers

The High-Flyer

It turns out that Montblanc, the German manufacturer renowned for creating some of the world’s finest writing instruments, is also pretty good at making briefcases. Sharing the name of its flagship pen, the Meisterstück – German for “masterpiece” – and discreetly branded with the iconic white snowflake logo, this soft-shouldered briefcase more than lives up to the lofty billing. At once traditional and decidedly modern, it’ll lend gravitas to every high-flyer’s business attire.

Wear it with

  • Paul Smith Navy A Suit To Travel In Soho Slim-Fit Wool Suit

  • Drake's 8cm Striped Silk-Faille Tie

The Producer

Briefcase or messenger bag? If you’re struggling to decide between the two, then this smart pebble-leather bag from Paul Smith might just be the one for you. Fitted with a detachable shoulder strap and boasting a deceptively large capacity, it’s got all of the functionality of a messenger bag – but with added the formality of a briefcase. Perfect, then, for the producer who needs to look good on the go while laden down with scripts.

Wear it with

  • Massimo Alba Yak Jacket

  • Grenson Declan Suede Chelsea Boots