The 20 Best Briefcases for Men to Look Sartorial and Spiffy

The best options based on style, durability and organization

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L.L. Bean, Carl Friedrik, Shinola

Never underestimate the importance of a good ole briefcase. Sure there's an element of briefcases that can seem a bit classic and very much give off "the 1990s businessman/lawyer in the movies that slams his briefcase on the desk and opens it dramatically to indicate he's found something important," but like other classic fashion staples, briefcases have elevated in recent years to look much more modern. In the real world not only do briefcases automatically command respect and indicate you're a guy who's very serious about what he does, they also serve as a compliment to your suits, blazers, and can even call attention to those super polished dress shoes you're rocking. Today we're going to be taking a look at the best briefcases for men to look their sartorial spiffy best.

Whether it's our best overall choice, the Herschel Gibson Briefcase, $74.59, or the L.L. Bean Stonington Daily Carry Work Bag ($119)—which can also double as a travel bag should you have to hit the airport right after your important meeting—these are some of the best you'll currently find on the market.

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The Best Briefcases, at a Glance:

1. Herschel Gibson Briefcase

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The Best Briefcase, Overall

  • Outer material: Recycled fabrics
  • Lining material: Recycled fabrics
  • Key features: Two main compartments, laptop sleeve, trolley sleeve
  • Waterproof: No

This bestseller from Herschel is regarded as being a top briefcase due to it's sturdy design and sustainability as the bag is made from 100% recycled post-consumer water bottles. In addition to its environmentally-friendly component, the bag is expandable boosting a main compartment with storage sleeves, and a front compartment that comes along with a key clip and organizers. Plus, there's also a zippered front storage sleeve and a zippered luggage trolley sleeve for extra storage space should you need it. The shoulder strap is padded for comfort as you carry. Sitting at $75, this is a good pickup for all seasons.


2. L.L. Bean Stonington Daily Carry Work Bag

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L.L. Bean

A Good Budget Option

  • Outer material: Cotton canvas
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Two open pockets, two side pockets, premium leather handle, fleece-lined padded sleeve
  • Waterproof: No

Described by L.L. Bean as being "a modern take on a traditional briefcase," the Stonington Daily Carry Work Bag is crafted with cotton canvas and boosted by a leather lining that creates a sleek timeless look great for the office, traveling, or even casual outings. The bag is infused with features such as four spacious pockets (two on the front and two on the side), leather handles, a fleece-lined padded sleeve that can hold a 15" laptop and more. The carry is a comfortable one with the option of removing the shoulder strap if you wish, with the cotton canvas construction adding to the bags strength and durability. L.L. Bean gives you three different colors to choose from, with the bag being priced at $119.


3. Carl Friedrick Palissy Briefcase

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Carl Fredrick

Best Investment Briefcase

  • Outer material: Vegetable-tanned Vachetta leather
  • Lining material: 220gsm technical nylon canvas
  • Key features: Main compartment, laptop compartment, shoulder strap
  • Waterproof: No

If you are looking to make a great briefcase to make an investment in, the Palissy Briefcase from Carl Fredrick is about as good as you get. Cut with vegetable-tanned Vachetta leather and a lining material of technical nylon canvas, this briefcase checks the boxes of being functional, durable, and professional. A classy look that comes with the option of four different colors, the bag features a laptop pocket, a main compartment roomy enough to fit a 16" MacBook, and a 40mm wide shoulder strap should you want to carry the bag over your shoulders. Priced at $695 there's plenty of room available, the texture and quality of the bag is amazing, and it can work well in a lot of different settings.


4. Lilienthal Berlin Virtuoso Briefcase

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Lilienthal Berlin

Best All-Black Briefcase

  • Outer material: Recycled leather
  • Lining material: Recycled polyester
  • Key features: Two document compartments, magnetic closure, organizer section
  • Waterproof: Yes

The Virtuoso from Lilienthal Berlin is loaded with functional and convenient features such as the two document compartments that can be used to hold important information, an organizer section that can be used for your card slots, and a key holder. There's also an attachable strap included with the bag alongside the handles if you want to carry on your shoulders, giving you some different options to consider each day. The bag is crafted with recycled leather to go along with a lining material made with recycled polyester. There's even built-in pen loops should you need a place to carry your pens. Organization is at the forefront with the Virtuoso, which comes in four different colors and a $107.40 price tag.


5. Shinola Detroit Slim Traveler Briefcase

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Best All-Leather Briefcase

  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Two exterior slip pockets, interior slip pocket, leather card pocket
  • Waterproof: No

The Slim Traveler from Shinola is an-leather durable bag containing some nifty and helpful features such as two exterior slip pockets for accessories like phones, wallets, and other smaller items, and a padded laptop pocket that fits up to 15" laptop. Also equipped with adjustable removable webbing shoulder strap, the interior pockets are padded to help with protecting your essentials (I.E. no laptop cracking with this bag), and there's even a leather card pocket and pen pockets. You'll get about six liters of storage with the Slim Traveler (which should be plenty), and two different colors to choose from. Survey says this is an excellent bag to cop.


6. Bellroy Via Work Bag

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Best for Work

  • Outer material: Recycled fabrics
  • Lining material: Recycled fabrics
  • Key features: Quick-access pocket, main compartment, luggage pass-through slides
  • Waterproof: Yes

Crafted with 100% recycled external fabric and linings, you're sure to love Bellroy's Via Work Bag should you choose to make the $129 investment. Some of its standout features include a main compartment spacey enough to hold electronics, wallets, phones, and the likes, while also having other functional features such as padded laptop sleeve (which can fit a 16" laptop), and a quick access pocket with a key clip. The bag is water-resistant and has separate internal pocket that helps with organization as you can use it to store your notebooks, pens, and other mini-sized items. The quick access front pocket is super convenient, and the zip opening is very wide allowing you instant easy access. There's three different neutral colors to choose from—all of which work well from a versatility standpoint.


7. Saint Laurent Briefcase

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Best Luxury Briefcase

  • Outer material: 100% Leather
  • Lining material: 100% Cotton
  • Key features: Single internal zipped pocket, small design, slot compartment
  • Waterproof: No

Briefcases come in luxury too, as evidenced by this Saint Laurent Briefcase which is designed to be small and efficient. Made with a 100% leather outer material and a 100% cotton lining, while the bag is on the smaller side, it still checks organization of its list with an interior that gives you just the right amount of space. The interior of the bag also features a single internal zipped pocket, along with a slot compartment that's big enough to fit the average-sized laptop or tablet. YSL is known for their supreme quality, which means the almost $1,700 investment is a good one as far putting money down on a bag with lasting potential, and while simple, the look is a stunning one.


8. Filson Rugged Twill Original Briefcase

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Best Rugged Briefcase

  • Outer material: 100% Cotton rugged twill and bridle leather
  • Lining material: Cotton twill and bridle leather
  • Key features: Two internal dividers, two external full-width stow pockets, adjustable handles
  • Waterproof: No

The Rugged Twill Original Briefcase from Filson is also a good option to consider as far as briefcases goes. Utilizing space in the most functional way possible, the briefcase is cut with 100% cotton rugged twill and bridle leather which itself is covered with industrial-strength slightly waxed fabric. Inside the briefcase you'll find two internal dividers to organize your essential items, and a double-layer reinforced bottom that protects any and everything you choose to put in there. The outer part of the bag features two external full-width stow pockets for easy access to your phone, wallet, keys, etc., and adjustable handles. If needed, there's also a removable 46” shoulder strap that's padded for comfort if you want to carry on your shoulders. Priced at $495, this is a great bag.


9. Samsonite Classic Leather Toploader

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  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Full-sized top handle brief, SmartSleeve, large organizer pocket
  • Waterproof: No

If space is specifically what you're looking for, you'll get plenty of that and then some with the Samsonite Classic Leather Toploader. How much space are we talking? For starters, there's a large organizer pocket that includes a tablet pocket, two phone pockets, and pen pockets. There's also an easy-access zip pocket in the front, a padded laptop sleeve that can fit a 15.6" laptop, three large accessory pockets, a back compartment that has a divider for file organization, and a large zip pocket. That's how much space we're talking. Additionally, the bag is cut with leather, and comes with a detachable strap for extra measure. Two different colors accompany the Samsonite, with the asking price sitting at $167.99.


10. Filson Dryden Ballistic Nylon Briefcase

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  • Outer material: 1000D Nylon fabric
  • Lining material: Nylon
  • Key features: Interior slotted pockets, double-layer bottom, trolley strap slides
  • Waterproof: Yes

Another option from Filson, the Dryden Ballistic Nylon Briefcase is described by the brand as "the sweet spot between hardsider leather briefcases and messenger bag," this bag is noted for its large interior and exterior pockets and rather cool design. Both exterior pockets are easy access and come with zippers to ensure your belongings don't fall out. The bag is also very strong and sturdy with its 1000D Nylon fabric and water-resistant material. This is Filson we're talking about, so the quality is top tier, and this includes the bag being abrasion-resistant as well. A bag that holds up well over time, the Dryden comes in three different colors, and is priced at $195.


11. Leatherology Knox Slim Laptop Bag

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  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Micro-suede lining
  • Key features: Sewn-in paper pocket, protective foam lip, inset front compartment
  • Waterproof: No

The Knox Slim Laptop Bag is worth your consideration as well. Crafted with a leather outer and micro-suede lining, the Knox is lightweight, minimalistic, and is pretty spacious as it has an inset front compartment that includes interior pockets. There's also other cool features such as a sewn-in paper pocket, and the protective foam lip underneath the zipper. The adjustable shoulder strap that accompanies the bag is padded for comfort, and the bag also has the ability to fit most slim 15-inch laptops. Leatherology gives you the choice of personalizing the bag to your liking as you checkout, which is one more reason to put this on your briefcase list.


12. Time Resistance Leather Briefcase

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  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Push lock closure, multiple pockets inside and outside, padded shoulder strap
  • Waterproof: No

The Time Resistance Leather Briefcase comes with great features that make the bag live up to its name. Handmade in Italy, the bag is all-leather from top to bottom, and features multiple pockets along with an interior that's made for organization. The bag is smooth to the touch thanks to that leather composition, and is full of durability that make the hardware resistant to tearing. This means the Time Resistance Leather Briefcase will last you years if taken care of properly. Plus, the bag comes with a key lock closure (something not seen to often on briefcases anymore), a padded shoulder strap, and is adjustable in length. Priced at $251, the Time Resistance Briefcase will serve you well.


13. COACH Metropolitan Slim Brief

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  • Outer material: Glovetanned leather
  • Lining material: Fabric
  • Key features: Inside zip, cell phone and multifunction pockets, exterior pockets
  • Waterproof: No

Not only is the COACH Metropolitan Slim Brief one of the sleekest and smoothest bags you'll carry, it's also a bag built with durability as it's meant to last you a long while. Constructed with glovetanned leather and a fabric lining, there's various pockets including an interior zip pocket, a cell phone pocket, and a multifunction pocket. The bag also features exterior pockets that have magnetic snap closures. A lightweight easy carry, COACH made sure to include a detachable nylon strap with a 25" drop in case you want to wear on the shoulder or carry crossbody style. If you need space for your laptop, the brand has you covered there as well with an inside sleeve that can fit a 15" laptop.


14. Rains Texel Tech Bag

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  • Outer material: 100% Polyester with polyurethane coating
  • Lining material: Polyester
  • Key features: Divided main compartment, internal mesh pockets, trolley sleeve
  • Waterproof: Yes

A no-frills straight-to-the-point bag built for protection first and foremost, it doesn't get anymore technical (and waterproof) than the Rains Texel Tech Bag, which offers individual compartments that you can choose to use for whatever you decide fits those compartments best from a storage standpoint. The organization is one of simplicity as the bag boosts a divided main compartment, internal mesh pockets, and padded divide. Two large pockets are present on the front of design which are made for easy access, and there's also a trolley sleeve that has a zip pocket itself. The result of all these nifty features is a durable bag that checks the box on being lightweight. While the bag is a technical one, it's still refined enough to take to the office, which is a feature we love.


15. Goyard Ambassade Briefcase

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  • Outer material: Coated canvas material
  • Lining material: Yellow cotton
  • Key features: Lockable double-slider zipper, flat front
  • Waterproof: No

What can we say? The Goyard Ambassade Briefcase is one that has been in high demand. A luxury briefcase to the fullest, this briefcase is the definition of opulent with its coated canvas material and yellow cotton lining. Polished with a luxe finish, some of the features on the bag include a flat front which allows you the ability to pack in different ways, and a lockable double-slider zipper. There's a reasonable amount of space present in the Ambassade (enough to fit a 15" laptop we'd say), and there's also an inner compartment that can be used for smaller items like pens and keychains. With the Ambassade you'll be the big baller center of attention that's for sure.


16. Ralph Lauren Leather Messenger Bag

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Ralph Lauren
  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Two external pockets, a back compartment, comes with an adjustable strap
  • Waterproof: No

If you were wondering if Ralph Lauren had a briefcase, the answer comes in the form of this half briefcase/half messenger bag from the brand, which is made with leather. While on the smaller side, the bag does have two outer pockets for easy access storage, along with a back compartment and a roomy interior. The bag is sturdy one resistant to tearing, scratching, or any other potential damage making it a great choice for that can be worn either professionally or casually depending on the overall look you are going for. Current pricing sits at $375, with the bag available in a solid black color.


17. TUMI Expandable Organizer Laptop Briefcase

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Nordstrom Rack
  • Outer material: Ballistic nylon
  • Lining material: Leather
  • Key features: Dual top handles, optional padded shoulder strap
  • Waterproof: Yes

Doubling as both a laptop bag and briefcase is the TUMI Expandable Organizer Laptop Briefcase which is as dependable as they come. Crafted with ballistic nylon and a leather lining, the bag comes with plenty of features including dual top handles, an optional shoulder strap in case you want to carry on the shoulders or crossbody, and a top zip closure. Aside from the spacious laptop compartment, the bag also has outer pockets for storage, a separate front compartment and a back compartment, meaning you'll be hard pressed to run out of room. A lightweight carry and great for traveling, the TUMI Expandable Organizer Laptop Briefcase is right at the $500 mark.


18. Lands' End Waxed Canvas Laptop Briefcase

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Lands' End
  • Outer material: Waxed canvas
  • Lining material: Cotton
  • Key features: Padded sleeve, leather carrying handles, five interior pockets
  • Waterproof: No

Made with waxed canvas and a cotton trim, Lands' End describes the Waxed Canvas Laptop Briefcase as "durable, dependable, and built to last," which is par the course for Lands' End products. The bag offers plenty of spacious compartments including five interior pockets (one of which is mesh), and a padded sleeve that fits up to a 15" laptop. The detachable padded shoulder strap gives you more than one way to carry, and did we mention the bag was spacious? Cause it's quite spacious. You'll get two different colors to choose from, and the bag is reasonably priced at $119.96.


19. Bottega Veneta Classic Intrecciato Large

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  • Outer material: 100% Calfskin leather
  • Lining material: Canvas
  • Key features: Removable shoulder strap, intrecciato craftsmanship, one interior zipped pocket
  • Waterproof: No

If you wanted to treat yourself to some more luxury, we recommend Bottega Veneta's Classic Intrecciato bag, which is cut with 100% calfskin leather and a canvas lining. Featuring intrecciato craftsmanship, you only get one interior compartment, but that compartment is spacious enough to pack your laptop and several other smaller belongings. The bag has a slightly rugged but still smooth feel to it, is sturdy, and reliable, making it one of the best luxury briefcases you'll find on the market. The brand gives you two different colors to select from, with an asking price of slightly over $3,000.


20. Mark & Graham Harvey Leather Briefcase

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Mark & Graham
  • Outer material: Leather
  • Lining material: Linen
  • Key features: Adjustable canvas shoulder strap, handle drop, multiple interior pockets
  • Waterproof: No

The Mark & Graham Harvey Leather Briefcase is pretty old school in its design, but very much modern with its features. Functionally made with an adjustable canvas shoulder strap, handle drop, and multiple interior pockets along with a padded 13” sleeve for your laptop, you'll be able to easily stay organized thanks to pockets and sleeves. Adding to that organization is an outer zipped compartment, and the nice option of adding a subtle foil monogram if you want to make the bag more personalized. The Harvey Leather comes in four different colors, with the bag currently being priced at $299.


How we picked the best briefcases:

Here's how we picked the best briefcases.

Style: The overall style of the bag was most important to us as that's the first thing people are going to see. Briefcases have come a long way since the 1980s and 90s, and we wanted the bags we selected to have the classic features of a briefcase while still not looking outdated.

Durability: Durability is equally as important because briefcases require an investment for the most part. If you are spending your hard earned money, then you want the return to be a bag that lasts you years. A good percentage of the bags we selected for this list were made with either leather, nylon, or waxed canvas—all of which are great materials for durability.

Organization: Briefcases are supposed to provide organization, which is why some have chosen to use them as a storage place for their important files and documents. Majority of the briefcases we selected for this list have multiple interior and exterior compartments and a laptop sleeve for plenty of storage room in space. Some even have specific compartments for files, along with pen and phone holders.

FAQs about briefcases:

Who should use a briefcase?

While briefcases provide the most value for professionals who need to have a lot of storage space (lawyers for example), everybody can technically use a briefcase. As we mentioned earlier, some individuals choose to use briefcases solely for their important documents and files, and briefcases in general are TSA-friendly and make for great travel bags.

Are briefcases formal?

Most briefcases are formal, however, in these last several years briefcases have become more modernized, which is why you'll see them blending together with other bag types such as messenger bags. Those types of bag are more casual and laidback in appearance. That said, there's still a level of formality to briefcases.

Where can I bring a briefcase?

You can bring a briefcase to the office, a business meeting, a casual lunch/dinner, or to the airport if you want to use it for traveling.

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