With a history that dates back to the time of the Romans in the 1st century, the best men’s briefcases have a long and storied past. Once a staple for the 20th-century businessman, slim, modern tech has made these classic carriers obsolete. However, even though your MacBook might not need all the space a briefcase offers, the best leather briefcases are still worth buying. These carrying cases have a more grown-up appearance; for those looking to graduate from their college carry-on, a briefcase is a great way to do it.
Even though backpacks have become acceptable in many offices, briefcases and messenger bags are still the most professional way to carry your work essentials. In certain professional environments, your clothing and accessories are an important part of your reputation. That’s why our guide to the best briefcases for lawyers remains a popular shopping guide more than three years after it was originally published. At elite law firms, showing up to work with a backpack might get you mistaken for the intern. Thankfully, there are plenty of dapper leather briefcases for men, with options at several price points.
It wasn’t too long ago that messenger bags (or any bag with a shoulder strap) was considered feminine, and these types of leather bags were famously the butt of the joke in an episode of Friends. However, now that laptops are ubiquitous tools for students and professionals, these types of compact briefcases and shoulder bags are a necessity.
If you want to upgrade your work or travel bag to something more professional, check out these gorgeous leather and vegan leather briefcases to give you a cool and sophisticated look at the office. In accordance with modern styles, most of the works bags below are soft-sided; however, we have included a couple of hard-sided briefcases for men who prefer a more traditional aesthetic.
1. Overland Tahoe Distressed Leather Briefcase
BEST HERITAGE BRAND
Family-owned and operated Overland started their business specializing in shearling coats and leather accessories almost fifty years ago in New Mexico. Over the years, the company has expanded, but artisans worldwide still handcraft their items. This soft leather briefcase has a detachable shoulder strap and large outside zippered pockets on both sides. The main compartment keeps you organized with interior credit card slots and zippered and slip pockets. And yes, there’s room for your laptop too. The leather’s designed to age beautifully; the more you use it, the better the patina.
2. Paul Smith Embossed Textured Leather Briefcase
British designer Paul Smith is known for his wild color combinations, but when it comes to work accessories like briefcases, he uses a restrained hand on the exterior. At the same time, the lining is a riot of color. This briefcase’s subtle detailing and neat silhouette are both handsome and practical. A 13-inch laptop fits neatly inside, and an exterior pocket can hold a phone, keys and items you need to grab quickly.
3. Filson Rugged Twill Compact Briefcase
Filson is famous for its backpacks, and some of the most popular styles and colors are currently back-ordered. Our favorite Filson briefcase at the moment is the Rugged Twill Compact Briefcase. While this isn’t made entirely from leather, it’s too stylish not to include here. The body of the bag is made from a handsome twill, with accents made from saddle-grade Bridle Leather and brass. This professional-looking bag will last you for many years to come, and it’s one of the best briefcases for men who care about form and function equally.
4. Latico Leathers Soho Laptop Brief
Compactly designed to neatly hold your laptop and more, this unisex laptop briefcase has a detachable shoulder strap and a large main compartment replete with all the pockets you need to keep your stuff neat and accessible, as well as another large-sized zippered compartment. Sustainably made, Latico Leathers opts for utilizing hides found in the dairy and meat industries as this lessens waste. Hides are treated with natural dyes and work with artisans in India and South America. For every purchase, Latico donates 10 meals to Feeding America. As of this date, they’ve donated over 100,00 meals to that nonprofit.
5. BOSTANTEN Briefcase
Bostanten’s briefcases come in three different sizes depending on how much you carry. They also use a brass alloy for accents and zippers, which gives the bag a premium feel and a unique look. Handmade and available with an additional shoulder strap, this briefcase was designed to fit up to a 15″ laptop and the rest of your daily essentials.
6. Ted Baker Striped PU Document Bag
BEST LEATHER ALTERNATIVE
You would never know from looking at it, but this stylish document bag is actually made from synthetic materials, part of Ted Baker’s NEVVER collection of accessories. As a result, it’s also one of the most affordable options on our list, and the classic document bag features shoulder straps, handles and a chocolate-brown stripe running down the center. Keep in mind that as a document bag, it’s designed to carry paperwork, and so large laptops won’t fit inside.
7. Montblanc Sartorial Leather Document Case
This classic yet modernly elegant leather briefcase from Montblanc is in a category of its own. It’s drenched in striking all-black Italian leather that has a clean look to it. There are three exterior slip pockets and one interior for holding goodies of all shapes and sizes. The interior can hold several items like your laptop and other essential documents. Because it’s all black, you will have no problem matching this bag with just about anything you wear to the office. And, yeah, the price point might be a tad high, but this bag makes it completely worth it.
8. Fossil Evan Workbag
BEST INTERIOR SPACING
Are you the “shove it everywhere” type of person? If so, the Evan Workbag from Fossil was made for you. This leather briefcase has a massive interior space perfect for last-minute throw-ins. Shove a jacket if you get chilly, a small umbrella if it rains, your lunchbox you almost always forget before rushing out of the door and your laptop. Because, well, you need your laptop to work. The bag has numerous interior pockets that will fit pens, pencils, credit cards and tech. Visually speaking, the bag has a handsome exterior that will get you some head turns.
9. Samsonite Expandable Briefcase
BEST FOR CARRYING A LOT
This black leather briefcase comes from Samsonite, a brand that has been making trustworthy bags and luggage for over a century. The briefcase features room for all your daily essentials but can be expanded to fit more items when traveling. Great for the businessman who requires plenty of gadgets and accessories on hand, this smart-looking bag also comes with a handy shoulder strap.
10. Samsonite Bonded Leather Attache-Style Briefcase
BEST HARD-SIDED BRIEFCASE
It isn’t easy to find hardshell briefcases like this in 2022. If he worked in an office, your grandfather likely carried a bag like this, but this style has largely gone out of fashion in modern times. If you prefer a more old-school look, then you’ll want to buy the Samsonite Hard-Sided Leather Briefcase pictured below. There are practical benefits to this style, which offers more protection for sensitive documents and electronics. On top of that, this attache case comes with a built-in lock, which you won’t find on your average messenger bag.
11. Estarer Vegan Leather Briefcase
BEST MINIMALIST DESIGN
Crafted in jet black (vegan!) leather that will pair well with any existing set of luggage you have, this Estarer briefcase is a must for travel. A sleek back strap allows you to slip it over the top of the luggage handle for easy storage while you’re shuttling about the airport or hotel. Additionally, the bag can expand to carry all of your stuff, including a 15” laptop. We love the single belt closure, as it helps to tie the whole package into a retro-looking case.
Read More: Best Briefcases for Lawyers
12. Bleu de Chauffe Report 2 Full Grain Leather Briefcase
BEST MODERN RETRO STYLE
Handcrafted in France, this vegetable-tanned leather briefcase has a bright, modern style with just a touch of vintage that elevates it from the pack. It’s ridiculously roomy inside as there is a padded laptop sleeve and space for a lot of other things and, oh, so many pockets. They can be found inside and on the outside of the briefcase. The felt-backed shoulder strap is detachable too.
13. The Cambridge Satchel Co. 15-Inch Batchel
BEST FOR VINTAGE LOVERS
Sometime in the early aughts, The Cambridge Satchel Co. exploded onto the scene, and everyone either wore their retro schoolboy-inspired leather crossbody bag or wanted one. This briefcase is a mix of briefcase and satchel, hence the mashed-up name “Batchel.” This 15-inch design can hold a laptop, papers and more. It also comes in five other colors and has a detachable shoulder strap.
14. Salvatore Ferragamo Logo Detailed Textured Briefcase
BEST DESIGNER BRIEFCASE
Ferragamo is both old school and a must-have in the designer label hierarchy. The brand’s known for excellent craftsmanship and non-showy style. If you have it, you don’t necessarily need to flaunt it. Crafted in Italy, it has both exterior and interior zippered compartments. It can be hand carried or use its shoulder strap.
15. Corkor Vegan Cork Leather Briefcase
PETA-APPROVED VEGAN LEATHER BRIEFCASE
Sophisticated and sleek, this vegan leather briefcase is made from durable cork leather. One compartment can hold a 16-inch laptop, and the other can hold a 10-in tablet. A large open pocket on the front can hold a notebook, phone and keys. The open back doubles as a suitcase sleeve. PETA Deutschland named this laptop bag the Best Handbag for Men at the 2015 Vegan Fashion Awards. Corkor offers free shipping too.
16. Baggiftsart Vegan Leather Briefcase
BEST MINIMALIST DESIGN
One of the great things about Etsy is discovering small brands that deliver high-quality goods. Baggiftsart is one of those handcrafted small companies that has consistently gotten five-star reviews from customers. Based in South Carolina, they’ve achieved Star Seller status on the platform. The company creates a variety of vegan leather and leather bags. This briefcase can be hand carried, has a detachable shoulder strap, and can even be worn as a backpack. The box design holds a 15-inch laptop. It has a zippered back pocket and a front outside compartment secured with a buckle. They offer free shipping, a lifetime warranty and free returns.
17. Matt & Nat Alban Vegan Briefcase
BEST OG VEGAN BRAND
Matt & Nat’s been designing vegan leather bags and briefcases long before they were trendy. Sleek and slimly cut, you can easily carry a 13-inch laptop and other items in this bag. There are zippered compartments, open pockets, and room for your work stuff. It has a detachable shoulder strap to carry it like a messenger bag.
18. Mr. Turk Palm Springs Clutch
BEST FOR TRAVELING LIGHT
There are people among us who only need a few things when they walk out the door. Lucky them. This faux leather trimmed hand-carried tote is perfect for holding it all for those who only need a tablet, wallet and keys in one spot. Mr. Turk’s fabrics and prints are wildly colored and vintage inspired. Much like the lavender palm trees that populate this bag.
19. Mancini Expandable Attache Bag
Hard-sided briefcases can withstand any event and keep their looks, shape and contents intact. Mancini’s has a soft suede interior and it’s like carrying your office with you. There’s an expandable folder section, slots for pens, an organizer, covered pockets so nothing can shake out and the case itself is expandable.