How To Choose The Right Briefcase For Work
Knowing that a briefcase is one of the most important things you can buy, the question is how to select the best briefcase for your needs. Although it is important to dress for success, utility is still a primary function of a briefcase. Traditionally mens briefcases are more angular and smaller in size, whereas womens briefcases are rounded and generally roomier. However, as the end goal is to project a professional appearance most briefcases are interchangeable and unisex in nature.
Laptop Use and Frequency of Travel
The initial consideration is if the briefcase will fit your laptop and charger. While most briefcases will fit a traditional 14″ laptop, some of them do not have much room left for paperwork and other personal devices or stationary. For longer trips, throwing in an extra battery and additional paperwork may be too much for the bag to handle. Additionally, we find that most briefcases do not offer much protection for your laptop. For those who want additional care, note the padding on the bottom and sides in the laptop compartment.
Shoulder Strap and Top Handle
In general, we recommend a briefcase that has a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap. A briefcase with a shoulder strap is usually less professional in nature. However, it is somewhat forgiven if the bag looks like a laptop briefcase. A detachable shoulder strap is great utility for travel and dressing down your bag for more casual meetings.
The existence of a non-detachable shoulder strap briefcase usually results in a lack a top handle. Although greatly preference oriented, the appearance of the top handle is more in line with a professional office image. For most people the lack of a handle at the top of the briefcase is a deal breaker. The top handle without the strap is cleaner and easier to move around. Consider, functionality aside, if the lack of or existence of a top handle is a deal-breaker for you
Briefcase Bottom Feet
Although it varies between briefcases for men and women, the tabs that act as feet for the briefcase help the briefcase stand upright when empty as well as full and act to protect the material and contents of the bag. Without the feet, we find that certain briefcases are subject to sliding on smooth surfaces. When you are carrying around a laptop, it helps that the feet separate the floor from the base of the bag as there is less initial impact with tabs at the bottom.
The traditional black color has been the popular choice for good reason. Simple, neutral and easy to match with whatever you are wearing. A common second choice is a darker brown or other shades of leather colors. Both colors are great choices, but we suggest on getting a black one before the brown. Further, if you don’t want the hassle of matching your briefcase, shoes and belt, a black briefcase is the easy way out!
The Bottom Line
A briefcase should compliment your attire by speaking volumes about your professionalism and attitude towards work. While the points above are somewhat preference oriented, we have one rule to help you make a decision. “Considering that Confidence can be bought. Which briefcase would give you the most confidence when you walk out the door?”.