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Briefcase Review


Since fine leather briefcases are an investment, in any economy, we wanted to provide a briefcase review to assist shoppers, when considering a briefcase purchase. Our briefcase review examines construction, leather types, price range, and briefcase styles.

Styles: Some leather briefcase styles to consider are attache case, laptop briefcase, flap over briefcase, lawyer briefcase, top zip briefcase, laptop messenger bag, underarm and/or portfolio briefcase. We have provided some images of these leather briefcase styles located at bottom of this briefcase review.

  • Attache Case: A well made attache case can be difficult to find. Some attache cases will carry your laptop. The depth is the key to note, as they vary from 2.75 inches to 5 inches deep. Some hard cases have file organizers and media holders. Since our briefcase review is here to trigger features for you to notice, consider the quality of the combination lock and whether the handle is well constructed. Additionally, rounded edges on the case will protect the leather from nicks and bangs.
  • Flap Over Briefcase: A flap over briefcase offers a high level of security of briefcase contents and comes in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1/3, 2/3 or full flap styles. The dowel top, flap over briefcase is a traditional, studious look. The dowel itself can be made of wood or lightweight metal.
  • Laptop Messenger Bag: Messenger bags are worn across the shoulders diagonally, to distribute the weight of the bag and its contents across the body. Travelers like these bags because you may carry your personal contents, and your laptop close to the body, while your hands are free. Women like these bags because they can combine their handbag contents into this one bag. Laptop messenger bags come in horizontal and vertical styles. Laptops larger than 17 inches are best carried in a hand-held or wheeled leather briefcase, due to the weight on the shoulder. Messenger bags are also available in smaller versions specifically for men, i.e. mens bags.
  • Laptop Tote: An alternative bag for ladies is a laptop tote. A laptop tote is similar to a messenger bag because both bags allow you to carry your laptop close to your body, either over the shoulder or cross-shoulder style. A laptop tote allows a lady to tote her laptop horizontally or vertically, and it reduces the need for a handbag. There is a perfect feminine laptop tote out there for every woman and it will greatly improve your fashionable look.
  • Lawyer Briefcase: When numerous legal documents need to be transported, a lawyer briefcase is in order, and the lawyer briefcase should carry 11 x 14.5 inch documents, and possibly a laptop. Like all fine leather briefcases, a lawyer briefcase can be found in formal and casual styles, etc., i.e. English style or double buckle; stay open at top styles for packing ease; or flap over briefcase styles. Construction is important because of the weight of these numerous documents and binders. An alternative to the traditional lawyer briefcase is the catalog case. Catalog cases are oblong, cases with one main opening, and are available in hand-held or wheeled styles.
  • Top Zip Leather Briefcase: Some top zip leather briefcase buyers prefer a zipper closure on their leather briefcase versus a flap over briefcase. Many times there are multiple zipper closures, allowing the laptop to stay secure in one area, while the other zip compartments offer organization for documents. These cases many times, have built in media organizers and multiple organizer pockets. Some buyers believe zip closure offers faster access. It is important to find a high quality zipper on the case.
  • Underarm Briefcase: There are a few styles of underarm briefcase. You will find envelope styles with no handles, drop down handle under arm bags, portfolio underarm briefcase, flap over underarm briefcases, etc. The key to an under arm briefcase is to get one slim enough to fit nicely under the arm. These bags are perfect for meetings and local travel, if you just have a few documents and media to carry. You can often find these underarm bags for under $100.

Handle: The handle can be porthole style or flap attached. Porthole briefcases allow for the handle to slip through the opening in top of the flap and the handle is attached to center of the briefcase under the flap. A flap-attached, handled leather briefcase often has additional side reinforcements for shoulder strap carriage. Handle strength is dependent upon the strength of the section of the briefcase where it attaches. You will also find double handles in various drop lengths. Many ladies' styles feature double handles.

Carriage: Types of briefcase carriage are wheeled, hand-held, shoulder/cross-shoulder, detachable wheeled, or trolley style. A briefcase review can only suggest what may be comfortable for you, only you can decide what style(s) fit your lifestyle. Most advertisements indicate the weight of their bags in their ads, if not, we suggest calling the seller to ask some specific questions about weight and size.

Shoulder Strap: A leather briefcase should come with a cushioned, ergonomic removable, adjustable shoulder strap to protect your wrists and shoulders. A strap does not have to be all leather, to be a good strap. There are many light-weight, durable nylon and leather trimmed straps available. Many sellers sell these separately.

Closure: Fasteners can be buckle style, magnetic or locking. Many of the larger leather briefcases feature a slip-lock or combination code locking mechanism. When purchasing a leather briefcase with a combination lock, make sure a manufacturer warranty comes with the leather briefcase. If combination locks often break because of the moving parts. Brass looks best and lasts longer than lighter weight metals.

Construction: Construction of a leather briefcase should be sturdy enough to stand up on its own. Ideally, a lawyer briefcase, for example, should have feet or gusseted extrusions that stabilize the weight of a the briefcase. This feature, combined with extra cushioning will ensure safe carriage of your laptop. Either the center compartment or a dedicated laptop compartment with specific shock absorbing padding, should store the laptop. Look for very tight stitching on a large leather briefcase, which is a sign of good manufacturing and durability.

Leather: Full grain leather is the strongest leather because there has been no breakdown of the hide other than hair removal. From there, tanners may want to further treat the hides with processes that enhance the natural grain with a more desirable finish, such as dyeing, embossing, buffing, antiquing, waxing, waterproofing, and so on. All of these processes can add luster to your briefcase. It is more undesirable to see a lot of patchwork of the leather, same thing with with handbags and shoes.

Italian leather refers to the leather hides originating from the country of Italy; the briefcase can be made anywhere. Italians are proud of their attention to choosing the finest hides, free of blemishes. Hides other than cowhides are used in the manufacture of a leather briefcase, i.e. Ostrich, Alligator, Deer, Buffalo, Snake, Crocodile, etc.

Price Ranges: An average price range for a quality leather briefcase is $150 - $450. A fine leather briefcase that accommodates a laptop can go all the way up to $1,500 or even more, depending on type of leather, brand/designer and quality of construction.

Size: The size of a briefcase should be in proportion to your body size, not overwhelmingly large or small. Additionally, be sure to measure your laptop on all three dimensions and diagonally. There are briefcases to fit 12, 13, 14.5, 17 or 18 inch laptops. Large briefcases usually have an outside width dimension, starting at around 17 inches.

Le Donne Leather Flap Over Briefcase Korchmar B1140 Lawyer Briefcase Castello Leather Attache Case Jack Georges 6218 Top Zip Briefcase Floto Piazza Laptop Messenger Designer Underarm Briefcase