What kind of briefcase do I want?
January 11, 2013 12:23 PM   Subscribe

So I finally had to go and grow up, and now I need a briefcase. But I don't really know what I need to look for.

My requirements:
- Big enough to carry documents and a 13" laptop
- Fairly secure - I have no illusions about whether someone would be able to get in if they stole the whole case, but I don't want it to be easy to just reach inside when I'm not looking
- Not too fiddly to open myself
- Professional looking, I will be taking this to court and to meetings with clients, among other things

Bonus if it's under £50 and likely to be available in UK high street stores.
posted by fearnothing to Shopping (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How formal? A formal briefcase looks like this (but can be wider) and is always hand held. A less formal one could look like this and has an optional carry strap. There are also bags made specifically for barristers / litigators. Can you tell us more about your business environment?

Assuming your work shoes are black, you should plan to procure one in black as well.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2013

Field is computer forensics with a dash of IT consulting.

Yes it should be black. It will likely not be used every day, and I don't think I need it to be ultra formal, but it should definitely not give off 'casual' vibes.
posted by fearnothing at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2013

The Samsonite Inspector Attache is a classic and comes in two sizes, they cost about £120 but are worth every penny.
posted by Lanark at 3:31 PM on January 11, 2013

Office supplies retailer here. Most of the "formal" type that DarlingBri linked to are document briefcases; while they may have a large compartment in the bottom, few are partitioned to securely hold a laptop (it'll slop around in there.) There are models of this type specifically designed to accommodate a laptop; Samsonite and Solo both make very nice looking models.

Unless you work in an ultra-formal setting, use of a leather or ballistic nylon laptop bag like this is quite commonplace, even among C-levels. Nice padded compartment for your laptop, and several compartments for documents, pens, accessories, etc. Note that the acceptance of nylon laptop bags may be a regional thing (Seattle area), but I know quite a few C-levels who use them; some even wear backpacks. YMMV.
posted by xedrik at 3:35 PM on January 11, 2013

If you want to walk into an M&S, this is what they have.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:39 PM on January 11, 2013

I just bought this Sumdex Laptop Notebrief which had great reviews and which I'm liking thus far.
posted by vegartanipla at 5:09 PM on January 11, 2013

I have a beautiful Ashley Jones leather satchel I bought about eight years ago from a random shop on Ealing Broadway that no longer exists - but the briefcase sounds like it would fit your needs perfectly. Ashley Jones (London) doesn't have a web presence, bizarrely, but the bag I have is beautiful and awesome and still in perfect condition and if you can find one, I highly recommend the brand.
posted by goo at 6:17 PM on January 11, 2013

If you were in the U.S. and able to support a higher price point, I'd say Saddleback Leather.

You may be able to find similar styles available at your price point and location.
posted by kalessin at 10:16 PM on January 11, 2013

I suppose one of the things I should be asking is, given my requirements, what features do they specifically eliminate, and what features would particularly support them? Should I be looking at buckles, combination locks or something else? What makes a case good or bad for carrying a laptop?
posted by fearnothing at 12:41 AM on January 12, 2013

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