Briefcases are the traditional accessories for busy professionals and business people on the go. And for good reason; briefcases are able to occupy the perfect position between high functionality and high style. What better way is there to cart your documents around the city than in a fine leather briefcase?
The basic briefcase and its variations
The traditional or basic briefcase design is a leather skin stretched over a metal frame with a hinged compartment. This traditional design, the one that probably pops into your mind when you think of a briefcase, is called an attache, and is decades old. It first gained in popularity among diplomatic circles in 10th century Paris. Even today, this traditional design is the most popular briefcase design out there, and any advances in style or function are really just variations on the traditional design.
The traditional material for making briefcases was genuine leather. These days however, briefcases are made from many other materials. Aside from genuine leather, popular materials used in the construction of a briefcase include synthetic leather, vinyl and nylon.
The most common variation of the traditional briefcase is the folio case. A folio case is basically just a briefcase but with a wider compartment. A folio case is therefore perfect if you have an unusually large number of documents to ferry somewhere. If you are doing this frequently, you should consider getting a folio case with a retractable handle and wheels.
Current briefcase trends
The most fashionable briefcases today have moved away from the traditional box shape to a more relaxed bag-like structure. These bags will often forgo the traditional hinged compartment structure and instead rely on a flap enclosure that fastens to the side of the briefcase.
These briefcases will also usually have an optional shoulder strap, an additional that would be unheard of on a traditional briefcase. These newer style briefcases are sometimes called brief bags, shoulder bags, or courier bags.
Another change from the traditional briefcase design has been the move towards accommodating laptops and other electronic devices such as Blackberries and cell phones. The first laptop bags were strictly functional vinyl bags that cared little for aesthetics.
Today however, there are numerous high end laptop bags on the market that rival the sophistication and styling of a traditional briefcase. Designers of briefcases have learned that for modern professionals, their laptop is usually the most important focus of their work and the item that needs to be moved around from home to office far more than the occasional sheet of paper.
Modern briefcases that are designed for laptops will often include a special pocket inside the compartment where the laptop can be securely stowed, as well as extra padding around the laptop to protect it from the occasional bump or the dreaded fall. Another movement in contemporary briefcases is to have a multitude of pockets and other attachments on the outside of the briefcase in order to secure the owners host of electronic gadgetry. Once again, an advancement that goes against the sleek and streamlined aesthetic of traditional briefcases.