What is a briefcase used for?

The Great British briefcase originated as an integral accessory for the genteel businessman. Crafted from leather and in a classic, rigid box design, the traditional briefcase was used by professionals such as lawyers and doctors to carry documents to and from the office.

Fast forward to modern day, and the briefcase has evolved beyond recognition. Not only can a modern brief hold important business documents, but can accommodate all the digital essentials that come with millennium life, as well as keys, business cards, water bottles – you name it.

As the nature of work and living in the 21st-century changes at warp speed, briefcases must reflect our ever-changing lifestyles to stay relevant. Thanks to freelancers, digital nomads and jet-setting professionals blurring the lines between work and play, today’s briefcase must work day to night, as well as accommodating business and personal items.

This influx of new work roles has spawned an array of briefcases with specific functions and versatile designs. With the traditional rigid box design a distant memory, professionals are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to purchasing their dream briefcase. But the options can be overwhelming.

Slim and minimal or high tech and functional? Lightweight and casual or luxurious and authentically made? Our briefcase shopping guide is here to help.

How big is a briefcase

Over the years, the briefcase has shrunk in size due to iPads and laptops taking the place of bulky documents and folders.

Briefcases still come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, however, with most modern designs coordinating with popular laptop sizes.

Still need a large design? There are plenty of expandable briefcases available that offer ample space without compromising their sleek profiles.

Briggs & Riley and Tumi offer some great expandable designs.

Leather briefcase or a waterproof briefcase?

Good old fashioned leather or cutting-edge weatherproof?

The type of material your briefcase is made from should reflect your lifestyle.

High flyers, whose commute basically consists of the two steps from their chauffeured car to the gleaming lobby of their office building, can get away with an exquisitely crafted leather briefcase.

Their sheltered lives mean rarely a drop of rain will touch the delicate nature of the handcrafted leather.

A freelancing creative, on the other hand, who dashes across the city from hip coffee shop to photoshoot in a derelict warehouse, will require a more weatherproof, practical and durable design.

Briefcase shopping guide

Digital nomad or demanding professional? Whatever your work role, Global Luggage has just the briefcase for you:

The best briefcase for traditionalists

As close to a traditional briefcase one can get, the elegant Oxford oozes a distinguished style renowned of the gentleman of yesteryear. Beautifully crafted by the artisans at Jekyll & Hide, this classic leather briefcase comes in a rustic Tobacco shade and is minimally detailed.

Enviably slim, the case accommodates your basic business necessities, such as an iPad, charger and small notebook. Although retro to the eye, the Oxford has dedicated spaces for a 15” laptop or tablet and features RFID panelling. Essential for the businessman who likes to balance modern functionality with an old school aesthetic.

Oxford's simple yet functional interior

The best briefcase for stylish professionals

For a chic commute, choose the Westport. Arising from Tumi’s covetable Voyageur collection, this slim leather briefcase combines minimalism and functionality.

Designed with female professionals in mind, Westport ensures a neat and polished vibe whilst ensuring maximum organisation. Internally, a biscuit-hued lining is home to padded spaces for a 14” laptop and iPad, as well as plenty of pockets and compartments for pens, a smartphone, documents and other small essentials.

A leather rain flap on the front pocket protects the beautiful leather material from wet commutes or accidental spillages, meaning the Westport stays looking fine for years to come.


Westport's luxurious interior with a biscuit-hued lining

The best briefcase for control freaks

This high performing business bag is proof that briefcases have come a long way since the simple box style. A member of Briggs & Riley’s @Work collection, this suave grey case is bursting with enough organisational pockets to placate any control freak. Three compartments are packed full of handy spaces that keep business essentials in enviable order. Your 15.6” laptop, tablet, folders, stationery, documents, cards, keys and more are all carefully looked after inside this smart, soft-sided brief. Further highlights include a u-zip panel for clothing and other odd-shaped items, as well as RFID protection.

@Work's super organised interior

The best briefcase for those always on the go

Forward thinkers and fast movers need a briefcase that won’t slow them down. Enter the Adapt. Part of Briggs & Riley’s Verb series, this sharp looking case moves at the speed of modern life.

Designed for maverick professionals, Adapt is smart enough for business meetings yet cool enough for out-of-office lifestyles. Sleek, minimal and contemporary, the Adapt expands by up to 2” and makes the transition from work to play fluid. Features include a lockable 15.6” laptop compartment, padded fleece-lined slip pocket for iPad® or tablet, a u-zip, gusseted organizer section, alongside plenty of pockets for stationery, gadgets, cables and cards.

Adapt's highly functional interior

The best briefcase for business travellers

The jet-setting lifestyle might sound glamorous, but the reality of long airport queues and shouty security staff says otherwise. Wouldn’t it be great if you could whizz through security without having to pull out your expensive laptop and watch it slowly drift out of sight? Now you can thanks to Tumi’s Alpha 2 T-Pass bags.

Fly abroad with this Medium Screen Laptop Brief and your laptop can stay safely tucked inside at all times. Simply unfold the brief at the security scanners and allow the bag to move on through with laptop intact. Suddenly, airport security just became a breath of fresh air!

Simply open the Alpha T-Pass Brief when going through security

For more premium briefcases check out our business bag range here. From classic leather briefcases to practical and sporty styles, there’s sure to be a design to suit your work lifestyle.