"Hey, great suit!" is a nice compliment to get. But having somebody notice your briefcase (or your shoes), now that's an ego boost—accessories, after all, are the best way to express your individual style amid a sea of same-same (if well-cut) woolen uniforms.
There is a downside to having a briefcase though: people will notice it. Purchase wisely.
For one, a briefcase is a daily companion as well as an investment piece, one that with proper care, will get better with age. And two, you don't want to look like your traveling salesman grandpa (assuming your grandpa was a traveling salesman; you get the point). In other words: this is work bag, not a weekender bag. Keep it tight.
The latest generation of briefcases are sleek and small (about 15-inches wide) with room enough for your laptop and a small sheaf of documents, but not much else. Here's six options with which you can't go wrong:
Uri Minkoff Fulton Brief
New York-based Uri Minkoff is known for impeccable bags, from weekenders to folios, with a more minimalist Scandic sensibility. The soft leather is the perfect shade of brown that pairs well with anything, although will look especially nice in the warmer days (and against the lighter-hued clothing) to come. ($355, uriminkoff.com)
Tom Ford Buckley Leather Briefcase
With smooth-texture straps against a tactile grained body, Tom Ford's gray calf leather slim briefcase is an eye-opener. We especially like the gold-tone zipper, a bold departure from your everyday silver. Inside, more zippers (on pockets) and a laptop compartment. ($3,250, mrporter.com)
Shinola Slim Briefcase
Shinola's slim briefcase is hand-stitched in their leather studio in Detroit using American-tanned leather and stainless steel hardware. Its more loose, laid-back construction—think slightly rumbled creative director than slicked-back financier—will break in gorgeously. ($895, shinola.com)