The Briefcase: a Chronicle on How it Transformed Men’s Fashion

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The 21st-century briefcase is not just a briefcase anymore. It could be anything a man wants it to be. It’s now turning heads as it fits into the metrosexual world but still remains as classic, as ever.

Have you ever wondered if the lawyers in the TV show Suits will look complete without donning their fancy, leather, really expensive briefcases? For some reason, lawyers, politicians, and corporate men seem to be tied to these things, their briefcases. They surely need to carry around confidential files (also called briefs) while prancing from one high profile meeting to another. And voila – the word briefcase was born.

The first bag for men to ever appear is called the Roman soldier’s loculus. It’s very much your standard messenger bag meets a folder. Light and easy to carry. This man bag love story went on until the pockets arrived. And of course, most men preferred pockets.

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Don’t get it wrong though, bags were still a necessity but it became catered to more specific uses – a doctor’s bag to carry medical equipment, a satchel for students, a sturdy leather backpack for soldiers to carry weapons, flasks, and first aid kits.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Most files are now in clouds, sent through emails, or in handy USBs. You have tablets and laptops that are slimmer than a 100-paged novel. This is why man bags nowadays, though it maintains the rectangular frame, can be made of all kinds of leather, canvas, impermeable materials, lots of straps, zippers, etc.

Let’s start with the sports-duffel-gym bag. This Killspencer duffle bag. It’s minimalist, but it’s water-resistant and even fire-retardant. And there are real-life stories behind bag creations, just like the brand Buckle & Seam and how these Germans found Pakistan to be their production area of choice. Just how gorgeous is their Willow travel and duffle bag?

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This messenger bag looks like your classic briefcase, but with straps and a bit more soft on the outside. It has a vintage design and genuine leather, from Vaschy.

The briefcase design is perhaps the most popular and classic design fit for any occasion. The modern spin-off of this classic design is the signature of black, matt leather. Designers are now using weaves and prints to modernise this classic design, Valentino even came up with a rock stud camouflage briefcase.

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However, it doesn’t mean the classic look is gone for good. In fact, most men still own it. It symbolises power and the kind of seriousness politicians carry around. Just like how a woman feels when she carries a Hermes or a Channel – like you can take over the world.

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