The 5 Best Leather Bags for Men for the Office

August 15, 2017

The 5 Best Leather Bags for Men for the Office

Here are the 5 Best Leather Bags for Men for the Office


A briefcase is the most classic of all leather work bags for men.

Its classic shape, sturdy build, and polished appearance are a sure-fire way to look the part.

When you're a working man, you need a bag that won't look out of place with a suit.

The soft briefcase is the perfect midpoint between a classic briefcase and a soft leather courier bag. It's elegant enough to look sharp no matter the occasion, but also won't make you look like you're selling encyclopedias.

Originating from lawyers carrying briefs (legal documents), briefcases have expanded to nearly all corners of the professional world. They are used to protect documents and it’s the primary distinguishing factor between briefcases and other bags.

The softer leather ones are more appealing and stylish, though they’re still sturdier than messenger bags and satchels.

Briefcases are a class of their own.

They’re not built for carrying a whole lot, but are very stylish and let’s be honest; you look important if you have one.

When it comes to briefcases, leather quality is key. If you’re committed to getting a briefcase, you should certainly spend the extra bit to get a nice, leather one as you’ll likely be sporting it alongside a suit.

Men's Leather Briefcase



The messenger bag is the briefcase's younger, cooler brother.

It will hold just as many documents (and a laptop, too), but with a shoulder strap and some pretty stylish design options out there, it's go-to for today's trendy work force.

Stylish and reliable, the soft full-grain leather bag can help you keep your laptop, tablets, phones, business cards and credit cards by your side.

Don't let the bag's storage capabilities fool you, however. The Messenger manages to feel and looks both sleek and compact, measuring 12" high and 16" wide.

The professional bag also contains a zippered inside pocket, is lined inside with single gusset construction and has a flap-over closure and two front pockets.

Messenger bags are more varied in their appearance. The traditional across-the-body style is pretty similar to a satchel; it offers a little more padding and flexibility when you’re trying to fill it to the brim and is also a little less formal.

This makes it the perfect option if you’re cycling to work and need something more weather-proof and durable.

Characterized by a strap worn over one shoulder and resting on the lower back, the courier AKA messenger AKA satchel (satchel isn’t totally the same as it’s typically worn across the shoulder) is great for lighter loads (laptop + couple binders/books).

Unlike backpacks that require you to remove the pack to access it, messenger bags are easily-accessible hence the name. These are great for warmer climates as they contact your body much less than backpacks.

Most messenger bags are made from cloth (canvas, cotton) or leather (cow). These packs are best used for shorter periods of time as most would agree that a single shoulder strap is less comfortable than a backpack’s twin straps, which provide better weight distribution.

These are a usually a more stylish option than most backpacks and are appropriate for both students and professionals, though the leather types are significantly more formal.

A courier bag can look great if paired with things like button-downs, chinos, and boots but can look out of place in overly-casual looks. Be careful not to carry them too often on jackets or blazers as it can wear out the shoulder pad.

Men's Leather Messenger Bag



If you're planning on hitting the gym after work, a duffel bag is a perfect option.

But be careful, there is a definite line between casual and professional here, so please ditch your old, smelly Nike bag and opt for a more refined version.

You can even use them as a weekender.

For an overnight (or two) stay, it's hard to beat a classic duffle. And for a bit more sophistication, leather is the way to go.

Sometimes style has to come before practicality. If the thought of slipping the overly-padded straps of a backpack onto your shoulders makes you shiver, then a weekender might be more to your taste.

A weekender bag is one of the best bags for travelling.

Men’s weekender bags are sophisticated in appearance and roomy enough to hold everything you’d need for a mini-break.

Most styles also have a detachable shoulder strap for when your arm muscles give up.

The words ‘duffle bag‘ might bring back nightmare-ish memories of school camps, but there are plenty of stylish and practical options available that make them the ideal bag for travel

They are as spacious as a weekender but slightly more casual, making them a good choice for a stag do or a weekend getaway with friends. In terms of comfort, these are some of the best travel bags out there.

Hitting the gym several times a week? A mid-sized hold all or duffle bag will fit all of your kit while keeping you looking on-form.

Nothing beats leather when it comes to sophistication but textiles – including canvas, wool and performance materials – work well depending on your everyday attire.

Dimensions matter, so ask for something no larger than 55cm wide (enabling it to double up as cabin baggage for short trips away) and make sure it’s lightweight enough to be carried with ease.

A detachable, padded shoulder strap should also be a priority if you find yourself lugging it around for extended periods each day.

The Duffel bag AKA weekender gets its name from a town in Belgium, where the original cloth sourced for the bags originated.

Duffels are commonly used as gym bags and are great for carrying clothing, sports equipment, or kilos. They range from very basic sports models to considerably more expensive ones.

Definitely a good bag to own as it’s very useful for weekend trips or other instances that require you to carry more than a backpack’s capacity

Men's Leather Duffel Bag

Tech Bag

We understand if you don't want to lug around a huge bag, or if you just aren't ready to jump on the briefcase train. Thankfully, there are tech cases made solely for your tablet, laptop, and smartphone -- or if you're a true techy, all three.

You've streamlined your life into one shiny touch-screen device, but you still need something to carry it in. Invest in a protective case with some punch to it, not to mention a bit of style.

Ideally, your chosen bag will have a specific pocket where you can store your tablet, so it isn't just bouncing around loose with all of your other stuff.

Think of your tablet a bit like you would think of your laptop. You wouldn't just toss your laptop unsecured into a bag and hope for it to make the journey safely. Rather, you'd want to strap it down or slip it snugly into a spot in the bag where it wouldn't move around a lot.

Keep these ideas in mind as you shop for a bag, and maybe even bring your tablet along for the shopping trip to make sure you find something that works.

Who those who find a laptop too heavy to carry around every day, a tablet is a great alternative. With the large, fragile screen, however, sometimes tablets need that little bit of extra protection.

From vintage retro design through to classic modern design, there's a style for everyone and every size tablet, both Samsung and Apple

The Crossbody

If you're not into the duffle, tote or backpack then why not the crossbody.

If you're riding any type of bike to work, this is the way to go, as the cross body won't get in your way.

Zippered bags also known as reporter bags – are the ones to keep an eye out for, and a far cry from the fold-over flap designs so reminiscent of the early noughties.

They give off a slightly more casual vibe, so you might want to think twice before pairing one with a suit.

You’ll also want to make sure the strap is the right length for the bag to be carried no lower than your hipline – unless you plan on delivering someone’s post.

Whether you're buying online or not, always take a note of the strap length, or at least buy a bag with an adjustable strap.

A cross-body bag should fall on either your waist or hip (or wherever you want to draw attention to) and never below your upper thigh.

Tip: If it's a bit too long, you can also tie a small knot at the top of the strap. Or if it's too short, have a tailor fix it for you. You can also detach the strap from the body and buy a new and longer one.

Obviously, cross body bags range in different sizes and styles - from teeny-tiny to large-messenger-ish. From solids to prints. The right bag is your calling card - it needs to complement your outfit and define personal style.

If you have a chic-classy style then definitely go for leather, I mean, you can never go wrong with a leather bag!

Men's Leather Crossbody Bag

These are the 5 best leather work bags for men.

Now that you have your bag you need to take care of it.

How to Care for Your Bag

If you’ve invested a few pennies in your bag, then you’ll want to keep it in good condition. If you don’t want to fork out for a professional cleaning service, we’ve got a few tips for how you can do it yourself at home.


Mix some mild liquid soap with warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt from the outside of the bag.

A professional leather cleaning agent might be needed for more stubborn dirt.

Wipe with the grain to avoid ruining the leather.

Never use wipes or “home remedies” as these may contain chemicals that will damage the leather.

Ink stains are best dealt with by a professional.

Spot-test a cleaning method first, preferably on the inside of the bag, to make sure it agrees with the leather.

Place an open tub of baking powder in your bag and leave it for 24 hours to absorb any unpleasant odours.

Choosing The Right Bag For You

Whichever bag you choose, it’s worth following these guidelines:

When purchasing, keep your personal style and usual colour palette in mind. It’s important to opt for something in a hue and material that can be easily integrated into your existing wardrobe – whether that’s mostly longline white T-shirts and black nylon bombers or sharp pastel tailoring.

Although certain capacious designs offer plenty of room, you shouldn’t necessarily use every last inch of the space available.

Carrying heavy weights is never a good look, while over-stuffing your bag can stretch and wear out the material.

Why should you care what your gym bag looks like? Because despite holding sweaty shorts and dirty trainers, you’ll be carrying it around all day and – irrespective of its pungent contents – if it looks bad, then so do you.

Watch out for shoulder straps when you’re wearing tailoring, as they can cause unsightly creases, and have the potential to ruin the structure of your blazer or coat. Look for bags that offer both hand straps and a shoulder strap so you can switch around to keep your suits looking their best.

Certain styles, particularly handle-free folios, can be a pain to carry for extended periods of time. Even simple tasks – such as taking a call while smoking a cigarette or hailing a taxi while holding a coffee, for example – quickly become laborious, which may mean you’re better off with a more practical backpack or cross-body.

But before you hastily click “ship,” take some time to consider exactly how you'll use your bag to ensure that it's the right one for you. Unlike a shirt or pants that you can easily swap out, you will likely be using the same bag day-in and day out.

So you want it to be something you love that also has the functional elements to meet your carrying needs.

Choosing an everyday bag, criteria to help guide your purchase:


Not only does your occupation dictate some of the things you carry, but every job has a different atmosphere that will influence your buying decision.

If you're a small town college student, a sleek black leather briefcase may not be the best choice. Not only is it an unusual type of bag for a student to carry, the materials are also more suited for a big city professional.

A simple, unembellished backpack or messenger bag would better meet your needs.

On the other hand, the above-mentioned briefcase would be right at home working in a downtown high-rise, while a backpack may earn some confused stares.


The part of the world/country you're in will likely have some influence over the style of everyday bag you choose.

For example, certain preppy, nautical-inspired options would be right at home in a seaside village on the coast but would look completely out of place in a small, farming town.

A big city will be more accommodating to elegant or flashy designs, while small towns will embrace classic ruggedness.

A fashion forward bag that may seem outrageous in the French countryside can appear to be of tame design on the streets of Tokyo.

Carry Needs

Beyond your occupation, you'll also want to consider your carrying needs.

Think about how you'll be using your bag throughout the day and what you expect to put into it.

If you go to the gym in the morning without returning home, you'll need something large enough to hold a change of clothes and perhaps some pre-made meals.

An art student may need to lug tools and materials from his third-floor walkup apartment to the train, and then from building to building on campus.

While for the minimalist relying solely on a smartphone and tablet, a large duffel or tote would be a hindrance to image and ease of movement.


Dedicating fifty percent of your hands to the sole task of carrying a bag isn't always the best option.

So if you frequently walk long distances with your bag or often need to handle other items, consider a bag that allows you to go “hands-free”.

Style preference

After all other factors help determine the functional characteristics of your new everyday bag, you have to ask yourself:  what do YOU like?

Sure, some geographic regions may not favour elegant, modern clothing and accessories.

But if you're a business-minded man with eyes on making it to the top, go with what makes you feel like the man you are or want to be.

If that means polished black leather, then so be it.

Likewise, if you live in the middle of a large city but feel more connected to rugged, workwear-inspired pieces – go for it.

Everyone else be damned.

You can buy the most functional bag in the world, but if you hate the way it looks, you're never going to use it.

So make sure you choose something you're going to be excited to grab before heading out the door.

Deciphering design elements

Even when comparing two bags in the same category (i.e., briefcases), they can give off a completely different vibe based on varying design characteristics.

Depending on the look you want to achieve, here are some elements to consider.

Fine, smooth leather or suede
Solid black or dark brown
Minimalist design
Sleek metal finishes

Durable leather or textile
Any colours or patterns (especially geometric or small, repeating patterns)
Plenty of compartments
Basic, functional hardware

Thick leather, heavy canvas
Earth tones
Practical straps, buckles, tie downs, and heavy stitching
Robust hardware

Smooth leather or high-end textiles
Dark and elegant overall with pops of colour
Interesting details and “extras”
Striking metal hardware

In yesteryear, men woke up, went to the office or factory, then went home for a hot meal.

Not exactly the case these days.

It's not uncommon for a modern man to hit the gym in the morning, shower there, head straight to work, attend class in the evening, go out for a drink with the boys after that, and then stumble home to catch a few z's.

With this constant on-the-go nature of current life, it's important to be able to comfortably carry all the essentials.

And just as every man's life is different, so will be the tasks with which he entrusts his everyday bag.

Laptop Sleeve
If you can carry almost everything in your pockets and prefer to go out to lunch rather than toting Tupperware, don't hold yourself back with an unnecessarily large everyday bag.

For the sophisticated minimalist, all you need is a simple folio to protect your electronics.

If you work in a business environment where suits are common, a briefcase is the way to go. Use your own judgement to select one that matches the level of formality you desire.

Darker colours are more elegant than lighter shades, leather is more business-appropriate than textile, and a slim profile trumps a boxy, frumpy silhouette in terms of sophistication.

It's best to think of them as a less formal, wearable briefcase.

Not quite boardroom ready, but a lot more sophisticated than a backpack. If you go with the right style, that is.

For the guy who spends a lot of time away from home, a good duffle will provide massive returns on your investment.

Don't make the mistake of becoming over-encumbered by carrying multiple bags to get you through the day unless absolutely necessary.

Just pick up the jack-of-all-trades everyday bag and stuff it full of whatever your life requires.

A man’s bag selection is often an extension of his own character. From Kanye to Harry Styles to Shia LaBeouf, bags offer much more than just a place to store your books and drugs.

The Best Bags for Men

“But what bag is best for me?” Great question, guy!

Before we even look at the types of bags, it’s important to grasp the concept that not every bag is compatible with every style. Without going too deep into the notion of personal style, we’re gonna take a look at a few examples of bags that just don’t fit cohesively with the rest of the outfit.

The key to having a bag that’s a continuation of your style as opposed to something that diminishes it is what you’re wearing and where you are. Say, for example, you’re a fan of parkas, boots, and other typically “outdoorsy” apparel; you may want something like a knapsack.

Someone more accustomed to streetwear could go with a “techy” bag and someone who dresses more professionally could opt for a leather bag. If you plan on buying a leather anything, please note that “genuine” leather is actually a grade of leather, and it’s nearly the worst kind (see leather grades here).

Choose full or top grain leather, especially if you want to have the bag for many years. Full grain leather will not only look considerably better with age, but it’s structurally superior to genuine

A good rule to follow, neutrals are going to be a good colour because you're going to get the most versatility out of it. Browns, blacks, navy, grey, tans even, those are going to match with a lot of different outfits. Which is the point of a bag?

If you have a bag you're probably going to use it every day, so you want it to go with a lot. Leather is always a good fabric that lasts long, it looks great. Canvas as well, a heavy canvas, more so for backpacks probably, also going to last you a long time.

Buckle Design Can Save You Both Time and Frustration

While a design of a buckle may be glanced over at first, since this is a bag that you will be using perhaps multiple times a day, you shouldn’t have to fumble over the straps when you just simply need to gain access to your gear.

Therefore it is important to realize the difference in the bags and how they keep shut throughout the day.

All the leather messenger bags have the following buckle designs (ranked from most secure to least secure):

  • Buckle
  • Clasp
  • Magnetic

Simply put, a buckle is the toughest to handle repeatedly.  Much like adjusting your belt the buckle design will be used in the same manner.  Just remember a bag with two buckles means you will have to do it four times every time you open it up (two to open and two to close).

The clasp design is incredibly easy and just requires you to press down on the nub to open the bag.

Lastly magnetic is the easiest by just gently tugging on the flap to open the main compartment.

While everyone's scenario is different, it is always important to call out these key differences in bag design so you don’t become frustrated with the bag after only a day or two of use.

There it is our 5 best leather bags for men at the office. Now go and enjoy your bag.

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