DeltaTango

Starting Member
My youngest son, now 25, is asking for a good leather attache/briefcase. In "my time" there was a boxy, hard case made by Hartmann, and it seemed to be coveted by all who did not have one. My boss had one and it had such character to the browning of the leather and the almost worn handle. Of years now I see everyone carrying a soft case and or a backpack.

My wife got me a nice "lawyer/doctor" case with the rounded top.... beautiful leather by Peal & Co. I carry it around today and I look like a dinosaur! I know this is not a "fashion or clothing" question, so much as it is good style? yes?
So, any feedback on my search for a good, leather "case"?
 

TKI67

Super Member
I know the one of which you speak. Hartmann made it of belting leather. It is called the Diplomat, and you can get one on eBay for around $600. I had (still have) a Mark Cross that was and is more on the elegant end of the spectrum. My son in law recently got a Filson that is pretty cool, but it is softer. They may be old school, but they are pretty darned handy for lugging hard copy files, and in a pinch they can hold a folded shirt, socks, a tie, a pair of boxers, a hankie, and a toiletries kit.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
I sold Hartman luggage when I worked for Sterns department store in college in the '80s. Their luggage and that briefcase were made to last.

But to be honest, the only people I see on the street with those today - and it's rare - are men in their 70s. Those under that age don't carry that type of briefcase anymore.

I have a soft -sided bag that I've used for twenty years from the now-out-of-business Mulholland Brothers. I love it and doesn't look dated, but still feels traditional. This is a web pic of it:
mulholland-brothers-stout-brown_1_3121551206e6ca3e25f790f8e0f6fe07.jpg


I still see a lot of men carrying similar bags, but to be sure, the most common thing is the backpack today.

So, it depends on your son, the business he's in and what he sees his peers using.

As noted, in finance in NYC, the traditional soft-sided briefcase is still common, as are backpacks. But in tech, even in NYC, it's almost all backpacks.

I'd talk with him before you got him anything.

If he does want to go the soft-sided traditional route, while Mulholland Brothers is gone, Tusting makes a very similar bag (dark brown looks very close to mine):

https://www.tusting.co.uk/product/the-clipper/

As to backpacks, I have this one from Tanner Goods (old pic), it's very well made and has a nice vintage vibe, but of course, I'll bet he knows what backpack he wants:
FullSizeRender-50_zpsom0odyz8.jpg
 
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drpeter

Super Member
I have several briefcases. The nicest is an old English-made Tusting, soft-sided, with two pockets on one side. It's very much like the one pictured in Fading Fast's post above, but a lighter tan colour. It has acquired a lovely patina with time.

https://www.tusting.co.uk/product-category/business/

I also have a much less expensive Wilson Leather case, more like a doctor's bag in construction. I think Lotuff (in Providence) makes very nice cases, although they are more expensive.

https://lotuffleather.com/collections/briefcases

My beloved beater briefcase, much repaired LOL, is a classic, olive drab Land's End Square Rigger canvas attache case. Land's End canvas briefcases (I have three or four) are some of the best in the business for carrying stuff, and some of the most rugged I have seen.

The olive drab beater, my daily use case and more than 20 years old, has been with me to several continents and countries, under wildly varying conditions, and withstood all of the tests a briefcase could possibly face. Over the years, it developed small tears or holes, which my cobbler repaired for me. Now the attachment loops for the shoulder strap are fraying badly and one of these days, the strap will simply come off. Oh well, I'll just carry it by the handles (which got wrapped in leather by my cobbler a while ago).

I have three other Square Riggers, a navy blue, khaki and a maroon. So I think I am all set.
 
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triklops55

Super Member
My youngest son, now 25, is asking for a good leather attache/briefcase. In "my time" there was a boxy, hard case made by Hartmann, and it seemed to be coveted by all who did not have one. My boss had one and it had such character to the browning of the leather and the almost worn handle. Of years now I see everyone carrying a soft case and or a backpack.

My wife got me a nice "lawyer/doctor" case with the rounded top.... beautiful leather by Peal & Co. I carry it around today and I look like a dinosaur! I know this is not a "fashion or clothing" question, so much as it is good style? yes?
So, any feedback on my search for a good, leather "case"?
Go with a Filson. Rugged, beautiful, modern and made in the USA. The problem with those old school briefcases is that they might not meet the needs of modern gentlemen, because they won't hold a laptop correctly, won't have a cell phone pocket, and can't be quickly opened to access whatever may be inside that one needs right away.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
My specific recommendations would be to gift your son with either a leather TUMI bag or perhaps a Custom Hide "1945 U.S. Army (2 to4 compartment) Briefcase." I've carried the TUMI Bag for several decades and it's holding up surprisingly well. It was my go to bag for the final decade and a half of my full time work life. I purchased the Custom Hide bag at the suggestion of a fellow AAAC member and had it made with four compartments (including a padded laptop sleeve), an optional holster for a large frame handgun that can be snapped in the case or left at home (as you may wish), and optional straps that can be used to carry the case as a rather handsome backpack if you so choose. The bag is made of heavy vegetable tanned leather and is built like a tank. It is so well made that, having used it for five+ years at this point, I have been unable to invest it with any signs of significant wear and tear! Just an old man's ramblings about days and purchases gone bye! LOL. ;)
 

New Old Stock

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I dont think theres anything wrong with a 25 year old carrying a hard or soft leather briefcase - just so long as it blends with his daily work attire. If he wears athleisure then id say a backpack. If he goes for plaid shirts & red wing boots then id say a Filson. If hes in a suit and tie then its the canvas/nylon bags that will look out of place &, in my opinion, a leather brief looks great.
There will definitely be more recommendations for the Filson brief here, but personally I would go with the Filson field bag. The zipper on the brief, though tough as nails, was a pain when trying to get anything in or out of it - especially my laptop, which ended up with its fair share of scratches.
A solution might be to recommend the Filson padded computer brief, but at by that point it begins to look like youre hauling a carry-on suitcase.
 

fishertw

Advanced Member
Mine is, and continues to be a leather Coach branded soft leather bag which I carried for about fifteen years until I retired nearly ten years ago. Simple, fold over flap, high quality, two interior pockets in what seems to be bridle leather. It's worn a bit on the bottom but will continue to serve my needs then will likely become my son's or grandson's at some time. It should last several generations.
 

The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I think a hard-sided briefcase might risk looking slightly ridiculous in the contemporary workplace. It's just not something you see anymore, and this is one of those situations where a young man is better off not risking standing out for the wrong reasons. I would definitely opt for something like a Filson or Tumi as suggested.

I have a tan Filson laptop type / document holder and my only complaint is it stains easily. I would probably sooner go for a darker option.
 

some_dude

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Personally, I use a soft leather briefcase with a shoulder strap. That seems to be the common thing these days. If were going to get a hard attache case, though, I think the only real option is the Halliburton Zero.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Personally, I use a soft leather briefcase with a shoulder strap. That seems to be the common thing these days. If were going to get a hard attache case, though, I think the only real option is the Halliburton Zero.
I've never owned a Halliburton briefcase, but I did own a Halliburton camera case...it looked like a briefcase but was filled with a protective foam pad, sectioned out to hold the individual camera components in place. After a couple of years of use, the foam pad began to disintegrate and trail debris all over everything, each time I opened the case. I was always cleaning my camera equipment to get rid of the incessant black dust. I contacted Halliburton and was told , essentially, that there was nothing they could do. I took my cameras and components out of the case, pulled out the remainder of the foam pad, cleaned the interior of the case and took it to the local Goodwill Store, after which, I suppose someone got themselves what appeared to be a cheap Halliburton Briefcase. Once a company screws me, I don't do business with them. I would not recommend them. ;)
 

TKI67

Super Member
This thread has been a fun bit of archeology. On a lark, I searched a few places. Bean has a canvas briefcase that looks quite a bit like a Filson for half the price. Orvis has some nice things, but they are priced more like Filson. Somewhat surprisingly, REI seemed to have the best selection. For my later years in the workplace I had to go across the street to testify before the Texas legislature pretty often. I used an REI backpack (Sacs Millet) that I bought in 1970 as my briefcase! I thought the bright red nylon and the ties for crampons looked lovely with dark grey and navy blue suits! Plus it comfortably held the voluminous statutes I had to have at the ready, the contents of my in box for the hours waiting to testify, a laptop, a Nalgene bottle of water, and more!
 

fishertw

Advanced Member
This thread has been a fun bit of archeology. On a lark, I searched a few places. Bean has a canvas briefcase that looks quite a bit like a Filson for half the price. Orvis has some nice things, but they are priced more like Filson. Somewhat surprisingly, REI seemed to have the best selection. For my later years in the workplace I had to go across the street to testify before the Texas legislature pretty often. I used an REI backpack (Sacs Millet) that I bought in 1970 as my briefcase! I thought the bright red nylon and the ties for crampons looked lovely with dark grey and navy blue suits! Plus it comfortably held the voluminous statutes I had to have at the ready, the contents of my in box for the hours waiting to testify, a laptop, a Nalgene bottle of water, and more!
Was the water "branch" and the "more" include Bourbon?
 

some_dude

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My dad had a Halliburton camera case with the foam as well. I don't remember the dust problem, though.

I've never owned a Halliburton briefcase, but I did own a Halliburton camera case...it looked like a briefcase but was filled with a protective foam pad, sectioned out to hold the individual camera components in place. After a couple of years of use, the foam pad began to disintegrate and trail debris all over everything, each time I opened the case. I was always cleaning my camera equipment to get rid of the incessant black dust. I contacted Halliburton and was told , essentially, that there was nothing they could do. I took my cameras and components out of the case, pulled out the remainder of the foam pad, cleaned the interior of the case and took it to the local Goodwill Store, after which, I suppose someone got themselves what appeared to be a cheap Halliburton Briefcase. Once a company screws me, I don't do business with them. I would not recommend them. ;)
 

Titus_A

Super Member
By hard-side do you mean an attache case, or any rigid-frame briefcase? Attache cases are rare as hen's teeth, but I see a fair number of people---myself included---with right stand-up leather cases. I have a Korchmar, an ancestor of their current "Churchill" model. This may vary depending on the area of the country: here in the middle America people aren't always as fashion-forward as in some place like New York; we still carry leather bags, and no man wears pointy shoes.

I don't know that they advertise this, but Korchmar will fix and refurbish those for free, at least if you drop it off at a licensed dealer. I picked this one up for something like $20 years ago---it was on fire-sale price because the handle was broken. I took it to the local shop, they shipped it off, and Korchmar fixed the handle (I think for free). The lock strap recently came loose, and I did the same thing: dropped it off, paid shipping, and received the briefcase back in the mail, fixed and polished (well, mostly polished; they didn't polish the strap or one of the opening edges).
 
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