messenger bag

The Briefcase is Dead. Long Live the Messenger Bag

There’s a lot of BS on this here internet about This Month’s Must Have Accessory or Every Day Carries You Need. They aren’t Must Have and you don’t Need them. You’ve survived this long without them, and you will continue to do so long after these items and trinkets are out of fashion. But don’t fool yourself into thinking this is a new phenomenon. Calculator watches, fedoras, and sock garters have all been, at one time, Must Haves. Even they were a lie. Pretty much the only must-haves that the man of yesteryear truly needed was a black suit and a sturdy briefcase. And while the suit has more or less remained in fashion, the briefcase has not fared so well. But without it, the modern man is left with a quandary.

Sure, with our Mybooks and Facespaces we carry around a lot less physical paper than our ancient ancestors of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. But glance around any office and it’s clear that we men still pack enough stuff every day to need some kind of bag or carrier. And thus we have the uniquely modern problem of what to carry our work in. Some professions can still rock a briefcase, like lawyers and government officials, but these last bastions only stick out more by sticking with the breifcase. For the rest of us, our daily bag is left to be an outsized statement on our personality. As it stands, you can roll with a backpack, but that Jansport only makes even the highest paid CEO look like a rookie and an intern. There’s the nylon and kevlar messenger bags, but these just serve to make you look like your headed to your shift pulling espresso shots for those making more than your minimum wage. And…there’s not much else.

Adult Messenger BagLuckily there’s a new breed of hybrid briefcase/satchel/messenger bag that will lend any level professional the air of respectability without making you look like a Mad Men superfan. Think fine leather rather than ballistic textile, quality metal fasteners instead of recycled seat belts, and classic lines superseding your collapsing Jansport. A perfect example of these qualities is the Dooney & Bourke Brooklyn bag. This is half messenger, half briefcase, and all style. Here is the kind of bag you are looking for, one that can go from the Fortune 500 boardroom to the startup shared desk without ever looking out of place. It also works for travel as well. Whatever bag you choose, it should be able to tick all these boxes to keep you fresh and prevent you from looking like you’re on a break between classes. That’s right, the Jansport doesn’t quite fit that bill.


Here’s some guidelines for your new carry-all:

  • Leather will have the most upmarket look. Textile can work, but make sure it will age and wear well as you throw it around your life
  • Gotta have a strap. Otherwise it’s a briefcase or a purse
  • Pockets are to bags what knives are to the Swiss army – the more the better
  • Look for a bag with an exterior zipped pocked. This makes grabbing keys or pens much easier than having to open a large flap or unzip the main pocket
  • Top carry handles are not exactly a must, but you’ll miss them if they are not there (trust me on this one)

Now go forth, get yo’self a swanky bag and conquer your adult life free from the fear that you look like a sucka MC. You’ll take yourself more seriously, and others will as well. Can the right messenger get you the job of your dreams? I’m not saying that it can’t… And while your co-workers at that job have their Every Day Carries stuffed into their cargo shorts, you’ll be waltzing around with all your swag in classic and versatile messenger bag.