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November 6, 2008

Brief Talk

The briefcase has always been a style signature of mine.  I can’t think of any bag as iconically masculine as the briefcase.  I started carrying one years ago in college, because when it’s sweltering hot outside and the classrooms are devoid of air conditioning, its nice to have your bag away from your body, and the briefcase was a more compact alternative to the duffel.  It also keeps your things more neatly organized than they would be in, say, a slouchy messenger bag or a backpack.  

There’s also something rather dandy about the briefcase, in my opinion.  With the current status quo for men’s bags being the messenger bag, the briefcase stands out as the more dressed-up, and sometimes quirky alternative.  Carrying a briefcase is like being the guy who wears a bow tie to have lunch or a blazer to go to the movies; you don’t have to, but it’s the fact that you wore something unexpected that makes it charming.
The vintage hard-sided briefcase has been on my wish list for quite some time now, but I haven’t found the perfect one (and the perfectly-priced one) yet.  My photographer and stylist friend BJ wears his vintage Bally briefcase hobo-style.  I want that shirt/bib thing!

photo from Style Samurai
I wouldn’t mind a vintage portfolio either, which is a briefcase minus the handle.  It’s the closest to a man-clutch as you’re ever going to get.

vintage portfolio (from Style Arena)

man-clutch.  Not bad at all, in my opinion!
Androgyny in womenswear is bigger than ever before, and a briefcase might be a fresh way for some women to evoke that sensibility.  Filipino top model Jo Ann Bitagcol carries her Paul Smith briefcase amazingly.  I hear men’s briefcases are one of her style signatures as well!

photo from Manila Style
This tartan-plaid Comme des Garcons briefcase caught my eye in the Comme boutique in Omotesando last week.  Kind of reminded me of school-issue briefcases for elementary schoolboys.  I love how they didn’t scrimp on the pockets (ahemmm! LV), with zipped pockets, open pockets, three on the outside and two on the inside.  It was plaid, it was Comme, and it was a briefcase; I had to have it.
Today was the first time I wore it out.

worn with Zara hat, vintage bowtie, APC shirt, tailor-made pants, NDC shoes

with Zara cardigan


  • DaisyChain
    November 6th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I love briefcases. Yours is fantastic.

  • Alex , fast-fashion
    November 6th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    amazing!!! i love your outfite!!



  • .alexandre
    November 8th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    th last pictre its incredibe
    the bag it’s very chic and those shoes to die for

  • kirstie
    November 9th, 2008 at 6:04 am

    i LOVE briefcases and portfolios… girly bags just don’t do it for me. and messenger bags are beginning to lose their appeal in my eyes…

  • Giancinephile
    November 9th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Nice bag.

    Aside from briefcases, doctor’s bags are also nice. haha

  • Wax
    November 14th, 2008 at 4:34 am

    izzy, i love your bag!!! haha :)

  • izzydore
    November 14th, 2008 at 4:39 am

    wax: thanks! you’re alive!

  • Kara
    November 29th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Love you style! And I agree, briefcases are not just a way to keep your life organized (they are) but you can make a statement with it.

    I'm going to feature you on my blog in a post on Wednesday, 12/1/2010!

    Kara Fox
    Style Writer

  • William from Maxwell Scott Bags
    April 7th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I think since you wrote this article, the two handled briefcase has become very popular amongst style hungry professionals who need to carry paperwork/laptops. The classic shaped flap over briefcase will always stand the test of time for someone seeking a comfortably styled workhorse. However, i do like your briefcase – Ciao!

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