Redesigning the Briefcase Bag

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For years I’ve been searching for a briefcase bag that is professional yet stylish at the same time – and I’m constantly frustrated. If I were to redesign a briefcase bag, here’s what it would look like.

Why the current options stink

I find it unfulfilling every time I have to buy a briefcase bag. I feel as if I have to sacrifice either style or functionality and can never achieve them both.

It is at the point where I seriously have considered starting my own bag line. I just can’t not seem to find a bag that looks stylish while at the same time does what I need it to do for me namely:

  • Carries my shoes. This is my #1 struggle in business commuting. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that it may not actually be possible to carry your high heels in the same bag as your business items. They always crush or soil the bag’s contents.
  • Has a “quick grab” place for my phone, keys, and subway card where these items can’t slosh around and get lost.
  • Contains a glasses compartment where my spectacles won’t get scratched or broken.
  • Has a place to put my touch up cosmetics such as lipstick etc. Things leak no matter how well sealed so this would have to be waterproof.
  • Stores my laptop
  • Stores my business papers without them getting crinkled or torn
  • Has a pen holder. Have you ever gone to get a deal signed and can’t find your pen? Ruins the whole close.

Every bag I find is either too heavy or too bulky and makes me feel like I’m getting ready to fly Delta out of LaGuardia. I am about to throw it all in my kid’s Disney Princess backpack and call it a day.

How’s that for de haute couture?

In store results – unfulfilling

I recently took to the stores. But do you know how hard it is to go briefcase bag shopping in Manhattan with kids? The high end places can see the circus coming.

“Ma’am please tell your kids to stop getting their fingerprints on the merchandise.”

To which my response is, “You’re right. Give me three tickets. I’ll pick them up in an hour – where’s your baggage claim?”

So it’s clear I have a limited capacity to shop in store. So I had to go online, but even then, here’s what I found to be the most viable candidates. And even these don’t really do it for me.

Michael Kors Whitney

This is a tote bag but from what I gathered you could probably get away with fitting a laptop into it. The strap length would allow me to carry it without making it too heavy. I like how the zipper is on the top invisible from the outside – too many zippers and I feel like I’m going skiing in the Swiss Alps.

The interior is spacious but there’s no real segmentation to accommodate my list of needs (see above). I envision crumpled papers and things getting crushed as a result.

Retails at $298.00

If you like this style but want a slightly lower price point see the Ralph Lauren Andover Tote.

Longchamp Roseau

If you’re willing to pay over $500 for a bag, this would be a good candidate. It’s made of high quality materials and seems like it can take a beating. Although it is roomy enough to fit all that you’d need, there’s only a zipper pocket and no compartmentalization. Crumpling and soiling likely.

Coach Willis Top Handle

This is a solid multi-unction bag. It would work well for business and personal life and it goes for a little less than $500. The flap gives it a little personality. I also noticed several compartments however if you want to take your laptop along this is probably not for you.

Bebe Janet Satchel

Having made ourselves unpopular in the luxury stores I ventured out to T.J. Maxx where I found this beauty on sale. I’m a sucker for quilted bags. Although this isn’t as roomy as the others I think you could maybe squeeze in your laptop. Not sure if you can get this in the stores anymore but I did find some entries for it on Pinterest.

Redesigning the briefcase bag

If I were to design a briefcase bag, here are two ways I would possibly do it.

Model One

One is a stacked model. The bag is lengthy with two layers, one on top of the other. The layer on the bottom is waterproof and carries shoes and makeup while the top layer is for papers and laptop with a “grab compartment” for the quick access items.

You’d be able to access the bottom layer from the side to avoid having to rummage through your top lawyer to get to the bottom layer. You’d have to wear collapsible shoes (such as slipper shoes) while commuting and carry your heels in a separate bag. Once you got to the meeting you change into the heels and store the commuting shoes in the bottom layer of the bag.

Here’s a rudimentary sketch. This is a side view:

Redesigning the briefcase bag would entail a design like this.

Model Two

This one is a one layer bag wider than it is long with document/laptop storage in the middle and compartments on either side. One compartment is for the grab items while the other is waterproof and stores the shoes and makeup.

Here’s a view from the top looking down into the bag:

As for the styling of the bag’s exterior, there would be a see through panel where you can plug in different patterns depending on the meeting such as:

  • Leopard
  • Polka dot
  • Swirls
  • Your company logo and name
  • Geometric shapes

Sara’s Upshot on briefcase bags

I would love to hear your thoughts on my designs and on business briefcase bags in general. Please kindly comment here or send me a message.

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