Leather Messenger Bags vs. Leather Briefcases

by Christina Wright

If you need a professional-looking bag, then a handsome leather bag is a great choice. But choosing between a leather messenger bag and a leather briefcase may be tricky. This guide can help you understand the different benefits, so you can choose the bag that you'll love to use.

Messenger Bags and Briefcases:

  1. How formal the bag looks: Leather messengers and briefcases are both elegant and professional, making either bag a great option for the office. Leather briefcases often look more like something an executive would carry to work, while leather shoulder bags are great for those who commute to work via mass transportation or bicycle. If you dress more formally for work, you will probably want your bag to feel more formal, too. Whichever leather bag you choose, be sure to take good care of the leather to maintain its classy look.

  2. Which features you need: Leather messenger bags usually have a shoulder strap and a handle, flap-over top, and organizer pockets. Leather briefcases often have similar options; in fact, some briefcases have removable shoulder straps, so you can convert them when necessary. The interior of a leather briefcase is usually more structured than a messenger bag, with the most essential difference being a place to neatly store papers, or "briefs."

  3. What you want to carry in it: Remember that many messenger bags and briefcases are designed to safely transport laptops and other valuable items. Just look for extra padding and special laptop compartments if you need a laptop bag. Messenger bags almost never have locks, but many briefcases do, so if you need to carry confidential papers or valuables, you may want to choose a briefcase.

  4. What your budget is: Because you're looking at leather bags, which can be expensive, price will be a consideration. Leather messengers are generally more affordable since leather briefcases carry an aura of professionalism and often look like executive cases. However, either bag can be pricey depending on the options you choose. Italian leather messenger bags and briefcases represent the high end of leather bags, while simple black leather bags and briefcases are versatile and often more affordable.

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Updated December 5, 2014