Hey, we’re Carryology, the leading online mag for carry gear and inspiration. Basically, we get off on helping the world carry better, and today we’re here to help you versatile gents wade through the ubiquitous brand hype – commonplace in the world of luxe – to find the 10 best luxe work bags for your buck.
But why luxe?
For those of us running up the corporate ladder, running our own business or at least trying to keep our paperwork tidy, a casual messenger or backpack just doesn’t cut it. Whatever business you’re in, your carry items will show your clients, co-workers and superiors whether you’re creative, professional or promotion material.
And to keep yourself together in any work environment, you need a versatile bag that can nail the right criteria: it has to swallow the usual tech (laptop, tablet, phone, headphones, cables etc), paperwork, a notepad, pens, lunch/a snack, sometimes an umbrella, and maybe even an extra tie. Easy access and multiple compartments are vital (you don’t want to fiddle around in your bag while your CEO is discussing your KPI’s), comfort in carrying (up to 7 kilograms on a shoulder strap or in your hand) and protection for tech and paperwork are all key in a work bag.
Next, there are some principles to follow. In general: match your bag with the environment you work in; it’s better to overdress than underdress; blend in, but stand out. The higher up, the less you carry (because there will be people carrying stuff for you). The less you carry, the more mobile you are.
And then: your bag has to match the stuff inside. We’re pretty sure you picked the right items to bring to your work environment. If not, start with that! And if you’ve got all of that covered, here are our 10 Best Luxe Work Bags that tick all the boxes.
Mismo Wessel – €912
Danish Mismo started out with a line of full grain leather classic bags with a modern touch. Recently they’ve added canvas bags to their portfolio and did a great job at that too.
One of their most distinguished products is named after the famous Danish-Norwegian naval officer Peter Jansen Wessel, better known as “Thundershield”. Wessel spent most of his life at sea, so the bag has a distinct naval inspiration and is crafted from a lamella construction, as are sailboats. The bag features several other naval references including the porthole detail at the gusset and the “name plate” fitting on the front face holding the handles. It also has ample inside space that allows you to pack for a small naval battle, features two identical, open inside pockets, and a document/laptop pocket opposite, all closed with a metal knot and a small inside zip pocket nicely meets the interior need for organisation.
Contango Axton – $375 US
Rather new on the block is NYC-based Contango. Their Axton is built for casual professionals who no longer need to carry folders, notebooks, and large quantities of paper. Its silhouette is sleek, clean, and simple. There are no frills or meaningless additions, just a polished, balanced look. The body is made of gorgeous natural pull-up leather, which provides a beautiful distressed look. The handles are stitched English Bridle leather typically used for equestrian harnesses. The bag’s frame is held together by industrial grade nylon thread, solid copper rivets, and a heavy duty No. 8 Excella two-way nickel zipper. And don’t you dig that wool pattern inside…
Zero Halliburton Attache – $476 US
Always a bit of a statement, a Zero Halliburton Attache will protect your belongings like no other. Their aluminium, polycarbonate or even carbon cases have a clean look and offer maximum protection. As a free bonus you get that cool spy feeling.
Tailfeather Kestrel – $650 AUD
Australian Tailfeather brings the business with it’s Kestrel briefcase. It comes in two sizes to fit your 13 or 15 inch laptop, with plenty of room for your papers and notebooks, and pockets for your phone and pens. It stands tall on 8 brass feet, even when fully loaded, and commands attention. The top folds open for full access using Tailfeather’s signature clasp technique. It is hand stitched with reinforced handles – simply clean and classic.
Bedouin Foundry Genghis – 320 Pounds
Slightly casual but still on the good side, we’ve found UK-based Bedouin Foundry to be a great company with a great philosophy on carry items. Here’s Bedouin’s Genghis, a luxury messenger bag made out of waterproof 10 ounce Rhinowax canvas and top grain veg leather with a handprinted cotton drill lining. To secure the contents, Bedouin has outfitted the Genghis with an Austrian Cobra buckle, the worlds strongest and made originally for parachute jumpers. The bag uses seatbelt grade nylon webbing. Front zip pocket and two sleeve pockets. Handmade in England. Worksmanship and materials are guaranteed for life.
Seventy Eight Percent Dimitry – $525 US
Hong Kong-based Seventy Eight Percent sprang onto the scene in 2009, offering a perfect minimalist mix between chique and casual. It’s office bag Dimitri is a stylish companion for your day-to-day adventures. Its iconic exterior provides a protective home for whatever you need to get the job done. A classic through and through – a guaranteed compliment generator.
Defy Luxe Workcase – $450 US
Chicago-based Defy has their roots in bicycle messengers, but recently introduced the Luxe Series and made classic design meet modern functionality. Each bag is hand-cut from a single piece of full grain Horween leather. The time it takes to create a single bag? 2 1/2 hours. Every bag has subtle hand-painted edges along with tone-on-tone military spec thread details. Soft black cotton canvas interior lining with leather trim accents give Luxe a distinctive & well appointed look. Imported solid steel gun metal clip adds attitude to Luxe and with an internal laptop compartment that holds a 13″ MacBook Retina. This piece is ideal for commuting to creative meetings or getting around the city on the weekend. The Luxe life is yours!
Killspencer Special Ops Backpack – $475 US
Killspencer hails from the City of Angels and nails that distinct military flavour.
Their signature Special Ops Backpack is perfect for carrying your daily essentials. One main compartment featuring an interior laptop pocket (fits up to a 15″ Macbook) and smaller flat pockets for pocket-size sketchbooks + pens, 2 interior vertical zippered mesh pockets for cables and smaller items, a secret zip pocket for cash and valuables, and a bullhide leather passport pocket. The bag features 2 Swiss-made Riri zippers in antique silver finish, an exterior vertical zipper pocket that fits an iPad and small valuables. The bag features foam padded leather straps and a bullhide leather handle, and comes with a durable IFAC class 1 fire retardant and waterproof black nylon lining – easy to clean and uber-cool if your office is the type to embrace a backpack.
Hard Graft Flatpack – 229 Pounds
Hard Graft makes us drool time and again with amazing leather carry pieces, and recently, gorgeous wool stuff. The Flat Pack is one of the smaller bags in their assortment You can carry it cross-body and they did something pretty clever – the zipper opening is on the inside of the bag. So the only one who can access this bag is you. Throw in your wallet, phone, passport, notebooks and seek the adventure.
When you finally reach that board room position or your company goes public, you can do one of three things in your carry behaviours: 1) live it up and bring a grocery shopping bag (’cause you’re the boss right!). 2) bring a gorgeous assistant to carry your stuff (we’ve seen it happen and it’s a grand sight) or 3) treat yourself to a classic hand made attache case from a pre WW2 English carry powerhouse. We’re featuring the “Heritage St. James lid over attache case” from Ettinger – $3,056 US. Make sure the colour matches your private jet interior!