In Brief: Casual Commuter Briefcases

Modern commuter bags—spiffed up with premium materials, smart storage, and durable shoulder straps—are this fall’s grown-up, go-everywhere office assistant

Shinola Medium Tote

The untreated leather, from Chicago’s Horween tannery, will darken and develop a unique patina as you wear it.
The untreated leather, from Chicago’s Horween tannery, will darken and develop a unique patina as you wear it.
Photographer: Ted Cavanaugh for Bloomberg Businessweek

After focusing on Detroit-made watches and bikes, Shinola is shifting into luxe leather goods. Designed by Richard Lambertson and John Truex, who had a hot bag line in the aughts and then designed for Tiffany, the line sells efficient items that go from “workday to weekend out of town,” Truex says. This one has a square bottom, to sit upright under your desk, along with a button closure and shoulder strap. It’s very organized inside, with pockets for tablets, phones, and several pens—but be cautious of marking the light exterior. $895; shinola.com

J.Crew Harwick Briefcase

The nylon is water-repellent—great for a morning when you’re worried about a downpour.
The nylon is water-repellent—great for a morning when you’re worried about a downpour.
Photographer: Ted Cavanaugh for Bloomberg Businessweek

With its military hue and narrow silhouette, the Harwick resembles a bike messenger’s style. The neon orange interior has a padded pocket for laptop storage, and there are double front pockets for cords and cables. “Many of J.Crew’s bags are waxed cotton or oilcloth,” says men’s designer Frank Muytjens. “So we went with a nylon fabric to create a cleaner aesthetic with real functionality.” The lightweight textile is also employed in dopp kits, duffels, and more options to be released this fall. $98; jcrew.com

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