The Bosca Partners Brief is an iconic bag, no question about it. In design, the gatemouth style lawyer’s briefcase is instantly recognizable and carries with impressions that range from high-power envy to stodgy old-fashionedness. For generations of attorneys, becoming partner was a milestone often accompanied by the acquisition of a proper lawyer’s briefcase, traditionally monogrammed with the owner’s initials.
The bag itself indicated the profession – and social standing – of it’s carrier; much like doctor’s bag. Now, however, with the ubiquity of messenger bags, soft-sided briefcases, casual leather folios, and even the humble tote bag, what one carries to the office is less a status signifier than ever before. Yet something is happening in the men’s bag space that is to us reminiscent of the eventual pushback from the “casual Friday every day” movement. Egalitarianism is great, until you have no way in which to project your position, status, role, or, to a more personal extent, interests and personality. Some guys like nice bags.
We have always appreciated the craftsmanship and work that go into handmade leather goods, the inimitable Frank Clegg being a prime example. No less than former President Barack Obama carried a classic Clegg double-gusset zip top briefcase while in office. While a soft-sided bag have many advantages, there is still something special about a framed business case that feels more purposeful and, dare we say, grown up.
Although completely anecdotal, we have spotted more hard-sided briefcases out on the commute recently – not everywhere, but it’s notable. And, while most younger men might shudder at the thought of carrying a box briefcase, the top-opening attorney’s brief can be a workable middle ground. Structured but rounded, traditional yet not too-stuffy; once used, all the attributes quickly become apparent. It also has genuine style. This is a bag that can capture the heirloom feel without being too grandfatherly.
For the past two months, we have been field testing the Large Bosca Partner’s Brief. Simply stated, it’s an exceptional bag. Construction is impeccable and adheres to Bosca’s well-known focus on detail and quality. This venerable family-owned label was founded in 1911, and may not be the most well-known brand in leather bags, but to some extent we see that as your advantage. While not inexpensive, were this bag carrying a designer or high street label, it would likely command half as much more.
The Partner’s Brief is an excellent balance of classic style and contemporary detail. It retains all the traditional design elements, while injecting just enough updating to make it feel fresh. The rich but brite cognac finish of our bag is nicely offset by the metal fittings’ chrome-plated finish. In particular, the Bosca branded key-lock latch presents a clean and contemporary design element that sets a decidedly modern feel.
While a large bag, it does not feel unwieldy and in fact is comfortable and balanced when carried. A true hand-carry briefcase, there is no shoulder strap; so how it feels in you hand matters. Even when filled with files, a laptop, charger, and varies everyday supplies, it was always comfortable.
The organization panel is well laid-out and easy to access, and the three-gusset design makes separating and balancing contents easy. This is a true “portable office” in the best sense of term.
And, as with any hand-crafted leather briefcase, what makes it special is the personality and character gained over time. Wear and tear, scuffs, bumps, and even rain, all add to what makes an heirloom special. And this bag is very much an heirloom in the making.