Banana Republic Italian Leather Briefcase – $198.00

Whoever’s been handling BR’s leather goods and shoes as of late deserves a raise. What once was a major flaw in their output has somehow, someway, turned into a surprising strength. First it was their single monks and chelsea boots. Now? It’s this briefcase that’s head-shakingly good. And you know it as soon as you pull it out of the box.

Made in China from Italian Leather, it’s hard not to notice the pliability and look right out of the box. It’s not plasticky and shiny. It’s not flat and dead looking. It’s matte, marbled, and has a very slight natural wrinkling to it. That over-used descriptor for leather, “buttery” would not be inappropriate here.

In Review: Banana Republic's Italian Leather Briefcase |

The design is dead simple. One, singular top zip opens into a good-sized interior compartment. There are pockets on either side of the interior (with the inner layer being a super soft suede no less), but no exterior pockets. That keeps the design looking clean and mean, and less cargo-pants-ish.

Measurements are 18″ wide,  13 3/4″ tall, and 5 1/4″ deep. And that 5 plus inches of depth is a little more than similarly designed cases, yet not fat or bulky. That extra depth means most will have plenty of room for their laptop, other work essentials, and still have some space. The base doesn’t have any extra cushioning, so you’ll want to keep some cases for your electronics in the compartment. Dropping the bag on a subway floor could do some damage to anything fragile on the interior.

In Review: Banana Republic's Italian Leather Briefcase |

The brass hardware looks great up against the medium brown, rich “cafe” shade of leather, and while the darker handles and zipper pull bits don’t feel as high quality as the body, they don’t detract either.

It is a very smartly designed case. BR even made the right-call in keeping any branding off the exterior. There’s just one, small, tonal stamp on one of the interior pockets. That’s it.

Sure seems like it’s worth every penny, even at full price. But this is BR, and it should be on sale. Often. So, don’t tell em’ that. It’s early in 2016, but so far, it has to be the favorite for best affordable accessory of the year.

In Review: Banana Republic's Italian Leather Briefcase |

Boots by Allen Edmonds (discontinued). Jeans and Sportcoat by Bonobos. Gloves by Orvis.


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