The Return of the Gentleman’s Case

September 12th, 2014

Classic menswear has been booming. It’s great to see guys – especially young guys – appreciating things like hand-tailored suits and benchmade shoes. I’m talking investment pieces that have the potential to last a lifetime.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that briefcases have remained very casual and flimsy across the board. I rarely see a beautifully handmade hard case.  Somewhere along the way the canvas bag (such as the infamous Filson brief) became the go-to business carry, whether a guy was power suited or strictly casual.  I fell victim to it too – as seen with this casual bag with bespoke suit combo.

So I thought it was about time I invested in a real man’s case. One that could keep up with (and add to) my collection of bespoke suits and handmade shoes.

My first hard case investment is the “Strada” expandable leather case by Maxwell Scott, and so far it’s blown me away.


    This beauty is handmade in Italy from pure top-grain by some of the best leather craftsman in the world. Their intention was to create a bag that could effective organize and protect a man’s daily carry, last him a lifetime, and develop a beautiful rustic patina over time. It’s also lined in natural-colored suede with hand-finished interior trimmings.


    It’s one of those gets better with age pieces that you can look forward to using for decades and eventually passing on, which makes it a natural fit for a pinstripe power suit, a strong spread collar, and a full-width cashmere tie.


    The real genius is in the storage. This thing has specific slots for your laptop, documents, books, pens, smart phone, etc. More on how to keep it stocked soon…


    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • ted

      love the shoes

    • WideEyesTightWallets

      I wanna see more on the inside! Hoping that’s part of the ‘more on how to keep it stocked soon…’ part :-) Looks sharp, Dan.

    • AdamE

      Love the hard case look, but I can’t see myself using one enough at this point to justify it. Did invest in a good quality leather briefcase at the start of the year this year.

    • John B

      I feel that even disregarding the reduced functionality, a hard case looks too formal for most environments. I like the look though! How wide are the lapels/tie here? I’m guessing somewhere around 3-3.25 inches.

    • Juan Zara

      I love old-fashioned (or even better, genuine vintage) hard cases, but I’ve always thought of them as suitcases, more than as something to carry with me everyday. In fact I have an old tweed Hartmann I’m currently restoring and trying to install wheels on.
      As for briefcases, I think a gladstone (aka “doctor’s bag”, even though by the sixties it became a staple for every man) is a great option. It still has a relatively hard shell (and is usually divided in three compartments inside), but somehow it still comes off a bit more casual and approachable.—.jpg

      • TO

        Cruising w. Dan and Alex in the streets of Toronto for street style, we just missed the opportunity to capture a sharp gent with an amazing ‘doctor’ bag… It’s a cool and classy accessory for sure

    • Tom

      Do you own any 3/2 roll suits?

    • Miguel

      Dan the boss, It looks like you mean all business in some of your latest post.

    • Joseph

      Is there any way you meant full-grain instead of top-grain? Unless there is some reason why top grain is better for the instance of creating a briefcase, it is typically sub-par compared to full-grain leather.

      • WhenToWear

        I wouldn’t say top grain is sub par, in many cases it works better then full grain would. Top grain has had any imperfections buffed out, but it’s also been split, making it more pliable, which is something you would want in a bag like this. The difference in quality between top grain and full grain leather is almost non existent. Unlike the difference between top grain and say 3rd split.

        Edit* In a bag like this you wouldn’t want any scuffs, or scars either. It would ruin the clean cut, buffed appearance for some people.

        • Lothar

          Except top-grain leathers don’t develop the same kind of beautiful patinas that full-grain leathers do, so whether it’s a typo on Dan’s part or Maxwell Scott’s, there’s some kind of mistake going on here.

          • Julia Maxwell Scott

            The case is full grain – apologies!

    • TO

      Will be directing my dad to this post. Any other brands that you have noticed bringing this classic business essential back in a modern way?

    • tommyjohn_45

      ehhhh.. while I certainly respect the classic look, I think the functionality/flexibility of the modern bag is what keeps the briefcase from coming back. It’s nice to see the custom slots your bag offers, but it becomes limited on flights, etc. as stowage capacity continues to decrease. Having something you can manipulate to fit any nook and cranny has become pivotal in my travel experiences.

      • Esosa

        Totally agree.. it is a beautiful briefcase.. but the modern canvass bag/ portfolio is more flexible..great suit though Dan!

        • TO

          @tommyjohn_45: But should you be fitting your most important things into any nook or cranny with only a thin layer of canvas protecting it? Just a thought. And this example would still be smaller than most carry-ons. I don’t have your frequent flyer points though!

          • WhenToWear

            I think a classic, hard case is something nice to have, but for many, it’s something that will rarely get used. A soft canvas or even leather bag will offer more alternatives in a world where a lot of men don’t live in suits all day every day for work.

    • wistfulwriter

      I’ve always stayed away from hard cases because I always felt they looked odd on young men with less traditionally styled suits, and especially so in less formal environments, but you’ve certainly challenged that idea!

    • Eric