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Old 04-13-2015, 10:18 AM
 
1,496 posts, read 1,460,253 times
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My take is that briefcases are often impractical for anyone that takes transit, bikes, or walks to work, and their storage for things like a lunch, workout clothes, etc is not optimal. However, I think backpacks are generally a pretty bad fit with any kind of business attire- they just tend to look very much like one is heading off to elementary school.

I think the best option for a lot of people who need to haul around a certain amount of stuff but want to maintain a more professional appearance is a messenger bag (or variant thereof) with more of a solid, dark exterior. (Timbuk2 for instance makes some bags will all the functionality of a many-pocketed backpack (and some, better still, with dedicated laptop and tablet compartments) in solid black and a very conservative two-tone gray.

Veering slightly off topic, another advantage of messenger bags is that in crowded public transit situations they are very easy to slide forward under one's arm or against one's chest. If you do insist on being Backpack Man, and you have to stand on a bus or train, for the love of all that is good in the world, don't get on transit with it slung over both shoulders and then stand there jostling people behind you with your giant backpack. Take the thing off and hold it in front of you by the handle. I cannot believe there are actually adults that need to be told this! (Sorry, pet peeve. It's just so rude...)
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,233 posts, read 57,419,185 times
Reputation: 52099
I use a leather backpack because I don't like carrying things, and I don't like heavy messenger bags flapping against my hip. The backpack distributes the weight evenly across my back.

In it, I can fit my dress shoes for the office, my lunch, my notebook/portfolio, a change of clothes if necessary, a small purse that I can use solo when going to lunch, etc., and anything else I'll need that day.

If the backpack clashes with my blazer and skirt, so be it. I'm also wearing running shoes and white athletic socks while commuting. Oh, the horror ...

It's not like people are wearing their backpacks around the office or in meetings.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:51 AM
 
Location: NoVa
2,040 posts, read 2,785,037 times
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Those who suggested briefcase or rolling case probably don't do a lot of traveling while lugging around heavy stuff for work. If you live and work in DC, then you're probably working for the government or for one of those government contracting firms. This means you will need to lug at least 1 laptop everywhere you go, the heavy kind since no company will issue you a MacBook Air. And if you're assigned to government site, then you very likely have to lug a second (government issued) laptop as well, which is just as heavy, if not heavier. On top of that you have presentation papers, lunch box, your water bottle, chargers, and other work paraphernalia to lug around. Backpack is easier and much more versatile for when you have to climb up and down the stairs or on and off the metro.

I am one of those women with a power suit and a backpack. My backpack is military grade designed to carry heavy weaponry since that's about the only thing that would hold all my heavy load. It's not pretty, but it's functional, and most important of all, it's easier on my poor back.

If you spend time in NYC, you'll see a lot of women and men wearing their suits with sneakers on the subways. Same idea. Comfort over beauty. Or the way I call it, common sense.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 6,848,107 times
Reputation: 37347
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbyman View Post
Since Ive been in D.C. I have only seen one man with a suitcase going to work, every other man seems to have a outdoor or college-type backpack essentially filled to the brim with whatever is in there. It looks weird and informal to me, I guess suitcases died a long time ago? Is this in other areas too?
I work in the IT department of a well-known Fortune 500 company.

Backpacks are common here. Attire is generally business casual, typically becoming less casual (but still not usually business formal) in the higher ranks. Even my director and VP - the former in his late 50s and the latter in his early 40s and both among the better such individuals with whom I have worked - each carry a backpack most days.

I wouldn't start out at a job with one. But once you're in such a position where it is the norm, I wouldn't worry about it. I personally prefer a leather tote, but that's just a personal preference and not in response to what anyone else might think about a backpack.

If you do what you do well, no one is going to care that you carry a backpack. And if you're not performing well, no one is going to be impressed by your briefcase.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:42 AM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,435 posts, read 1,188,012 times
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It would be like the guys I see who wear a suit and a tie (or even just a shirt and tie) with a ski coat or parka. It's just wrong and it makes you look like you never wear a tie and when you do, you throw on the same winter coat over it that you'd wear if it was a t shirt. You're not in college anymore, get over to Burlington Coat Factory and start shopping.
Backpacks are great, but only use a backpack for work if you're dressed WAY down due to your job. Or if you're a non-working student.
If you're a woman, and if (and only if) it is acting as your purse, then a backpack can work for sheer function if it is purse sized, and doesn't look like you're about to hike the Appalachian Trail on your way to your corporate high-rise job downtown.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:32 PM
 
391 posts, read 890,103 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbyman View Post
Since Ive been in D.C. I have only seen one man with a suitcase going to work, every other man seems to have a outdoor or college-type backpack essentially filled to the brim with whatever is in there. It looks weird and informal to me, I guess suitcases died a long time ago? Is this in other areas too?
It's normal everywhere I've been. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone carry one of those old, boxy briefcases. For anyone living in a city, they're pretty asinine. I agree that it's informal, but our society as a whole has become more informal in all aspects, including business. It has been trending this way for a long time now. Crotchety old businessmen aren't going to change that.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:41 PM
 
805 posts, read 733,161 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheImportersWife View Post
Some people go straight from the airport to their meeting.
I change in the airport bathroom when I get to my destination. call me strange but I prefer to be comfortable on flights.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
7,049 posts, read 5,233,801 times
Reputation: 9534
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpl1228 View Post
It would be like the guys I see who wear a suit and a tie (or even just a shirt and tie) with a ski coat or parka. It's just wrong and it makes you look like you never wear a tie and when you do, you throw on the same winter coat over it that you'd wear if it was a t shirt. You're not in college anymore, get over to Burlington Coat Factory and start shopping.
Backpacks are great, but only use a backpack for work if you're dressed WAY down due to your job. Or if you're a non-working student.
If you're a woman, and if (and only if) it is acting as your purse, then a backpack can work for sheer function if it is purse sized, and doesn't look like you're about to hike the Appalachian Trail on your way to your corporate high-rise job downtown.
I disagree. Most of us wouldn't take it to a client meeting, but we would take it into the office. The simple fact is, that we carry more to and from the office with us. A simple elegant briefcase was nice when you were only carry papers (legal briefs, get it?) and aren't carrying a heavy laptop, battery back, water bottle, and maybe even workout clothes.

I don't have to take public transport often, but my brother takes the train into a major metro every morning. He goes to the gym downtown, and carries a laptop with him. How is he supposed to make do with a briefcase?
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:45 PM
 
2,731 posts, read 3,704,118 times
Reputation: 2911
Quote:
Originally Posted by BATCAT View Post
My take is that briefcases are often impractical for anyone that takes transit, bikes, or walks to work, and their storage for things like a lunch, workout clothes, etc is not optimal. However, I think backpacks are generally a pretty bad fit with any kind of business attire- they just tend to look very much like one is heading off to elementary school.

I think the best option for a lot of people who need to haul around a certain amount of stuff but want to maintain a more professional appearance is a messenger bag (or variant thereof) with more of a solid, dark exterior. (Timbuk2 for instance makes some bags will all the functionality of a many-pocketed backpack (and some, better still, with dedicated laptop and tablet compartments) in solid black and a very conservative two-tone gray.

Veering slightly off topic, another advantage of messenger bags is that in crowded public transit situations they are very easy to slide forward under one's arm or against one's chest. If you do insist on being Backpack Man, and you have to stand on a bus or train, for the love of all that is good in the world, don't get on transit with it slung over both shoulders and then stand there jostling people behind you with your giant backpack. Take the thing off and hold it in front of you by the handle. I cannot believe there are actually adults that need to be told this! (Sorry, pet peeve. It's just so rude...)
Thank you!! I have been hit and knocked over by these backpacks that look like you are on the hiking in Colorado. Sheesh...... It is worse than being attacked by some large purses that women carry today as well.


Don't you worry about someone getting into your backpack and stealing from you ? Would you notice it in a crowded situation ? Just wondered........
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:59 PM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,435 posts, read 1,188,012 times
Reputation: 2269
A good durable (yet fashionable) messenger bag is the ticket. Tougher and bigger than a briefcase but not a backpack.
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