Sometimes a little bit of choice can be a dangerous thing. A couple of years ago, drunk on the fumes of #bespoke chemtrails that shower certain parts of the Internet, I decided to “commission” a custom briefcase. I don’t regret it. I still look at that briefcase admiringly, and sometimes even leave my house with it. But it’s not the briefcase I use most often now.
The briefcase I had been using was uninspiring. It satisfied my two basic criteria for a briefcase, which is that it be soft (the hard cases are too formal and cumbersome for my active and inconsequential lifestyle) and that it have a zipper closure rather than a fold-and-buckle situation (idem). But this was the extent of its attraction.
Of course, I thought that if I were to abandon my uninspiring briefcase for an inspiring one, the inspiration should ultimately originate with me. Therefore a bespoke briefcase.
Briefcases are particularly ill-suited for custom design. “Fit” is not an issue, as it would be with a bespoke suit or pair of shoes. Unless you have custom-made, irregularly sized electronics, there’s no particular reason to get a bespoke briefcases. If you want something different than the standard designs, it is likely because your preferences are wrong.
And so it was with my custom briefcase. I chose a green leather, which was beautiful, but did not look good with everything I wore. And when it looked bad, it looked terrible. The moment you realize that you’ve maneuvered yourself into having to wear a green sweater on the last day of a trip, and the only briefcase you have is your green one - that is the moment you very much regret having a green briefcase. I liked the shape created by a slightly taller bag; but the extra space at the top of the bag was useless. It only made me reach a little farther down into the bag to retrieve my laptop.
In sum, even holding the briefcase of my green-eyed dreams, when I first laid eyes on the La Portegna briefcase pictured above, what I saw was relief. It has two compartments instead of one, which makes organization (a constant battle for me) much easier. The canvas interior is less fussy than the kidskin interior of my dream bag. It has all the pockets I need, even the ones I didn’t know I needed. And, of course, it has a soft case and a zip-top closure.
Best of all, buying it only took one choice. The designer had made all the other ones for me. Sometimes one choice is as many choices as you should make.