What color briefcase should I buy?

I’ve been there before:

Choosing what kind of briefcase you want to buy can be quite the agonizing decision.

In this guide, I’ve gone through the different colors of briefcases and messenger bags you can carry and what kind of situation they work for.

I’ve also picked a top choice for each, to help you get started.

Why is it so hard to choose what color briefcase you should buy?

There are so many different kinds to choose from and they don’t come in a “one size fits all.” What may be a good briefcase for carrying to the coffee shop may not be a good match for the office.

Adding to the indecision is the cost of a briefcase.

When spending potentially hundreds of dollars on an accessory, you want to make sure you get it right the first time. That’s okay though – I’m here to help you make the right decision!

There are several factors that affect what kind of briefcase you might buy, such as size, price, and materials. I’ll go through them when discussing each type of environment below:

Best color briefcase for Professional Environments

“Time is money,” as they say, so let’s cut to the chase:

If you find yourself in a professional environment more often than not, a darker briefcase is the way to go!

Black and dark brown are the most popular color options for working professionals because they project an authoritative air about them. When you see someone walk into the room with a black or dark brown suitcase, you know that they are there to do business.

Black Briefcases for business

Black briefcases are the most popular briefcases and also the most formal.

Matching with your outfits: Many professionals opt for a black briefcase if they are required to regularly wear a suit for work. If you own a black briefcase, there a couple different ways you can make your outfit match.

When it comes to black briefcases, it is generally considered safe to match black on black. An all-black outfit, while not the most stylish, will definitely match with a black briefcase.

But what if you want to get a little daring? Well, you can definitely mix it up a little!

If you decide to get a little “saucy” but still want to maintain some form of order, matching your shoes and belt with your black briefcase will still offer an air of professionalism without being stuffy.

You can pair your black accessories with shirts or pants that contain more neutral bases and still be confident that you look good!

Dark Brown Briefcases for business

Another great option perfect for professionals is the dark brown briefcase.

Commonly referred to as “chocolate,” dark brown briefcases are versatile and will fit right in with most professional work environments. Generally known as a corporate color, dark brown briefcases can also be worn to meetings and events without seeming too “stuffy.”

That’s something black briefcases are often guilty of, so easing up a bit with a dark brown case could work well.

Matching with your outfits: Dark brown briefcases can be matched with a number of different colors. Dark brown matches well with black, offering the wearer a mature look without seeming too dark.

At the same time, dark brown also matches with blue-tone canvases, such as navy, offering up a whole new world of stylish outfits.

If you’re not comfortable expanding your color palette, matching your shoes and belt with the dark brown of your briefcase is a safe way to keep your outfit looking neat and uniform. However, if you work at a place where more unique outfits are encouraged, dark brown briefcases can pair well with certain bright colors.

Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Best color briefcase for Casual Environments

When it comes to casual work environments where the atmosphere is more relaxed, tan is the way to go. Tan is an extremely versatile color that will match with just about anything you can think of.

Tan Briefcases for casual use

For a smart, semi-formal look, matching your tan briefcase with your belt and shoes will help you stay organized while navy colored clothes will still maintain a professional air.

However, the tan briefcase is really best suited for casual outfits.

The real beauty of the tan briefcase is that it can be paired with casual clothes, such as jeans or chinos, while still looking sharp and put together. If you like to get flamboyant, tan briefcases will also match with colors that may not match well with other colored briefcases, such as red or green.

Remember: Whether you choose a black, dark brown, or tan briefcase, make sure that you get one that is real leather! Leather will last longer than most non-leather options and is the traditional go-to material for briefcases.

Unique Briefcases for casual situations

While black, dark brown, and tan might rule the roost as far as traditional briefcases go, they definitely aren’t the only options around.

Briefcases are becoming increasingly available in different colors such as:


Navy briefcases still offer a semi-professional look while still remaining casual.

Navy tends to pair well with lighter tones, such as tan or even white.


Green briefcases are a neat option for those looking for a more rugged, urban look. Green briefcases pair well with darker colors, such as black or dark brown.


The possibilities are endless with multi-colored briefcases! Briefcases with lighter tones tend to pair better with bright, vibrant colors while darker tones tend to pair well with more muted palettes.

So, what color briefcase should you buy?

It all depends on your needs and your wardrobe.

Do you find yourself often wearing bright colored patterns and are encouraged to express your individuality?

A unique colored briefcase will help you stand out from the crowd. If that’s too much for you, or you want a briefcase that you can wear with more traditional colors as well, a tan bag is your best bet.

If you’re a working CEO who’s at the office more often than not, a darker briefcase will suit your needs well.

For the most formal of jobs where you’re required to wear black suits everyday, a black briefcase will be the easiest option for you. However, if you’re allowed a little leeway but still want to project an air of authority, a dark brown briefcase will suit your needs best.

For the relaxed working professional who dresses well but more often than not shows up to work in jeans, a tan briefcase will be a good choice.

The tan briefcase looks smart and put together while also projecting a laid-back aura that will fit right in with younger companies or in creative industries.

What color briefcase do you own? What’s your favorite accessory to pair it with?

Drop a comment below and let us know!

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