Spoilt for Choice

With backpacks more acceptable in the workplace and messenger bags officially within the domain of cool, should you retire your briefcase and opt for something new?

In the days of yore, the rules of bagcessorizing were rather strict. Backpacks were for hippies, hikers and school going kids, while adults with respectable jobs could use nothing but stiff briefcases. Today, those rules have slackened to the extent that rush hour is usually a sea of backpacks.

Just because backpacks have become acceptable workplace accessories doesn’t mean you should just toss one onto your back. What bag you use - a backpack, messenger bag or briefcase - can say oodles about you.

That’s a lot of pressure, we know; which is why we’ve got you covered.

Let’s start with the message each type of bag conveys. Backpacks, despite their recent gentrification, still remain the most practical type of bags here. To top that off, they’ve become rather chic, formal even: our Alabama and Beaver backpacks will paint you a picture. Messenger bags, on the other hand, portray you as an accessible, on-the-go person: someone who is always moving, is dynamic - our Aztec messenger bag is a case in point. Finally, briefcases: these imply, straight up, that you are all about business. Briefcases still look great in a work setting and announce your professionalism loud and clear; cue our Creek and Quad briefcases.

Next, let’s talk about ideal environments for each. Backpacks are the most versatile carry accessory, best suited for outdoors, work, travel and schools and colleges. Messenger bags are best suited for urban conditions - long journeys with these things slung around your shoulder might turn painful. They are also more suitable for hot conditions because there is very little body contact. Briefcases are also very urban, occasionally usable for business travel and suitable in all weather conditions.

Finally, let’s address packing. Backpacks are easily the most versatile of the lot here: you can stuff them with almost anything - lunch boxes, laptops, additional tech accessories, gym shoes, stolen stationery. Backpacks are also better suited for heavier loads since having two straps allows the load to be evenly spread over both shoulders. Messenger bags are reasonably accommodating, but they look uncool and can be cumbersome to carry around when fully stuffed. Briefcases are best suited for a laptop and some business documents, and are better off with minimal weight.

The bottom line here is this: backpacks, considering how chic they’ve become, come out on top - they are the perfect amalgamation of practicality and aesthetics. Messenger bags serve as a good bridge between the utilitarianism of a backpack and the stiffness of a briefcase. They are cooler, more contemporary but still come bundled with an air of professionalism. When it comes to looking like you mean business, the briefcase is still your best bet. Sleek, straight and stylish, the briefcase still fits into the office setting better than anything else (though its reduced practicality might be cumbersome in today’s workplace).

If you’ve figured out which bag fits your needs best, head to the Outback store; lucky for you, we’ve got all three, in a bunch of styles and colours.


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