When it comes to men’s accessories, folios are criminally underrated. A design for the modern age, these compact, midsized leather goods (they’re not ladies’ clutches!) are well suited to protecting your daily essentials. Digital storage has liberated most urban professionals from the oppression of crossbody baggage, and unless your everyday routine necessitates trainers and a packed lunch, the folio is a much better looking way of storing what you’ll actually need. Think laptop, papers, currency, assorted articles you don’t want to be rummaging around for on the way to your career-defining meeting.
Ease of handling aside, the folio also just looks great. Capable of smartening a more casual ensemble or integrating with office-ready tailoring, most modern versions tend to combine a centralised closure with half-zip or envelope design. Those commonalities allow you to focus on the details that speak to your personal taste. After all, something as innocuous as a change in leather can transform a folio’s look entirely. Here are five of our favourites (all available online) to get you started.
For a folio that works well with 9-to-5 tailoring, one can always rely on Dunhill. The “Duke”, made using smoothly treated calfskin (dyed in cognac), is a versatile everyday option. At 15 inches, it houses two slip pockets and six card slots, meaning you’ll never be incapable of carrying both laptop and papers simultaneously — unless you’re trying to cram a water bottle inside. In line with previous seasons, Dunhill’s branding is kept to a minimum, notwithstanding a discretely embossed logo along the front.
Shop from Matchesfashion
Based out of a sleepy village in Andalucia, La Portegna specialise in creating small-batch leather goods fashioned from hides that the company has tanned in-house. The Mendocino portfolio is an adroit reflection of their skill in leatherwork, made of thick vegetable tanned hide that has been treated for a soft handle. Vegetable tanning imbues this portfolio with a vintage aesthetic, and the leather is guaranteed to develop a rich gradated patina over time. The portfolio is finished with a turquoise green zipper track — a fun little detail adding visual interest to whatever you’re wearing.
Shop from No Man Walks Alone
This zip-top pouch (made in pebble grain leather) is the latest in a long line of monochrome accessories influenced by Hedi Slimane’s tenure at Saint Laurent. A folio in all but name, this latest release features six card slots and pouch pockets big enough to store a lightweight laptop. Internals are finished in grosgrain, with the overall visuals (inside and out) feeling suitably rock and roll. This is an indispensable accessory for those whose aesthetic errs on the side of vampiric lead guitarist.
Shop from Mr Porter
Since 1937, the Milanese firm of Valextra has been crafting leather goods that evince luxury through a combination of silhouette and construction. The brand’s zip-around folio (utilising a blued pebble grain leather) eschews conspicuous branding entirely, expressing quality through its dignified and quietly clever design. The initially rectangular dimensions are embellished with a concave edge, helping to ensure the zipper track operates smoothly when the folio is in use. Additionally, a wraparound handle is affixed to the zipper, giving users additional flexibility in how they want to carry this design.
Shop from Farfetch
Thom Browne’s unmistakable grosgrain detail is most effective when deployed sparingly, a fact that’s evident from the eponymous designer’s latest folio. A tricolour tab marks the front, drawing the eye to the simple-but-effective combination of black and grey pebble grain leathers. Interiors continue the theme of tricolour grosgrain but are relatively thin, featuring dimensions ill suited to carrying anything more than an iPad and charger. Although with a look this distinctive, that seems like a fair trade-off.
Shop on Mr Porter