Bags vs Document Cases

This is an extended version of an Instagram entry on my new @ompicks account where I recommend few items — shoes, leather goods, digital accessories and fashion items that I find are well made and will last a long long time. The account was a response to request from my pals who always are hitting me up for recommendations. Instead of blogging about individual items, I will club them together here, but will publish individual item reviews directly on Facebook and Instagram. . What am I trying to write about? Things I really really like and I I have tired and put through the paces. You know I don’t like very many things, so I am going to keep everything simple — I have to love everything I recommend. Follow me @ompicks


It’s a unique dilemma: As our devices and gadgets have become slimmer and lighter, the sheer number of these devices has gone

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. As part of my larger cleansing of possessions, I decided to narrow down my devices, and I settled on an iPhone 6+ and a 12-inch MacBook. I use my iPhone as a digital recorder for voice, video and text as well as to read books and articles on Pocket and This. I do messaging but no social networking. It allows me to squeeze out about 10 hours of constant usage from the phone without charging it. For times when it’s been longer than 10 hours, I carry a battery pack that @photomatt gave me. And I carry one pen, one pencil, one notebook and a tiny notepad for quick scribbles. The total weight of everything is about 3.5 pounds.

Instead of putting these in a bag, I went ahead and ordered a portfolio from @lotuffleather. I don’t care much for luxury brands and instead went with a leather brand I knew well from past experience. It uses vegetable-tanned leather and is cognac colored and features a sturdy brushed gold-tone push-lock. It unfolds to a pocketed interior for stowing cards, documents and stationery.

605647_mrp_fr_lIt is essentially a slim briefcase without the handles, so I have to carry it as if it’s a big coffee table book. The constraint of space and size means that I can’t stuff it with extra nonsense and things that get into the bag because, well, there is room in the bag. My grandfather used to have a portfolio like this, except his was quite old and beat-up. It had a lock and a unique kind of closing mechanism. I remember that about him. He would carry that and a small tote bag for daily shopping.

I am not much for shopping for household items, so I carry just the portfolio.  The best parts about these portfolios are that they fit up to 13-inch laptops and are smart and work with any and every outfit. I wear denim pants and a plain shirt with a sweater most of the time, so it works well whether I am wearing dress shoes, casual shoes or sneakers. And when traveling out of town, slide this into your backpack and you are good to go. There are many options — as long as you have somewhere between $350 and $2,000 to spend.

The only downside of my portfolio is that I have to sling my camera — but that means a chance to capture more moments. My portfolio cost me about $650, and it will last a lifetime. I have had it for about six months and it looks brand-new, except for some wrinkles that come from usage. I would like to gift it to my nephew when he enters the workforce in about 12 to 14 years. It would be nicely beat-up and will show creases of time with it.

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