A quality leather briefcase makes an emphatic haute couture statement. Made from an original leather material, it can serve you for decades without losing its sheen. A quality leather briefcase does not break, rip or sag. This in spite of the punishment it is subjected to on a constant basis.

However, despite a leather briefcase’s ability to withstand rough treatment, when properly maintained, it can serve you for years, even decades. What constitutes a quality leather briefcase? Well, here are four things to look out for when shopping for a leather briefcase.

1. Leather Quality

Quality leather does not flake or crack. Make sure you get full grain leather and avoid those dime-a-dozen “genuine leather” briefcases in the market. As Margaret Thatcher once said; if you are a lady and you have to tell people you are; you are not. It’s the same case with leather. If it is genuine leather, you don’t have to say it is. The quality difference between genuine and imitation leather is like day and night. Full grain leather is not cheap, and it doesn’t look or feel cheap either. The truth is you will get the leather briefcase you pay for.

Brands know that full grain leather is a quality hallmark, and they will trumpet this truth in their leather briefcases. If they don’t say anything about the quality of leather, you can be sure they are not dealing with genuine leather – and don’t let those “Genuine Leather” labels fool you. If it were genuine, they won’t have to tell you it is.

2. Craftsmanship

Where and how the leather briefcase was made says a lot about its quality or lack thereof. Ideally, if you can get a leather briefcase produced locally, and not outsourced to multiple companies whose origin is unclear, it is easy to verify its quality. It may be expensive, but at least you are sure of getting the ‘Real McCoy” instead of Chinese mass-produced “Genuine Leather”. In most cases, local leather companies are required to meet stringent accountability, social sustainability, and environmental standards.

They also have to demonstrate transparency in their operations. Perhaps you are wondering: why should you care about craftsmanship? Well, it’s good to know the leather briefcase you are about to buy is ethically made by the factory that was contracted for the job, not some obscure company that pays workers peanuts.

3. Hardware

The hardware on your leather briefcase should reflect quality and class as well. It can be a nightmare if the clasp mechanism snaps or the zipper breaks on your way to an important meeting. To avoid this faux pas, and the embarrassment it may subject you to, invest in quality hardware that is commensurate to the full grain leather briefcase you have just bought. To avoid costly replacements, always go quality hardware for your leather briefcase.

4. Details

With meticulous attention to detail, quality leather featuring exceptional quality will always rise to the top. The details include quality zippers that can open and close the effortlessly. While the briefcase should be slim, the interiors should be spacious enough to allow easy access to all your briefcase contents.

The two rings that clasp the shoulder strap should also be of high-quality polished metal and expertly attached to the two opposites sides of your briefcase. With the briefcase strapped over your shoulder, the two rings help balance it properly to minimize slippage and excessive twisting, keeping everything steady and perfectly balanced. The strap should be made of durable material and feature a padded full-grain leather shoulder sleeve to make sure it does not hurt.

Pay close attention to detail and make sure you are not just buying a full grain leather briefcase but an expertly crafted masterpiece that will serve you for years, or even decades to come.