Posted on: February 13, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We’ve featured a few executive clutches over the years — also sometimes called leather document holders, briefolios, tech folios or tech carry-alls — and I thought I’d round them up! I think these can be a really stylish, almost maximalist look when carried like an oversized clutch.

This is another amorphous category, similar to the dressy tops for work outfits we featured last week, so let’s define what we’re not looking for –

not a simple padfolio

not a simple laptop sleeve

not a simple leather envelope

Instead, the executive clutches should have the width and depth to carry at least a magazine or a laptop as well as other items. Ideally there is a bit of organization inside such as with zippers or pockets. Finally, we’re looking for something that looks sleek and polished — not as if you’re carrying a redweld that happens to be leather.

{related: The Ultimate Guide to Business Casual for Women}

How is an Executive Clutch Different From a Padfolio?

We’ve rounded up favorite office padfolios previously — I’ve always used them as a big zippered folder to take with me to meetings or when working away from my desk but in the office, like in a conference room. I’ve kept mine stocked with tape flags, post-it notes, highlighters, pens, lip gloss, tissues, and other personal items. (They usually have at least one pocket where you can stick a tampon or the like!)

These padfolios are similar, obviously, to the executive clutches we’re rounding up today, but most of those could not fit a laptop.

Furthermore, to me it’s an indoor/outdoor kind of question: I would use a padfolio for moving around inside an office, when it might be weird to bring your purse with you — and accordingly, I’d almost never bring the padfolio home with me. On the flip side, I’d define an executive clutch or document holder as something that is a replacement for your tote or purse, or perhaps a component of your tote like Cuyana’s System Tote and Tech Carryall.

Padfolios are a lot less popular than they have been in previous years, but you can still find them at Amazon, Target, or Walmart. If you want something fancier or monogrammed, check out Leatherology, Levenger, or (for a splurge), SmythsonEtsy also has a number of options that can be personalized.

Is an Executive Clutch Just a Stylized Briefcase?

I’d define a woman’s briefcase as something larger than these clutches, with larger, better interior organization, as well as a handle — you’ll frequently find they open like a clamshell, and even lock.

Here are some classic briefcases for women that have been around for a while — in fact the Dooney & Burke option has been around since at least 2010.

Dooney & Burke, $595

Carl Friedrik, $695

Hermes, $10,700

The Best Executive Clutches and Leather Document Holders for Women

Cuyana’s Tech Carryall

Cuyana’s Tech Carryall is an attractive laptop sleeve with pockets that goes with Cuyana’s System Tote. There are two versions, one for a 13″ laptop and one for a 16″ laptop; each bag has two other pockets for essential tech accessories and notepads, as well as a magnetic snap closure.

The leather is LWG certified, “ensuring the leather is tanned responsibly against measures like traceability, resource consumption, and effluent treatment.”

The case is available in four colors for $198.

Leatherology’s Gusseted Document and Laptop Holder

Hat tip to the readers who first brought this lovely gusseted document holder to my attention — I love how sleek it looks while also being functional.

It fits 13- and 15-inch laptops, has an interior pen slot, as well as interior pockets. The gusset expands to 1.75″D. It’s available in five colors for $150, and can be personalized by debossing for an extra fee.

Levenger’s Briefolio

Levenger always has interesting leather goods – I still use a personalized leather cover for my basic composition notebooks. (Another hat tip to the readers for that find!)

The brand’s briefolios seem to be what we’re looking for — they describe it as “part briefbag, part portfolio,” and note that it can handle a stack of files plus a notebook, iPad or tablet. The interior compartment has two pen loops, and it zips open on two sides.

At 14 7/8W x 7/8 D x 11H, you might fit a small laptop in there as well, but it isn’t sold for that purpose.

It’s $119.50 at Levenger, and can be personalized for an extra fee.

Métier’s Double Folio

If you’re looking to splurge, Métier has a number of beautiful tech and document folios — we’ve pictured the Double Folio, but the brand has several options.

They describe this one as:

“[a] meticulous organisation piece hand-crafted from butter-soft Italian leather. Featuring three separate compartments and perfectly dimensioned to keep your documents neatly catalogued, the Double Folio will make a handsome assistant for on the go and at your home office. Exquisite hand-stitching articulates silkened hand-painted edges, adding Métier’s signature artisanal touches. Fits a 13″ laptop.”

Lovely! This one is definitely the most expensive of this roundup: it’s $1,350.


Etsy is another great spot to look for these — there, you can primarily find them listed as “leather document holders,” but “executive clutch” brings up a number of options as well… because you can personalize so many of the laptop sleeves, also, you might want to consider those as well to customize them with flaps, interior pockets, and more.

We’ve pictured a beautiful monogrammed option from Etsy seller LeatherLe (around $35), but there are a number of sellers with laptop sleeves/leather document holders/envelope clutches like this, including Major Leather, LeatheryCo, and LusciousLeatherNYC.

L’Atelier Global’s Executive Leather Clutches

Another great option (not pictured because their images all say “content is protected”) is this lovely executive leather clutch from L’Atelier Global for $179; they have a smooth leather version as well as a floral brocade option; they both have a metal twist clasp.

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