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Briefcases, Bags, and the Image of Professionalism

In: Business and Management

Submitted By krizille
Words 1027
Pages 5
An image can say a lot about a person. It influences how we feel about ourselves as well as how others see us. There are different factors that go into creating a professional image and a significant one is the way we dress. By dressing appropriately, we can create a professional image that others admire. One essential item that every man and woman should have is a carrying case, such as a briefcase or handbag. By having a bag to hold important documents and supplies, the person is perceived as more organized and professional than someone who does not have one (Doche, 2013). Different bags have become more popular and trends have changed for both men and women. Men are no longer using classic box briefcases (Smith, 1997). Instead they are moving towards a sleeker briefcase with compartments for mobile devices (Doche, 2013). Women, on the other hand, are starting to use more gender-neutral handbags ("Working Guide,” 2013). For both genders, the use of an appropriate carrying case is essential to maintaining a professional image. Therefore we must discover what type of carrying case is appropriate.
To begin our analysis, we will first analyze the type of carrying case that is appropriate for men. Traditionally, most men carried a fairly large, hard, hinged box briefcase (Smith, 1997). This served the purpose of safely transporting papers and office supplies (Smith, 1997). However, times have changed. As early as the 1990s, the introduction of electronic portable devices has greatly altered the style of briefcases (“Buying a Briefcase,” 2013). Briefcases now include special protection for expensive devices, storage spaces for these devices (“Buying a Briefcase,” 2013), and ultimately a slimmer structure (Doche, 2013). Largely gone are the days of carrying large amounts of paperwork (Smith, 1997). Electronic devices have eliminated much of that need (Smith, 1997). These devices have also become lighter and slimmer over the years (Marsh, 2005) which has likely also lowered the need for large briefcases. Today, in order to look professional, a business person should have a modern briefcase (Smith, 1997). An outdated briefcase would likely send a message to employers that their skills are outdated (“Dressing for Success,” 2007). Furthermore, a modern briefcase that organizes one’s supplies would give the person a current and organized appearance and show that they take their job seriously (Doche, 2013). A proper briefcase is perhaps even more effective at creating an image of professionalism than proper clothing because a briefcase is more directly linked to completing actual work. It therefore is able to effectively project the professional qualities of organization, preparation, and dedication (Doche, 2013).
While we can see that men have experienced a change in the appropriateness of carrying cases, women have seen a transition as well. Currently, it is acceptable for women to carry either a briefcase or a classy tote bag, but never both. The word ‘briefcase’ is derived from the many briefs lawyers (predominately male) used to carry to court (Mott, 2008). Now, as times have changed, women are pursuing careers in astounding numbers. Many of these careers are in fields that have been traditionally male dominated. Because of this, many of them have begun to carry briefcases. However, many women are finding it difficult to balance femininity and practicality ("Working Guide,” 2013). There are many factors that a woman should consider before purchasing a briefcase including the size, functionality, colour, and texture of the briefcase ("Working Guide,” 2013). Women should avoid purchasing bags that are colourful or that have designs traditionally viewed as feminine. This may focus attention toward the bag instead of them ("Working Guide,” 2013). In most cases, women should opt for more neutral coloured briefcases or bags such as navy blue, black, or grey ("Working Guide,” 2013). In terms of size, the briefcase or bag should be just large enough to carry their supplies, all of which should be neatly stored ("Working Guide,” 2013). If only a few supplies are needed, women should consider carrying a tote bag. Women can be original when choosing carrying bags, but it is important for them to find the right balance of femininity and practicality (Mott, 2008).
In the final analysis, we can see that over time, the appropriateness of the different types of briefcases and bags has changed considerably. Men have seen a transition toward the use of sleeker briefcases (Doche, 2013) with the ability to hold, store, and protect new electronic devices (“Buying a Briefcase,” 2013). Women, on the other hand, have seen a transition from being underrepresented in business and using more feminine bags to now using more functional and modern briefcases ("Working Guide,” 2013). It is important for anyone aspiring to look professional to carry and use a briefcase or bag that provides the right functionality, appearance, and modern style to look organized, current, prepared, and serious about the job.

References
A man’s guide to buying a briefcase (n.d). Retrieved October 4, 2013 from http://www.ebay.com/gds/A-Mans-Guide-to-Buying-a-Briefcase-/10000000177318827/g.html Briefcase advice (2013, Jun 5). Wordpress. Retrieved October 5, 2013 from http://briefcaseadvice.wordpress.com/category/mens-briefcase/ Dressing for success, baby-boomer style. (2007, Aug 15). Canada NewsWire. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/455454043?accountid=15182
Marsh, P. (2005, Nov 30). Why small is the next big thing miniaturisation: the belief that good gadgets come in slim packages is driving a trend towards ever smaller components, writes Peter Marsh. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/249605983?accountid=15182
Men: the hard case for soft carryalls: the standard business briefcase is getting some competition from stylish and flexible designs that aren't altogether modern. (1997, June 7). The Globe and Mail (Canada), Retrieved from www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic
Mott, A. (n.d). Can I take a female briefcase to an interview?. Retrieved October 3, 2013 from http://woman.thenest.com/can-female-briefcase-interview-20203.html
The working woman’s guide to buying a briefcase (n.d). Retrieved October 4, 2013 from http://www.ebay.com/gds/The-Working-Womans-Guide-to-Buying-a-Briefcase-/10000000177634577/g.html…...

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