PRODUCT REVIEW: STUART & LAU ‘CARY’ BRIEFCASE  (8.3)

I
N A SEA OF OLD HIGH-SCHOOL BACKPACKS, CHUNKY LEATHER SAMSONITE BAGS AND THE EVER EMBARRASSING ROLLING SUITCASE, MEN’S BAG BRAND, STUART AND LAU, HAVE BEEN A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR MEN IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT BAG. THEY HAVE MANAGED TO CRAFT BAGS THAT DO AWAY WITH THE UNDESIRABLE, BUT RATHER MAINTAIN A STREAMLINED SOPHISTICATED LOOK THAT IS READY FOR TRAVEL. THE LAST THING YOU NEED IS TO LOOK UNREFINED OR TASTELESS WHEN CARRYING A WEEKEND BAG OR BRIEFCASE. STUART AND LAU BEGAN FROM THE IDEA THAT CREATING A BETTER TRAVEL BAG WOULD HELP YOU ENJOY THE WHOLE TRAVELING PROCESS. NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT IF YOUR BAG WOULD HOLD UP THE RIGORS OF BEING THROWN AROUND, CONSTANTLY BEING OPENED UP AND GENERALLY CAPABLE OF PROTECTING ALL YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS OR PAPERS FROM THE ELEMENTS. MUCH MORE THAN JUST A BAG, STUART AND LAU WANT THEIR BAGS TO BECOME A COMPANION DURING YOUR DAILY LIFE, ONE THAT PROVIDES QUALITY AND REPELS PRECIPITATION ALL WHILE REMAINING MINIMAL AND STYLISH. THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE STUART AND LAU ‘CARY’ BRIEFCASE. A WELL-ROUNDED BRIEFCASE MADE FOR URBAN LIVING AND PERFECT FOR YOUR DAILY COMMUTE. CHECK OUT WHAT MAKES THIS BAG A STEP ABOVE THE COMPETITION AND WHY WE THINK YOU SHOULD GIVE IT A SHOT.


STUART & LAU 'CARY' BRIEFCASE

Quality9.0
Design9.0
Fit8.0
Price7.3
8.3

QUALITY

First things first, ditch that horrible, cheap, black nylon messenger bag that you got from your dad’s annual family picnic. Next, invest in something that was made for the daily grind. Stuart and Lau’s ‘Cary’ bag is a briefcase designed to be used day in and day out. With a long list of features, this bag can take on anything you throw at it. Starting out with a sleek outer shell, made from Duralite nylon, the ‘Cary’ briefcase is a bag that holds a lot more beneath its water resistant surface than meets the eye. The way that the ‘Cary’ briefcase was built is a true testament to the creators, Matthew and Jimmy’s, vision for a travel friendly bag that emanates both durability and beauty. Just holding the bag in your hands, it truly feels well made. The leather handles feel sturdy, the zippers don’t feel cheap and when putting your personal items in the bag you feel as though everything is protected and safe. The price of this bag aside, which we will discuss later on, the ‘Cary’ briefcase from Stuart and Lau doesn’t cut corners on any of the details. Every aspect of this bag was meticulously considered when they designed it. The lining of the bag, the placement of the pockets, the addition of the luggage tag (with a little surprise that we’ll discuss later) the added strap to attach to your carry-on suitcase and even small elastic organizers inside the bag to keep all your electronic cords in order. This bag was truly made for men on the go. The thing with travel bags that we find to be most infuriating is the lack of well-thought out and purposeful design. Travel bags give you storage, but are typically bulky with extra pockets that just look like they were slapped on at the end. The ‘Cary’ is different. It’s clever use of materials, design and carrying capacity, make it a must have for any person looking for a quality travel briefcase.

DESIGN

When we first got hold of our Stuart and Lau Bag, the first thing we noticed was of course how it was packaged. A simple dust cover with the Stuart and Lau logo keeps your bag from getting dirty and scratched. As a guy, if you’ve got a lady who cares about her handbags, you’ve probably noticed that they usually keep them in these dust covers while they are being stored. That’s for good reason…the better you take care of your things, the longer they will last. Do yourself a favor and when the bag isn’t in use, use the dust cover when storing this bag away in your closet. You’ll thank us later! The ‘Cary’ briefcase touts an impressive outer shell made with Duralite Nylon and thick, full grain leather handles. The leather handles really support the weight of the bag when you’re carrying around items such as a laptop. There has been so many times where we’ve seen bags where the handles are pulling due to poor stitching or overall poor design. This bag is exquisite. It really does make you look twice when holding it. While not as formal as your typical black leather briefcase, the ‘Cary’ has some great features without feeling too uptight. Its waterproof outer shell means no more worrying about everything inside getting ruined if you get caught in a random shower or downpour. Knowing that your bag can really keep things safe is a weight off our shoulders when using it everyday. Upon opening up this bag, you’ll immediately notice its inner beauty. The lining of the black bag is lined with a pop of color, (NOTE: OUR PHOTOS SHOW A 1ST GENERATION MODEL THAT HAS A RED LINING, THE NEWER MODELS SEEN HERE, HAVE A BLUE LINING). Although less formal, you didn’t buy this bag to blend in. You bought it because you wanted to be different. A simple leather holder for your business cards, pockets and organizers for all your laptop cords, and a separate pocket to keep your important documents safe…this bag is even big enough to put an extra dress shirt or external hard! They have literally thought of everything! In a device-saturated world, wouldn’t it be nice to have a pocket that was dedicated just for these items? Yup, Stuart and Lau did it. That small pocket on the outside can keep your smartphone within reach and also smudge-free from that “power lunch”. One of Stuart and Lau’s signature details on this briefcase is their luggage tag. More than just your typical tag with your name on it, they’ve given this tag purpose by having the ability to insert a detachable pen into it. You’ll never again be without a writing device should an idea come up or a business opportunity arises where you need to exchange information. Don’t let these other bags trick you into thinking the price isn’t justified. Let Stuart and Lau show you what a men’s briefcase should be.

CAPACITY (see FIT)

The purpose of a great bag is to comfortably hold all the things you’re going to need during a busy day. The ‘Cary’ is one of those bags that is designed to look slim, yet can hold all you need and more. Along with a being able to house your laptop, this bag is able to hold our sketchbook/notebooks, various cords and chargers, our external HD, a pencil case, our passport and still has room for more.

During air travel, keeping out the bulk is essential. You don’t want to open your bag and start digging for something while you’re running to your gate. When you’re wearing that great fitting suit, it’s only proper to have a bag that matches. Slim fitting, slick and functional. Check out some of these photos of items we were able to pack into the briefcase.

PRICE

The price of a bag should never be the determining factor if you’re in need of one with integrity and longevity. ‘The Cary’ from Stuart and Lau is $325 USD, but for good reason. You’re getting a bag with beautiful craftsmanship, water resistant capabilities and plenty of secure pockets to hold the most important things when traveling. If you compare the ‘Cary’ to some similar priced leather bags at this price, you’re going to notice a few things: 1. Leather is much heavier…a lot heavier than the Cary’s duralite nylon. While it might not be as business appropriate for some, we beg you to try and identify the material of the bag from 10 ft away. We would put money on it that you couldn’t tell the difference.  2. Leather bags can stain, warp and hold some bad odors. While we love a well-worn piece of leather like most men, leather eventually stretches and might not be the best thing for protecting screens and important papers.  Listen, we’re not writing all other bags off, but for $325 USD you’re going to like the investment you made. We always preach quality first and cost second. Do yourself the favor invest in a great bag now and save yourself money down the road.

OVERALL

Overall, We’d HIGHLY recommend this briefcase. You’re getting a really beautifully designed bag with all the considerations of modern travel bag. This bag is waterproof, sleek in size, provides ample protection for your devices, portable while traveling and most of all, aesthetically pleasing. We couldn’t ask for a better bag. Some will say that the price might be too high or that it’s not refined enough. We’re not saying this bag is for everyone, but for the constant on-the-go young executive or entrepreneur, The ‘Cary’ from Stuart and Lau is a perfect example of what a bag brand should be. Be sure to check Stuart and Lau FULL COLLECTION on their website. They do a lot more than just briefcases. They offer a full range or weekenders and tote bags that also have similar design elements and properties that the Cary has.

TLDR:

WELL DESIGNED BRIEFCASE FOR THE GUY ON THE GO; GREAT INNOVATIVE BAG WITH CHARACTER; PRICED SIMILAR TO OTHER BAGS IN THE MARKET BUT PROBABLY BETTER BUILT.

Header Photo courtesy of Camille Shaw Photography


We want to thank both Matthew and Jimmy at Stuart & Lau. It was because of them that this feature was possible. Genuine Men’s Magazine was gifted the product, but was NOT given any monetary compensation for this article. We wrote this article and review honestly for the education of our audience in hopes that you’ll both learn from it and make your own purchasing decision based on what you’ve read. Thanks for your viewership!

About The Author: StevenDElliott

Steven is the founder of Genuine Men’s Magazine. He graduated Drexel University with a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. Along with his passion for photography and design, Steven loves helping men find new and emerging menswear brands and offer his opinions when
it comes to real-life situations.