The moments in life when we find exactly the right item at exactly the right time are rare, but I recently experienced this phenomenon. It was a Monday morning, I had an eight-minute walk to the train and there was a torrential downpour outside my window. While I’d planned on bringing my leather briefcase into town, I shuddered at what all that moisture would do to its hide.
Then I remembered having Stuart & Lau’s Cary briefcase in my possession. Like the other bags produced by the Hong Kong/New York-based company, it’s built with a proprietary nylon fabric that has the great advantage of being waterproof.
I’ll admit to being a snob when it comes to technical fabrics—outside of running gear, I never touch the stuff. But Stuart & Lau made me realize that at least half my aversion to trademarked fabrics comes from the designs of the products they feature in. Rather than being a garish hodgepodge of logos and zippers, the Cary is as clean and classic in appearance as my leather briefcase—just built from materials that can withstand a storm. And while its body is nylon, the briefcase features full-grain leather straps—an appreciated accent that further burnishes the bag’s appeal without reducing utility.
It was a rainy day that first taught me to embrace the Cary, but I soon realized that it presented upsides for dry weather, too. The technical material is far lighter than full-grain leather, making it a more sensible vessel for holding my keys, a phone charger and a paperback when I’m bouncing around the city.
It also helps that it’s chock-full of thoughtful design details. A small zippered compartment at the top proved a convenient stash for ear pods and sunglasses, and it includes a built-in laptop sleeve that can be removed. I suppose I could use that feature to transport my laptop in another bag—but at this point, Stuart & Lau’s Cary has become an everyday carry.