Thanks to Thursday Boot Co. for their support in furthering Primer's mission of promoting affordable and durable style by sponsoring this article.
It took me over 20 years to finally understand the rule of thumb my Uncle shared with me.
He said when he hires someone like a contractor or a plumber, he doesn’t care how new or worn their boots are, what year of truck they drive, or how slick of a sales pitch they give. Instead, he believes the most revealing sign of their work ethic is in the way they care and carry their tools. If a craftsman shows up with a tote jumbled full of tools that he throws around versus one who shows up with a meticulously organized kit, the theory goes, it's a clear indication of their attention to detail and the quality of their finished work. It's not about judging the individual but about discerning their professional approach.
Now well into my own professional career, I’ve realized this rule of thumb applies to the modern office professional as well, who’s laptop, pen and notebook, and essential EDC have taken the place of wrenches or brushes.
Be it a plumber, designer, or a corporate executive, how we care for and carry our tools becomes telling.
Aesthetics: Classic Meets Minimalism + Functionality
When I first came upon the Thursday Commuter Bag in the Tobacco leather color, I was drawn to its rich aesthetics. In a life filled with faster trend cycles and where almost everything is now a disposable good, finding something that feels like heirloom quality but doesn't burn a hole in your pocket is nothing short of a treasure hunt.
At first glance, the $349 Thursday leather messenger offers a blend of classic and minimalist design. The elegance of yesteryears is merged with the sleek subtlety of a more contemporary simplicity. This isn't one of those bulky, ostentatious briefcases that makes it look like you’re carrying the nuclear codes around but rather a sophisticated and understated modern tool kit.
Often, with leather goods that are marketed for their durability, you'll find leather that's so stiff it’s almost a plank of wood. This messenger is crafted with clearly substantial leather, but there’s a refined suppleness to it. Not to mention, the rich aroma of quality leather that’s bound to capture anyone when they open the box.
The messenger is available in 9 color palettes: 6 leather colors and an additional 3 canvas colors, offering enough variety to cater to a range of tastes. The 18oz canvas options are also slightly less expensive, made with material from Halley Stevensons, the same manufacturer that brands use to produce the world’s best canvas jackets and bags.
Often information on nice bags focuses only on heritage or materials but not practicality. One feature in the design that I appreciated was the decision to use heavy-duty zippers instead of traditional buckles. While many higher-end leather bags use buckles because they exude a certain vintage charm in product images, they completely lack practicality. With other bags that had buckles, I (shamefully) often found myself not taking the time to buckle the bag shut, carelessly leaving a $2,000 laptop vulnerably exposed.
The streamlined design details aren’t limited just to leather quality and zippers: the dark, muted finish of the antiqued brass hardware blends in with the leather instead of standing out as a bright, shiny detractor, as many leather bags insist upon.
The Details of the Thursday Commuter Bag
The Significance of Full Grain Leather
As with Thursday’s boot offerings, the bags make use of full grain leather. The term “full grain” isn't just a marketing term, it represents the highest quality of leather available. Full grain leather is derived from the topmost layer of the hide and includes all the natural grain. This means it hasn't been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections, ensuring it retains its strength and breathability. Over time, full grain leather develops a rich patina, making each piece unique and even more beautiful with age. This is the difference between a product that ages and one that looks worn out.
Dimensions and Pocket Arrangement
This bag isn’t just a good-looking leather accessory. Its measurements are purposeful: 11.25″ H x 16.5″ W x 3.5″ D. These dimensions ensure ample space without making the bag unwieldy.
On the exterior, there's a zippered pocket on the front side that’s perfect for those immediate-reach items, be it a notepad or medication. Opposite that on the back, there’s a non-zippered pocket—great for quick access to stashables like a protein bar or documents.
Internally, the bag has two main sections. The divider is thickly padded, providing a secure cushion for a laptop up to a 16” screen size.
On the internal divider, there's a zippered pocket designed for passports or wallets.
Adjacent to this, there's a three-sectioned open-top pocket, perfect for keeping your pens, small notebook, external SSD, or perhaps a charger organized and within easy reach.
Singular Touches Worth Noting
Surprisingly, even many more expensive leather bags are unlined. The microfiber lining adds additional dampening for electronics and keeps things from audibly banging around when on the go.
The heavy-duty hardware, from D rings to zippers, promise longevity. Even the zipper pulls, made from thick leather, echo the bag’s overall premium approach.
Rivet-reinforced side straps aren’t just a design flourish—they enhance durability, and four metal studs on the bottom elevate the leather from surfaces, reducing wear or contact with moisture.
As for carrying, the bag offers a removable full leather strap with a padded shoulder slide for comfort. This ensures you can carry it like a regular handheld bag or sling it over your shoulder as a messenger when you're on the move.
With its practical size and pocket arrangement, durable build, and refined, nuanced details, it’s a bag that understands the modern professional. Whether you're a creative director in Brooklyn or a farm real estate agent outside of Boise, this messenger aims to be your long-term toolkit, a testament to a meticulousness and professional approach.