It wasn’t the kind of sleek, stylish briefcase the big money boys carried. It didn’t convey wealth, status or an Ivy League pedigree. If Gordon Gekko had seen you carrying it, he would have snorted in disdain.
No, the Original Attaché was always more about Main Street than Wall Street. It was the bag of choice for teachers, lawyers, contractors, architects – anyone who valued function more than fashion.
It was rough and rugged looking, in 18 oz. Square Rigger cotton canvas – the same stuff old-time sailors hassled from the yardarms around Cape Horn. Incredibly durable, yet pliant enough to stretch for that one extra book, brief or folder you always seemed to need.
We introduced it in 1977, along with an overnighter called the Packet and a suit bag called the Captain’s Wardrobe – the first non-sailing bags we’d ever offered. People weren’t used to the idea of a soft-sided briefcase, but for $18.95, many of them decided to give it a try.
And, quickly got “attache-d” to it. Maybe for the homespun look, maybe for the ingenious features, which included a clip for your keys. But also because it was different. You couldn’t take it on a train or a plane without somebody asking, “Where’d you get it?”
In the disco 80’s, it was a welcome symbol of good sense.
Our customers did more than carry our attaché – they wrote to tell us why they liked it, and how it helped them in their work.
“My attaché is roomy enough to hold all the large volumes I use in my work, and the compartments hold my gadgets out in the field,” said Dr. Robert Bianchi, curator at the Brooklyn Museum.
“My attaché has been with me to the Far East five times, around the world once, Europe twice, Mexico once, and logged more domestic miles than I’d care to count,” reported Blair Kennedy from Pennsylvania.
And from Connecticut, French teacher Patricia Perry: “Le sac est superbe!”
Our attaché even had its admirers in political circles. In 1990, Nebraska Governor Kay Orr told us that she and her staff all carried our attaché: “We just couldn’t find a more roomy, professional or durable bag on the market.”
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wrote in 1996 that it was “the most efficient briefcase in the world, which I carry literally everywhere I go.”
Over the years, we sold over a million Original Attachés. How many of them are still on the job? We’re guessing most. The suckers just don’t seem to wear out.
Are you still carrying your Original Attaché? If so, let us know. Maybe if we hear from enough Original fans, we’ll show your letters to the decision makers here at Lands’ End, and ask them why a product this good ever went away.
It sure was an original.
Have a story or photos you’d like to share?
Email it to us at MyStory@landsend.com
(Please keep any images under 12 Mb.)