The 10 Best Padfolios
10. Mymazn Writing Portfolio
9. Wundermax Professional
8. Leatherology Organizer
7. Rawlings Heart of the Hide
6. Stylio Folder
5. Case-It Executive
4. Saddleback Notepad Holder
3. Royce Leather Presentation
2. Cutter & Buck Legacy
1. Leatherology Binder
An Ultimate Organizing Tool
Padfolios are pretty simple little devices when you break them down. Essentially, they're like a cross between binders and wallets, designed to hold a great deal of your personal documents while providing necessary business tools at your fingertips.
Most padfolios are leather-bound, for the waterproofing that leather provides, as well as the professional look that will compliment business attire better than a nylon or another petroleum-based material.
The "pad" part of the padfolio refers specifically to the notepad around which the unit is designed, though most of the time when somebody unzips one of these things, it's hard to predict whether there's a paper pad or an electronic device hiding in there.
I still don't entirely feel comfortable taking notes with electronic devices. Even with all that could go wrong on paper–you could lose it, soak it, burn it, toss it (this is starting to sound like a Daft Punk song)–there's still something more permanent to me about writing information down than typing it in. Maybe I was born just a little bit too early. For what it's worth, I didn't get a cell phone until I was 17, and all it had was calls, text, and a brick breaker game.
Which isn't to say that a padfolio can't appeal to those rapscallion youths. A lot of these padfolios also have compartments for phones and tablets. And, according to a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, millennials love desk accessories!
Your Padfolio And You
If I was a betting man (which I am, for the record), I'd wager a good amount that you're not necessarily going to pick your padfolio based on its superiority in content. The amount of things it can hold, the number of compartments, etc., don't hold much sway over the most important consideration: How does it look on you?
I mentioned this earlier, but it's important to consider your padfolio investment as a fashion accessory, otherwise you'll never want to leave the house with it.
Imagine a fashion spread. Setting aside the fact that the porcelain china doll of a model in that image may or may not have had that padfolio Photoshopped into her hand, it's undeniable that its burgundy color wonderfully electrifies the light blue of her dress. Just imagine how that same burgundy shade could tame a wilder canary yellow ensemble, and you'll begin to see the potential diversity of this accessory.
So, keep the features in mind. If you've got a tablet you want to take with you, make sure it'll fit. If you want a soft leather that's going to last, make sure it's quality hide. But don't forget to listen to your gut on this one. You know your style; let it shine.
How The Padfolio Can Fight Child Labor, Sort Of
In 1826, Godillot of Paris made a carpet bag with a hinged frame of iron. This was the first sealed luggage of its time, and it is the predecessor to the briefcase as we know it today, and that, in turn lead to the advent of the padfolio.
Before that, most traveling required some kind of trunks made either of wood or of metal. The good thing about trunks, of course, is that it's harder for baggage porters to tell if there are people stowed away inside. Bony stowaways tend to poke out a bit through your standard cloth bags.
Over time, the carpet bag was sized down considerably, and later, as electronic correspondence entered the modern business world, the need to carry enough material to fill an entire briefcase was diminished.
It almost feels like a loss, though, to think that kids aren't going to get to play at being adults by manipulating a briefcase that's clearly too big for them, and try to amble out the door with it on their way to "work." That was one of my favorite games as a kid, and it's adorable to behold.
Some of the larger padfolios might offer a similar experience, but the electronic devices within are more or less targeted at children already, so the juxtaposition loses its power. It's almost too easy, and possibly too expensive, for kids to handle and use them.