Does MT advice have a preference between a black and a navy portfolio?
I am looking at purchasing a leather portfolio on Amazon from Leatherology. I am debating between the black portfolio ( and the Navy portfolio (
The advice I have found in the manager tools interviewing podcast is that a black portfolio goes well if wearing a black suit to the interview. In a another podcast, it was said though that for his moleskine he opts for blue since most everything else at his desk is black.
I would like to go with the Navy since it will be harder to misplace or to be mistaken, and it stands out a bit without being too flashy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how it would work with my suit colors (black, navy, dark gray, and light gray), specifically navy, which is what MT recommends when interviewing.
On the other hand, the black portfolio seems like it will go with every suit color (navy, black, dark gray, and light gray) and occasion, but is a little boring since almost everyone has a black portfolio.
Thank you.

ses's picture
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Any understated, professional color will do in almost every situation.  Black is recommended, I would assume, because it's never wrong, even in the edge cases like the military, where under some circumstances carrying anything other than either plain black, or black plus an appropriate military insignia would put one out of uniform.

For what it's worth, I carry a dark-brown leather briefcase and a textured dark-and-light-grey folio.  I often get comments on their attractiveness.  Here are two rules that have served me well, while getting away from "always use black":

  1. Always choose understated colors.  If your tools are drawing the attention of those around you, you've done it wrong.  The attention should be on you and your ideas.  Carrying a bright pink planner or a gaudy folio into a meeting screams insecurity because it shifts attention toward your appearance and away from your ideas and your work, which telegraphs a lack of confidence in the ideas and the work.
  2. If you're working in the sort of environment where "protocol officer" or "social secretary" are meaningful titles...either consult with someone politically savvy or opt for plain black if you don't understand the ins and outs.  These are indications that there is a diplomatically or politically sensitive aspect to the interactions you are likely to have, and presentation is about more than merely being professional.