In the last few decades, which have seen us enter the world of the quickfire email and digital RSVP, workplace communication has taken a turn away from the analogue, and we think that’s a shame, especially if you were one of those kids who got more excited about back-to-school stationery shopping than catching up with your friends after summer (clearly speaking from experience ourselves). If so, then why not recapture a little bit of that magic with a thoroughly grown-up pencil case for work or lectures?
There are some not-so-grown-up designs too, of course. If your workplace is less corporate and more kooky, stand out with quirky choices from cult brands like Happy Jackson and Kate Spade, all bright colours and cheeky slogans. For more serious settings, a luxury leather pencil case with a decadently tactile finish and subtle details scores top marks in the boardroom (extra points if you add your own initials).
Of course, it’s not quite that black-and-white. There are elegant ladylike cases for neatly storing workplace essentials, art supplies, and everything else you can think of; on-trend metallic finishes and fine florals; touchable velvet and perfectly-worn leather; compact pen holders for guarding your Parker with your life; and rugged cases that thrive in the field as well as the great indoors.
There was always going to be a place for bang-on-trend rose gold on our list, and here it is, in the form of this elegant Ted Baker pencil case. The metallic finish looks luxe, and the soft-touch pink interior is glamorous and girly, with slim pocket that’s perfect for business card. As an added bonus, it comes with a kitsch bow-shaped rubber, metal pencil sharpener, ruler, and two pencils. The only problem is that everyone will want to borrow them.
This leather pencil case from Smythson (opens in new tab) is the ultimate bit of grown-up stationery, providing the finishing touch to any polished workwear look. The cross-grain calf leather in a choice of bold or subtle shades is luxurious and durable at once, and the gold-stamped logo feels extra special — you can even add your initials for an added decadent touch. Truly something to keep and treasure, and it makes a very thoughtful gift for the stationery nut in your life.
If you frequently need to take your pens and pencils on the road or out into the field, this hard-wearing pencil case from Eastpak is the one to take with you. Made from the same material as the brand’s famous backpacks, it’s incredibly robust and can take a bashing. And, because it’s bigger and more pliable than our previous picks, you can squeeze more in. The perfect option for stationery hoarders, and those who travel a lot or work outdoors.
For casual offices, home offices, and well-meaning students still bothering to pack a pen, this offbeat pencil case is just the thing to brighten up those grey mornings and 9am lectures. The shiny red eco-friendly PU construction and yellow accents are cheerful, as is the “lovely pencils, fancy pens” slogan on the side, and the nylon inner superbly easy to clean in case of fountain pen-related accidents.
Affordable, durable, and well-designed, this hardshell pencil case is a great inexpensive option for popping in your desk drawer or corralling pens and pencils in a larger bag. Whether you want to give a shout-out to your love for outdated forms, or just appreciate the brand aesthetic, this easy-clean is one for design buffs who pack light: it looks great, but you can’t squeeze much in.
With its oversized floral print, trendy rose gold hardware and pops of colour, this Ted Baker pencil case is the last word in ladylike stationery. It looks incredibly chic, with faux leather trim and subtle Ted branding, standing out on your desk or in your bag without looking ostentatious, and it has enough room for a curated selection of bits and bobs: use it at work to stash pens, at home for art supplies, or on the go as a streamlined sewing or makeup kit.
If you like the look of a leather pencil case, but certainly can’t stretch to the triple-figure Smythson Panama, take a look at this affordable option from Paul Marius. This unisex pencil case is minimal and elegant, with a simple flap-over top fastened by hardy popper clasps. Its soft, full grain buffalo leather finish feels luxurious, but is perfectly durable for travelling or bumping around in a big bag on your commute. If none of the girlier options on this list take your fancy, try this on for size.
We love a slogan here at TheRadar, can’t you tell? This offbeat bag from cult designer Kate Spade is no exception, with its bold gold lettering, delightful pink shade and glossy finish. It’s much bigger than your average pencil case, good for arty types travelling to and from classes, or everything-but-the-kitchen-sink packers who definitely need that scientific calculator even though they haven’t done physics for at least a decade.
For a sleek modern pencil case that’ll look at home in any smart office, but without the not-inconsiderable price tag of some of our other picks, give this ICE London offering a go. At just under £13, it’s much more affordable than its plush velvet finish and gold-look hardware would suggest, so it’s a great budget business option. Use it as a desk tidy, for working on the go, or just to stand out around the boardroom table.
If you’re the person who likes to always have a proper, grown-up pen on them, but you don’t want to risk loose lids letting ink out all over your pocket or bag, this leather pen holder is a great halfway house. Slip it into a bag for extra organisation, or carry it alone. Even if you don’t have your own go-to, this luxury set comes with two smart-looking chrome-finish pens of its own, making it perfect as a gift set or generous stocking filler.