9 perfect work bags so you can ditch that conference freebie

There’s something unique about the search for the right bag. The features we love or loathe, the experiences we’ve had with “bags past” (you know, the ones that make up that pile up like a mountain in the closet, threatening its impending avalanche), and the mental list we have of how the perfect bag will change our lives.

We’ve made innumerable pit stops on the quest for just the right combination of space, orientation, and compartments – most involving various trials and tribulations with embarrassingly over-branded gift-with-purchase totes, cheapo conference freebies, and heavy, worn-through Indiana Jones’ style satchels, stolen from ex-boyfriends.

You’d imagine a simple briefcase would do the job, but sadly no. They’re still almost exclusively tailored to a masculine style or housed under “men’s” sections. Never to be deterred, we’ve found a solve for that, too.

Our work demands as much functionality as it does style, so we’ve set out to find the perfect work bag solutions for every bag preference…

The Twofer Tote

Some people love pockets – some people decidedly don’t. This vegan, soft-sided, double shoulder strap tote by Mali + Lili does it’s best work for those of us who want a bag that’s just one big hole inside.

The best part? It’s reversible from black to leopard print!  

The Ladylike Laptop Bag

It holds a 15” laptop!? We couldn’t believe it either – that’s what the Sylvia Universal Slim Laptop Bag by Kate Spade New York does! Single-handedly the most feminine and unassuming approach to tech carrycases, it’s really a handbag for your computer, and not so much for anything else which makes it just about perfect for minimalist types searching for a bit of pop.

This bag has elbow-hold, handheld, and shoulder-hold strap options, and just enough room for a laptop, a narrow notebook, your phone, keys, and essential cards.

The Clean Crossbody

If there’s three elements we really love in a bag, it’s being handsfree, being fully aware of where our belongings are in space/on our bodies, and still being able to hold everything we need on any given day, plus a muffin.

This crossbody by Urban Originals ticks all of those boxes and a few more – it’s super affordable, looks very desiiiiigner, and it’s vegan!

The Admired Attaché

Dyyyyyyying! The deco-style, aptly named Business Bag is everything. The IT Bag for work, as far as we’re concerned. Not only can it carry a 13” laptop, tablet, and notepads, but its velvet lining ensures that none of your precious tech gets scratched. There’s also super sneaky external pockets for the items you need quick access to – like your phone or your transit card.

The Taupe is quietly divine – but we have word from Mlouye that three gorgeous new colours (Sand, Cobalt Blue, and Dark Green) are about to launch in mid-February. We just need to choose which one to get first…

Double Duty Day-to-Night

On days when you don’t need to schlep your computer or files (maybe you’re coworking – or you’ve decided to have a life after work just this once), a more compact bag can help you feel just a bit more footloose and fancy-free (and less “OMG WHERE’S MY LAPTOP!”).

Enter the Eloise Satchel by Angela Roi. As inspiring with your workweek suits as it is with flirty dresses or weekend jeans and knits, this piece is just large enough to carry all of your essentials – even an iPad mini – without being a full-on work bag.

Work-to-Workout Backpack

When backpacks hit us fullforce last year we we really weren’t sure what to do with it. In the past, they really didn’t scream “Hello, I’m a professional and serious business lady” but times have changed, and so have we – especially since finding the Jordan by MZ Wallace. Sure, you can get it in black, two shades of grey, and navy – but check out this chocolate version with hot pink lining!

It doesn’t just have backpack straps it also has top handles, which feels extra legit to us. Plus it has all the pockets: 4 external and 6 internal – including a flat back pocket for a laptop (that’s ten pockets!!) a detachable pouch (hello there, trip to the underground for lunch) a special phone pocket, and a key ring strap, it’s impossible resist the power of this pack.

Back-to-Work Bag

When a structured tote is this cute and fun, there’s no need for your baby bag to be relegated to “diaper duty only” mat leave status!

Both the daily needs of work days and weekends outings with bébé can be easily accommodated with a stylish and versatile tote like Be Classy – The Duchess by JuJube. Teflon treated exterior and Agion-treated interior means that your bag will resist both stains and mold and mildew to give longer life and durability to this super lightweight roomy bag that will take you back to work or out on the weekend with ease.

The Sophisticated Satchel

This is absolutely not the satchel you wore to school – or that your boyfriend wears to channel his inner Indiana Jones. The Maestra by Senreve is a completely different entity. In fact, everything this American designed, Italian made brand does is all about the particular needs of their muse: women-who-do-it-all.

This bag racks up the kind of stats that make us dream about how we’ll fill it: 7 interior compartments including a padded laptop compartment, a hidden external pocket, and zippers to keep everything secure. Of course, it can be worn as a crossbody “satchel style,” but it can also be worn over-the-shoulder, on the arm, or as a backpack. Lastly? 15 colours and 2 finishes mean “all black everything” doesn’t have to be your mantra, unless you want it to be.

The So EXTRA, Extra Bag

Admittedly, this is our absolute dreamiest dream bag. So dreamy, that you have to speak to a sales associate directly to confirm selection, availability, and price.But when it comes to a Goyard Saint-Leger, nothing is more chic, practical – or mysterious. After all, the reason for the direct tête-à-tête is because unlike other designer houses, Goyard doesn’t have a fixed selection of styles year-round. They prefer to innovate and initiate when they please.

This update works as a soft, top-handled briefcase, a shoulder bag that can be slung over either shoulder and as a super slim backpack! The best part? It’s totally foldable so you can tuck it into your luggage. Perfect if, for example, your next business trip happens to take you somewhere where you need to go shopping just a little bit…  

What have your work bag struggles been? Which styles do you love most?

Cover image courtesy of www.senreve.com

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