Ask the Edit: Medium-Size Work Satchels

Aug 15, 2017

Let’s talk about the best bags for job interviews…

Hi Abra,

I need some suggestions for an appropriate purse to accompany me while being interviewed for jobs. I work in finance so I would like something professional, yet big enough to carry my iPad and such. Any suggestions?

– Lauren 

When hunting for a good ‘work bag,’ it’s important to think about what you need to carry and what color would best fit in with your attire.  Because you’re searching for an interview bag, you also need to think about what message the bag sends.

It may seem silly to some, but your clothes are another form of communication.  They say, “I fit in here,” “I get it,” and “When clients look at me they see a professional.”  Your bag is a part of that message.  Too big, you may look high maintenance.  Too casual or too embellished, and you’ll seem less serious.  An expensive bag projects success to some, champagne tastes to others.

For a job in a professional field like finance, you want to project confidence, professionalism, and class.  This sounds like a medium size satchel with simple details, that even if it’s inexpensive, doesn’t look it.

Henri Bendel Rivington Satchel ($450 + 20%-off) // Chelsea Morgan Convertible Satchel ($99) // Kate Spade Candace Leather Satchel ($378)

Colored Leather Satchels.  I own a burgundy satchel; it has all the versatility of a red satchel, but with a more subdued pop.  It pairs well with black, navy, grey, ivory, and brown hues.  This Rivington Satchel has a great, modern shape, and the zip-off clutch on the front is a nice touch.  It could easily hold your essential, plus an iPad.

Other colors to consider are navy, dark green, or (of course) red.  If you want to add a bit of color, for a staid office setting, your bag is the place to do it.  If you’d like a lower-price burgundy bag, this Deluxity Avery satchel has a clean look to it.  I also like this Sole Society winged satchel.

Light Neutrals. While black is the staple work-bag color, a light neutral is also a good option.  If you plan to wear navy or a light color suit, a pale grey or pale beige bag may be the way to go.  I like this Chelsea Morgan bag (also in black), because it looks more expensive than it’s $99 price tag.  The sleek lines, simple hardware, and flap closure look simple and professional.

Gray is my preferred pale neutral.  This Rebecca Minkoff satchel (from consignment site TheRealReal) has just the right amount of edge while maintaining a professional look.  For something simpler, this Michael Kors Sylvie bag has a classic feel.  Feeling the pale beige?  I adore the versatile look of this Mercer bag.

Dark Neutrals.  Black, always black.  While it’s nice to try something different, there’s no reason not to rely on the trusty professionalism of a black satchel.  This Kate Spade bag has a clean look with a bit of femininity to it.  For something similar for less, try this Reed RK40 bag.

I also like the unique shape of this affordable Danielle Nicole satchel.  To add some interest to basic black, try a bag with strong hardware, like this Zola flap front satchel.  My favorite black bag of the moment (which I will be buying for myself as soon as I finish this post) is this Henri Bendel Barrow satchel (also in an incredibly gorgeous light blue).

Need on Bag to Real Them All?  If you only have the cash to buy one bag, I say go with a subdued animal print.  For years, my interview bag was a grey ostrich.  Then, I switched to a grey snakeskin.  It gives a bit of pop, while still being neutral.  It’s also extremely versatile since it goes from dark-to-light and back again.  I tried to find some examples, but unless you Miu Miu money, there aren’t any right now.

[featured image found here]

Style, Work

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  1. Anna says:

    I love me a warm gray bag. Goes with black. Goes with navy. It’s the most versatile color. I have a gray Marc by Marc Jacobs satchel in pebbled leather that I adore. It’s a little more slouchy than I’d like, but once it has stuff in it, it looks more structured and I love that it has metal feet.

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