Ask the Edit: Work Bag Suggestions

Feb 21, 2020

Starting out in D.C. at  age 22, there was a lot I didn’t know about dressing for work.  With a Southern Mother, I started out a little ahead of the game, but I was clueless about shoes (sorry, feet) and work bags.  So let’s discuss some work bag essentials.

Hello:

My best friend is graduating from law school this May, and I’m looking for a nice laptop/work bag to gift her. She deserves it! I know you’ve done bag roundups in the past, but any updates you’d add to the list?

C.

Which work bag depends on two things: 1) what you need to carry and 2) how you commute.

Some lawyers need to carry a laptop and files, others don’t.  Some need to carry the day’s essentials plus gym clothes and lunch, others don’t.  So before you start thinking about what bag to buy, give some thought to where she might be working and what she might need there.

Also, how she will be commuting is an important question.  If your friend is riding the train or walking, she’s going to need a crossbody strap.   If she’s going to drive, she might be able to get by without it.   And if she’s commuting on public transport, she  will definitely need something that zips or snaps shut to deter pick pockets.

Now that we’ve discussed the assessment phase, let’s talk about bags.

Dagne Dover was founded by a professional woman who understands what working women need: storage, organization, and style.  They have styles for every need.  Some are large, some are small.  Some are leather, some are canvas, some are neoprene.  But all of them are directed toward filling the needs of their customers.

This large Allyn Tote is on point.  Laptop storage, separated compartments for smaller tech items, keys, water bottle, etc..   The drop on the shoulder straps is long enough to sling it over your shoulder.  And even though the bag is a large size, it doesn’t feel bulky.

Their signature Legend Tote is also a great pick.  It comes in three sizes, so if you just need a well-organized purse, you can buy the small one.  If you want something with a flap, this Simone Satchel is fabulous.  I love the all black  look, and the storage is excellent.

If you don’t need a leather bag, I highly encourage you to consider Lo & Sons.  A family-owned company, they make a wide selection of laptop bags, including backpacks that I would actually carry.

The brand recently made a lot of changes to their classic O.G. style making it the perfect work bag.  The O.G. has laptop storage, internal pockets galore, a water bottle holder, and a special pocket for your dirty commuting shoes.  It is truly one of the best bags that I have ever owned.

Their sale section always has a great offering.  From laptop bag to their beloved Pearl crossbody, it’s always worth a stop.

If you need leather, Cuyana is the place to go.  Their well-made bags are wonderful for working women.  I own their Trapeze satchel, and it is fabulous.  The storage is good, the quality is really good, and the style is fantastic.  My only small complaint is that the leather bag, once filled, can become quite heavy.

If you need more organization, they sell a leather organizer that fits into their totes.  It’s lovely, but I prefer the cheaper felt ones from Amazon.   You can add organization to any bag, and they help slouchy totes keep their shape.

If you like the look of leather but prefer a vegan bag, Matt & Nat makes a wonderful selection of totes and satchels.   Their Parallel satchel is one of my favorites.

The bags all have modern, simple styling and clean lines.  I own their Kintla satchel, and it’s a good medium-large satchel with a really unique look.  The bag is perfect for traveling because it can really take a beating and still look great.  Plus, since it’s vegan leather, the price is more affordable than a leather bag at under-$200.

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  1. meghan says:

    I could not agree more with the Cuyana suggestion. I have the structured open tote with the insert and its the best leather tote bag I have ever owned. It fits my computer and gym clothes and has held up with dragging it all over NYC.

  2. Lost says:

    Love my DD Large Allyn. I commute by car, but have traveled with it too, Comfortable to carry, nice organization features, and looks great.

  3. Laura says:

    I absolutely love my Cuyana classic leather zipper tote and insert (which were purchased based on your recommendation in a previous post)! I use the bag for work and one of my coworkers purchased the same thing in a different color because she loved mine so much. The items you recommend never disappoint. Thank you Belle!

  4. BRee says:

    I love Lo and sons bags. They’re great. Love the Rowledge backpack for carrying heavy stuff but still looking chic. Loooove the Edgemont bookbag tote (convertible) though its rather plain and not as professional looking as the Rowledge. The TT Tote is nice, light, professional, and has great features but make sure any makeup has you use inside are flat not rounded and big due to the shape.

  5. lcrisb says:

    I’ve been eyeing this bag: https://minabaie.com/shop/the-amelia, which is a diaper bag but women who use it as a work bag highly recommend it. It
    has laptop and luggage sleeves, and other great features. I have one of their mini backpacks and love it.

  6. Elyse says:

    The best thing about the Lo&Sons bags is the sleeve for putting the bag over my carry-on suitcase handle. It makes traveling so much easier!

  7. Susan says:

    Out of all the purchases you have recommended, the Lo and Sons bag has been my favorite. I bought the OG2 in black with gold trim for my daughter in law, and it was such a nice gift. Work appropriate, travel appropriate, and stayed looking new for a long time!

  8. Denise says:

    Ladies! As someone commenting from the 40+ crowd, i’m going to encourage you to look into backpacks. I know it’s not quite as stylish but trust, your neck will thank you later. I bought a Tumi backpack last year and haven’t looked back. It slides easily onto my roller bag so I can zip through airports without problems and when I wear it there’s no pressure on my neck / shoulder!

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