Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Nylon Briefcases for Work

One of my favorite things is answering reader e-mail.  So let’s clean out the Capitol Hill Style inbox.  And let’s start with a question that all of us can relate to as we head back to the office: laptop bags for work.

Dear Abra,

At your advice years ago I bought two briefcases by Hex, and I loved both of them. I have now worn out the second one, but it looks like Hex does not make briefcases anymore, just backpacks. Do you have any recommendation for a similar product? Small, neutral colors, cloth instead of leather…the Hex bags were so perfect. Is there anything else like them?

Thank you, Kate

I had never heard of HEX bags, so I hunted down some photos.  The bags have utility and function covered — not too big, plenty of pockets and organization, and simple styling.  Bags like that aren’t easy to find, at least not in the handbag section.

If this is the style you like, I recommend hitting the men’s section.  The Dryden bag from Filson has a similar style — exterior pockets, medium sized, top handles, etc.  Ted Baker also makes a similar nylon bag, though it may be a little more narrow than you’re looking for.  Both of these bags are under-$250, in the higher price point, this Tumi Alpha bag is a good option.

If it’s just a nylon work bag you’re after, I can’t recommend the Lo & Sons OG 2 enough.  I have a beautiful leather bag for work, but it’s so heavy when it’s full.  The OG is light, well-organized, holds just the right amount, and has never failed me.  Every time I carry it into a crowd of women (whether at a conference or a salon) I get lots of questions about it.  It’s a bag that just looks like a problem solver.

Have a bag to recommend?  Leave it in the comments.

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  1. E says:

    On the budget end of the spectrum, I have carried this bag daily for 5+ years and it’s still in great shape. Mine is purple, so a little more fun than basic black, and I have gotten a number of compliments on it while traveling, but I could only find it in black right now.

    April 25, 2022/Reply
  2. Katherine says:

    Do you recommend the Large or Med OG2 bag? Thanks!

    April 25, 2022/Reply
    • EL says:

      I’ve owned both versions, and unless you are confident that you’ll have a small laptop for the forseeable future (I’m at the mercy of my IT department), I’d recommend the large size. Even laptops that technically fit the smaller sleeve were a bit of a pain to wiggle in and out of it. That being said, they’re wonderful, durable bags and I don’t know how I survived work travel (or commuting, when that was something I did daily) without one.

      April 25, 2022/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I have the medium, and I find it big enough. If you travel a lot or carry your lunch or gym clothes, you might need the large.

      April 25, 2022/Reply
  3. Sara says:

    I’ve used the 1909 bag from Rough & Tumble every work day (minus covid) since 2014. It’s held up perfectly, and stains and wear blend right in to the waxed canvas and leather (so it’s not entirely cloth). I’ve spilt entire cups of coffee in it and thrown it into many trunks and overhead bins, and it just looks better with time. Cannot recommend more highly.

    April 25, 2022/Reply
  4. BN says:

    Another vote for Lo&Sons 🙂 I have three of their bags and they are amazing. Durable, fashionable, functional, and I always get compliments on them. Thanks Abra for recommending Lo&Sons so many years ago!

    April 25, 2022/Reply
  5. Pam says:

    I;ve been loving the Knomo bags! Lightweight and feel really high quality

    There is a tote and a briefcase style.

    April 25, 2022/Reply
  6. Aldi says:

    I love your blog! I have just found it after reading an article about it in the NYT. I am a litigation attorney and I always felt like an oddball by sticking to more tailored and dressed up wardrobe for court. I work in a small state and it seems that the female lawyers do not always stick to very formal wear for court and I started doubting my “old fashioned” point of view. I am also tired of looking for professional clothes at the mall and I am very disappointed in Ann Taylor. I love it that there are women out there who also think the same way I do:)

    April 29, 2022/Reply