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Working from home may still be an adjustment for some folks, but many professionals are quite familiar with the realities of working on the go. It could mean running around to meetings all day while barely stepping foot in your office, answering emails from a coffee shop, or meeting a deadline while 30,000 feet in the air. A good work bag will make your life easier and more organized when you're mobile, especially stylish ones that make you feel confident just by carrying them. Black Leather Tote Bag
We asked team members at Insider to share their picks for the best work bags for women and explain what they love about them. Here you'll find select options we've categorized according to what needs they suit best.
And if you need a great outfit to pair with your work bag, see our article on where to buy women's work clothes.
You'll find a few Dagne Dover bags on this list, and that's because they've truly mastered the art of crafting the best work bags for women. The Allyn Leather Tote has the best internal organization features we've found in a work tote, with its laptop sleeve in 13-inch and 16-inch, snap-in water bottle insert, as well as smaller pockets for your phone or a notepad. And thank goodness for its mini compartments, otherwise we'd never find that tiny, elusive lip balm. The straps are also the perfect length and width for comfortably carrying over your shoulder.
The Allyn Leather Tote also made our list of the best tote bags.
Cuyana lets you create your own ideal work bag via the System tote's variety of customizable options. After landing on your favorite color and size, you can also choose from Cuyana's selection of add-ons, including a snap-in laptop sleeve, detachable interior flap bag, zipper pouch, shoulder strap (wide or narrow) and the organizing insert. Considering the detail of the System's features, the exterior is by contrast very minimalistic. Its simplicity makes it easy to style, should you be on the lookout for a work bag that is cohesive with your workplace wardrobe.
Again, Dagne Dover dominates the work bag category with its equally amazing backpacks. Its roomy main pocket fits everything you need for the office and comes with a travel bag for shoes if you need to make a quick change from your streetwear to workwear. It's cushy exterior makes light work for the average commuter.
"The thick and cushioned neoprene straps make it so comfortable to carry," according to deputy editor Lauren Savoie. "If you're not someone who carries a lot, you may want to opt for the medium size, but I think the large size is particularly versatile, especially if you're someone who travels a lot for work or pleasure." It also comes in a size small, in observation of the range of commuters' travel needs.
Caraa is an up-and-coming indie brand that makes thoughtful considerations in its designs. The Stratus backpack is no exception, with its mesh netting interior compartments and removable pouch. Its exterior features clever details, such as with an inconspicuous pocket placed strategically on the flat back panel, and its exterior is constructed with a weatherproof cloudlike nylon.
"Starting with the material, you'll find that it's incredibly lightweight (we're talking nearly unnoticeable), like a handful of feathers," says Insider Reviews Executive Editor Sally Kaplan. What's more, are vents at the bottom that air out any damp workout clothes, so the inside always stays fresh.
Check out our full review of the Carra Stratus backpack to find out why it's one of the best work bags for women.
Brace yourself to be approached by inquiring minds wanting to know where your bag is from. The Maestra is a convertible tote that began trending on the basis of just how adaptable its structure is. You can easily change between a shoulder bag, a top handle bag, and a backpack. The city traveler will especially notice it's one of the best work bags for women who use public transport.
"It can be swapped while walking without missing a beat, which is essential when the subway door is about to close on you but there's only room for your body and not the large backpack attached to it," says Sally Kaplan, Executive Editor Reviews.
At its current price, the Maestra is definitely up there. Though should you be looking to invest in a daily-use work bag, its timeless silhouette has the stamina to last through years of trend cycles.
Check out our full review on Senreve's Maestra Bag here.
This "cute, very utilitarian" (Michael Nolledo, former Executive Editor for Insider Reviews) work bag is distinguished by the Maine backwoods aesthetic of L.L. Bean. If your criteria for the best work bag for women is pure functionality, then this is the bag for you. It has it all— five interior pockets and three exterior pockets, designated to hold a laptop, a 40-ounce Hydro Flask, and an extra pair of shoes or umbrella. The Stonington's rugged cotton canvas is weather resistant and the bag features two sets of handles for hand-carrying or over-the-shoulder transport.
This stylish work bag comes in ten colors that all function as chic neutrals. It's made from 100% scratch-proof, UV-resistant Italian leather that won't get discolored or wilt in the rain. As for the inside, it can fit laptops up to 15.6 inches and has a slew of other helpful pockets. There's a place for your pens, charger cables, notebook, makeup pouch, and whatever else you need to tote around. Plus, it comes in two other sizes — the Midi Pyramid (12 colors) and the Mini Pyramid (11 colors). I have the Mini Pyramid and I'm obsessed with the luxurious suede lining and the little metal feet that help keep the bottom of your bag from touching the subway floor when commuting. And I love the two outer pockets, which are super helpful for slipping your phone into for easy access. This one is a little bit of a splurge, but you're paying for the highest quality.
Another clear winner for one of the best work bags for women is Caraa's dual-purpose Studio Tote. "Convertible bags are lifesavers for anyone who commutes on a subway, and this tote from Caraa is the best we've tested," says Sally Kaplan, Executive Editor Reviews.
While the nylon version we originally reviewed is no longer available, its new Italian leather counterpart has the same appeal. This tote has dedicated pockets for your laptop, water bottle, phone, even a hidden side compartment for shoes. And of course, the best part is the removable straps perfect for converting your tote into a backpack and vice versa.
Check out our full review for the nylon Studio Tote here.
The Bandolier tote is made of high-quality pebbled leather that feels luxurious to the touch. Inside, you'll find a zippered pocket, a few open compartments, and even a special pouch designed for storing your sunglasses. There's also a padded compartment with a snap button closure that will fit a 15-inch laptop.
And since carrying a laptop can be a struggle if you're toting it around all day, the Bandolier bag comes with reinforced straps. "My favorite part about this tote is the straps. The extra bit of leather reinforcement makes it so much more comfortable on my shoulder when I'm carrying it around — plus it can carry a lot, so I need the extra support," says Samantha Crozier, Style & Beauty Editor.
If you work in an office that requires you to dress up, chances are you won't be carrying a canvas tote or a nylon backpack. This open-top tote is made from a faux-croc leather material that looks incredibly chic. Instead of a rectangular silhouette, the bag has a purse-like look with winged sides. Though it's big enough to fit essentials like a laptop and a water bottle, its also fashion-forward enough that it doesn't look like a typical office bag.
"This would be the perfect bag to carry when you're wearing a power suit. It looks super expensive and the shiny gold hardware is a great touch," says Samantha Crozier, Style & Beauty Editor. See our picks for the best suits for women to come up with a full outfit.
This version of Everlane's New Day Market Tote has everything we've raved about in the original, only this time with an eco-conscious update. Its flexible vegan leather is virtually indistinguishable from genuine leather and has far less of an impact on the environment. We're talking specifically about its Bio-Alloy™ exterior, a leather alternative derived from plant-based proteins. The process of creating the tote out of its Italian-crafted material requires 83% less water compared to its previous leather version. and find out why it's one of the best work bags for women in 2023.
Read our full review of the original Everlane New Day Market Tote here.
Lo & Sons is another brand we feature often at Insider — not just because they make some of the best work bags for women — but also because they create superior travel essentials. The Rowledge made our guide to the best Lo & Sons bags, and it's the ideal companion for commuters that need a work bag as capable of adapting to their environment as they are. "The conversion was so easy that I didn't even realize I walked onto the train with a backpack and exited with a handbag," says Francesca Rea, former Story Production Manager.
Check out our full review of the Lo & Sons Rowledge backpack here.
An Italian leather bag is a luxury item that Quince makes more accessible with its unique business model. "Quince has cracked the direct-to-consumer code on its bags and clothing, producing pieces that live up to designer standards at well-below designer prices," says Insider Reviews executive editor Sally Kaplan. "This bag looks best in black and easily takes you from day to night thanks to its timeless design and thoughtful sizing that fits a 13-inch laptop." But the Triple Compartment Satchel—as roomy as it is—also doubles as a crossbody, really making it the one of the best work bags for women.
If you hate carrying bulky bags and want something that will stay close to your side, you'll be especially pleased with this tote from Bellroy. It has exceptional interior organization, with a spot for your laptop, water bottle, wallet, notebooks, and any other essentials you carry. It's flexible enough to shove in a whole change of clothes for the gym, but the light padding in the walls of the bag keeps it structured enough to avoid becoming bulky even when packed.
Available in two sizes, Dagne Dover's Signature Tote is what structured bag dreams are made of. The saffiano-style vegan leather looks just like real leather, and it's just as durable, too. After testing the larger version of this bag, our recommendation is to stick to the medium size unless you need to carry a large backpack or need to haul around a lot of stuff. Besides the useful interior organization features like a laptop sleeve and water bottle insert, the best part of this bag is the shape and size of the handle, which makes it easy to carry over the shoulder even when you're wearing a bulky coat.
See our full review of the Dagne Dover Signature Tote here.
Aussie-based brand Bellroy stepped up their Classic Backpack with their new Premium version. It boasts the same comfort and features as the original with multiple tech sleeves and microfiber lined compartments for delicate items, such as glasses. The new leather panels are an attractive contrast to the weather resistant exterior. Its pockets are easy-access and sealed with stylish leather accents.
Dagne Dover's Pacific Tote is best suited for more casual workplaces because it's made from canvas, but if you opt for the black bag you can probably get away with carrying it to nicer offices, too. The bag holds an unbelievable amount of stuff on both the inside and outside of the bag. It has a pocket for your laptop and a huge interior cavity with organizational features that make it easy to fit your lunch, a change of clothes, a water bottle, and more. But what really sets the bag apart is the four external pockets that are big enough to hold a book in each one, plus a small card pocket for discreet external storage. This bag can also work overtime for trips to the beach or even a small trip to the grocery store. Overall, it's one of the best work bags for women — but it will serve you for more than just heavy-carry days at work.
This bag comes to us from Siobhan Murphy, a former lead at Twitter, when we asked for a stylish work bag recommendation. Murphy was drawn to designer Vicki Von Volzhausen's mission to reinvent leather for the fashion industry. "The bag is made with a high-quality sustainable leather alternative that looks beautiful and chic IRL, and is super easy to clean (a perk of the vegan leather alternative that I was happily surprised by)," says Murphy. This shopper-size bag comes at a substantial cost, but also with a lifetime warranty. The cinching closure especially sets this apart as a fashion statement amid average workplace attire.
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