After more than a year of working from home, work bags were forgotten in our day-to-day routines, along with commutes, office workwear, and heels. But as we think about returning to the office, remember that the best work bags and totes should always meet two criteria: function and style. When searching for your own, ask yourself, is it durable? Will it be sizable enough to fit all of your essentials—laptop, notebooks, planners, wallet, keys, and beauty staples? Is it lightweight and comfortable enough to wear over your shoulders, especially during a daily commute? I’ve learned the hard way of purchasing work bags that are too heavy to start with, making them cumbersome to lug around when filled up and left much less used.
A few tried-and-true favorites over the years have included Proenza Schouler’s iconic whipstitch Hex bucket bag or Frame’s Les Second tote, and I currently have my eye on Khaite’s timeless Amelia envelope camel tote. You can’t go wrong with one of these classic styles or a canvas version by L.L. Bean or Paravel. For fall, consider soft-textured styles, like Tory Burch’s contrast stitch Lee Radziwill bag or Staud’s color-block tote, perfect for carrying straight to happy hour on wintry nights. One of the joys of getting dressed up, for me, has always meant accessories—and that includes the work bag. I’ve missed carrying these totes around, wearing an a-line knit dress and boots, ready to take on the day. Whether that time for you is now, in the future, or will take place outside the traditional “office” (at a coffee shop or elsewhere), below, shop the best work bags for women to carry all of your essentials, anywhere you’re headed.
The Investment Buy
If you prefer a one-and-done type of work bag, consider investing in a timeless style you’ll use for years to come.
The Standout Statement
For anyone who prefers a bag that is punchier than the typical tote, these designs by Dries Van Noten and Neous will surely get you stopped on the street and asked, “Where is that bag from?”
The Minimalist Classic
Calling all minimalists: These leather totes do not disappoint. Clean and simple, these are the best work bags for women that get the job done. Add your laptop, agenda, book, and then some—it will carry it all.
The Traditional Canvas
Searching for a lightweight but durable work bag? Consider a canvas tote. It is a timeless staple for a reason, and L.L.Bean and Paravel currently offer monogrammed options for those wishing to personalize their bags.
The Boxy Carryall
A structured and vertically-shaped tote is perfect for carrying laptops and notebooks.
The Colorful and Textured
If you’re looking for a bag outside the expected neutral color palette, these will bring a bit more flair to the work grind.
The Touch of Raffia
A beachy style raffia tote will put you in the summer mood, even when you’re not at the beach.
The Office to the Bodega
If you prefer less-structured work bags, consider these market totes that can double as your laptop carrier too.