June 5, 2023

Picking out a new outfit for work every day can be quite the headache, but if there’s one thing that makes our mornings easier, it’s a trusty work bag that stands up to long commutes, meetings, mountains of paperwork and more. From stylish work bags you can take from the boardroom to the bar to functional work bags that keep all your documents (and meal prepped lunches) safe and secure, there’s no shortage of work bag options on the market that’ll actually make getting — and being — at your day job that much more of a breeze. We spoke to folks who go into the office every day about their favorite work bags from top brands like Beis, Cuyana, Frank & Oak and Ted Baker, and you can shop them all right here.

Don’t sleep on backpacks that get you to and back from work pain-free. “I love that it’s versatile, anti-theft protection and easy to clean so if anything spills it’s easy to wipe off,” says Margaret Simonelli, a clinical counselor. “As an added bonus, it has a cup holder for that morning brew.”

“I was lost in the internet world of totes and crossbodies when I finally found this perfect tote,” says Rachel Lubitz, Underscored senior lifestyle editor. “Made of supple textured leather and featuring two straps, a snap closure and plenty of room for my laptop and essentials but not the entire kitchen sink too, it’s been a dream to carry these past few weeks. It feels elevated and a little fancy without screaming that you spent too much, and I just love the bright color coral too.”

The Louis Vuitton Neverfull might be out of budget for most, but given how “The LV Neverfull is the best,” says Ashley Mosseri, a podiatrist, it may just be worth the splurge. “It can fit everything including my laptop, so the name is very appropriate, and it’s super sturdy and doesn’t get dirty. It comes with a little pochette inside and I wear it to travel, too. It’s expensive and I got it as a gift but it’s amazing. Definitely worth it.”

Work bags with functionality are a must, but bonus points for a playful design. “This Ted Baker lunch bag is my ultimate go-to for work,” says Roxanne Stein, an administrative/executive assistant. “I use it daily as a lunch bag and as my carry-all. It’s spacious for a smaller bag and it’s easy to clean because of its material, but it’s also really, really pretty.”

“It’s surprisingly difficult to find a work bag that 1) fits a laptop 2) has a zip top 3) can be worn crossbody, but Cuyana has managed to nail all three requirements with its newly released Easy Zipper Tote,” says Chelsea Stone, Underscored senior editor. “And on top of all that, the bag comes in three sizes, the leather is super smooth and you can choose from a range of great colors. I opted for the Small, and it still fits my computer and wallet and water bottle and more.”

Whether in the office or an overnight trip with your colleagues, this professional bag makes for the perfect plus-one. “I love my Beis Convertible Mini Weekender bag for work trips,” says Rachel Rappaport, a senior consultant. “It’s a perfect carry-on size and easily doubles as a purse. I love the zip-off compartment on the bottom to stash my work pumps, plus the wire frame opening makes it easy to see exactly what you’ve got packed. My little secret: for bigger trips, I just zip off the bottom and carry it on board as my purse. It’s the perfect ‘personal item’ size for most airlines.”

“I live in a small apartment in Boston, so everything in my closet needs to be able to do double, triple, quadruple duty,” says Todd Plummer, a writer and avid traveler. “This tote comes with a durable crossbody strap and is just large enough to carry my laptop, a notebook, and some papers, but is also a great carry-on for airplanes, or a grocery bag if I’m picking up a few things at the store. It’s an investment for sure, but it’s made by a New England company that, in my opinion, produces leather that rivals any luxury brand.”

 

With a design this practical, you’ll find yourself reaching for this bag every morning. “It is the perfect bag,” says Geneviève Guertin, vice-president of life sciences at a venture capital firm. “My laptop fits in it perfectly, you can tuck it under the seat of an airplane, it can be used as a backpack, and you can wash it in the machine.”

Puffer jackets are all the rage, but a puffer bag adds something even more surprising to your work fit. “I had my eye on this bag for as long as it’s been listed,” says Katelyn Thomas, a news reporter. “I’m obsessed with the quilted pattern and the color, and the fact that it’s a sturdier take on a classic tote. It’s spacious and fits everything I need for work, plus it’s made with sustainable materials so it was a guilt-free purchase.”

Thanks to its waterproof material and roomy interior, you’ll find yourself reaching for this work bag every morning without fail. “I’ve been using the Rains bag for years after too many precarious snow-in-tote-near-my-work-laptop moments,” says Kendra Sharp, a digital marketer. “It zips closed to be totally waterproof, meaning I can walk to work in the rain as much as I need to. It’s also lasted me almost four years now, so I’d recommend it to anyone.”

To save your back — and your sanity — grab this sleek yet roomy Matt & Nat backpack with the appeal of a purse. “This backpack fits everything so I don’t need to bring three bags,” says Cassandra Chase, a talent acquisition advisor. “It sits comfortably on my back so I’m not lopsided and as a bonus it’s made of vegan leather.”

Coach bags are making a comeback in a serious way, and if they aren’t part of your daily work wardrobe, you’re missing out on all the convenience they offer. “I use a standard Coach tote bag. It has textured leather so I just have to wipe it down to clean the outside,” says Kyra Tuwaig, a corporate lawyer. “I like it because I can zip it up to close it and it fits my laptop. I got it as a gift when I first started my job and I haven’t had a need to replace it since.”

Whether you’ve got a career in the visual arts or you travel with lots of gear, this Amazon’s Choice convertible bag is bound to come in handy. “We used to have four bags for our cameras and drones and this is big enough for all my cameras and tripod,” says Peter Sawinski, a wedding photographer. “I can roll it on its wheels or wear it as a backpack. Even though I use it for photography, I also use it as a travel bag.”

As a catch-call for your belongings, you can’t go wrong with this roomy cruelty-free tote with a center compartment clasp closure, dual slip compartments and adjustable and detachable cross-body strap. “I got this a few years ago and use it every day for work,” says Rachel Sheiner, an elementary school teacher. “It’s still in perfect shape and it cleans nicely.”

For a practical briefcase with the style appeal of a streetwear bag, opt for this statement tote. “I love it because it’s extremely versatile and I can organize all of my essentials in it without my bag being too bulky,” says Claudine Grondin, a buying manager. “I also love the fabric and color as it’s a nice twist on a classic tote bag shape.”

When I’m conducting in-person interviews for articles, I’m likely running around the city afterwards. This lifesaver of a bag features thick and padded straps that don’t dig into my shoulders when it’s holding everything from my laptop to my lunch to a change of clothes. It has several genius compartments that make it easy to keep my clutter organized.

This one’s more of a grower than a show-er. From the outset, it looks like your typical athletic backpack, but it fits a shocking amount of stuff, from my laptop to portable Yeti rambler to extra sweatshirts for when I inevitably start to freeze after a couple hours of working. The outside compartment is roomy enough to serve as its own bag, making the actual main compartment a sort of cherry on top. I love that its backing is padded enough not just to protect my valuables, but my back, so I don’t necessarily need to ensure I place flat items at the end before wearing it.

It doesn’t get better than this soft-to-the touch tote bag with over 58,000 Amazon reviews. It features a large main compartment and a small side pocket for valuables, and a decorative tassel to keep it looking super chic. From versatile hues like apricot to ash gray, it’s at once professional enough for the boardroom and chic enough for a night out on the town. And at that price, you’ll want to grab one for every day of the week.

Gone are the days of worrying whether your laptop will actually stay safe in your bag during your commute. Designed with military-grade protection, water-resistant fabric and reinforced edges that absorb impact, this best-selling laptop bag shoulder bag with over 13,000 Amazon reviews makes for an all-around wise investment.

Designed with a sophisticated water-resistant waxed canvas and cowhide leather, this practical messenger bag with nearly 13,000 Amazon reviews evokes the nostalgic aesthetic of a newspaper delivery boy with all the updated bells and whistles of a modern work bag. It has an adjustable and removable shoulder strap for a personalized fit, a magnetic snap to easily secure your belongings and a padded sleeve to protect your laptop of up to 15.6 inches.

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