5 Chic and Functional Bags for Work

If you’re on the hunt for a new work bag this season, we’ve got you covered, in fact we have five chic and functional bags for work . Admittedly, I am sick to death of the usual suspects. (I’m looking at you MICHAEL Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Coach.)

For today’s post, I wanted to showcase bags specifically designed with working women in mind rather than a mainstream designer’s tote-of-the-moment.

It’s exciting to see companies take a narrow focus and provide actual solutions to the challenges women face trying to stay organized and looked pull together.  Many of these bags are not only gorgeous but thoughtfully designed by companies that are actively rewriting how retail is done. 

From price transparency, ethical manufacturing, and women owned and operated, it’s nice to know you’re doing good and getting more than what you need.

5 Chic and Functional Bags for Work Top: One, $465  |  Two, $265  |  Three, $475  |  Bottom: Five, $165  |  Six, $175

The Main Squeeze Tote and Chief of Staff Organizer Insert

I geeked out so much for this genius, albeit expensive, concept.  First, select the style bag you like. I featured the Main Squeeze Tote in gray; it’s also available in dusty rose and a deep navy.

It features a comfortable top handle, adjustable shoulder strap and full zipper closure. It’s crafted from Italian pebbled leather and is scratch and weather resistant. That’s amazing.

The inside is lined fully with durable nylon. But that’s not all.

You may also purchase an organizer customized for your bag in several options allowing you to decide how many, if any, compartments and slots you need to best manage your day-to-day.

I like the Chief of Staff; it has just enough dividers without micro-organizing. You can choose from the Chief of Staff, the Momager or the Senior Associate.

How great are the names?

What I like the most is that this bag and its inserts are available exclusively on the Etsy shop Sofia Fima. So you’re getting quality craftsmanship, created by hand in Maine and you’re supporting a female owned business. I don’t know if it gets better than that.

Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover was recommended to me by a former client years ago.   It’s pretty much everything you want in a simple, straightforward, yet chic work bag.

I featured the above bag because it’s a non leather option, while still having shape and structure. This one, in particular, is the largest size available. It will fit your 15″ laptop, a notebook, your water bottle and even a pair of flats.

Don’t need so much room? The same style is available in small sizes here and here.

Available in three other colors.

Cuyana Work Satchel 

Cuyana is like the handbag equivalent to the Container Store. You know you really don’t need so many things to put other things in, but gosh does it look pretty.

They have everything from a leather case to keep a single lipstick, to the “femme pouch,” which is just a fancy name for a pocket to hold a tampon. You can also get just about anything monogramed.

But what Cuyana does best, aside from hiding my OCD in blushed colored leather accessories, is gorgeous, structured handbags, like this work satchel.  It’s sophisticated in it’s shape and function. 

Going back to my must haves for an office bag: top handle, adjustable shoulder strap, zip closed center for added security and enough (but not too many) pockets and compartments.  Bonus points for the feet on the bottom of the bag.

Everlane Day Market Tote

Everlane is one of my new favorite brands. It’s like the grown-up version of J Crew, leaning a little more classic and a little less trendy. Their clothes and accessories are streamlined and straightforward, like this everyday tote. I have something similar and use it all the time, I take it to the gym, run to the grocery store and can throw my laptop in it for a quick, casual meeting.

What I like the most about Everlane is their ethical approach to labor and price transparency. There is no reason for a tee shirt to cost over $100.  Everlane tells you the exact costs, markup, and profit.  It’s also important to know that the people making your clothes are being treated well and make a fair living.

It’s a win-win all around.

KNOMO Mayfair Backpack

Last month, we featured our favorite backpack for work, the Tumi Voyageur Halle Backpack. Tumi is a high quality and sophisticated option but is definitely an investment.  KNOMO is a London-based design company that focuses on style, organization, and technology at reasonable prices.

This backpack is just as streamlined as the Tumi, made with durable nylon and features RFID technology, which help prevent identity theft for about half the price.

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag - The Well Dressed Life

Given a choice, I would rather have a handful of high-quality handbags than a closet full of inexpensive “disposable” ones. But now and then something novel comes along and it’s too cute to pass on. Such is the case with this straw circle bag.

If you haven’t already, you’ll see these in stores this season. They are a popular and wearable trend. This bag by Sole Society is a step above the rest. It’s small in scale, so it’s ideal for spring and summer occasions. It could get a lot of use in the warmer months.

I have multiple beach weddings and this would be ideal for at least one of them.  Going to a summer concert? Pair this with shorts and a tee shirt and enjoy your night hands free. And take it on vacation for a casual night at an outdoor bar, or even sightseeing.  Thinking about my trip to Croatia last summer, this would have been perfect.

I love the faux leather piping and tassel on the zipper. It’s subtle details like these that elevate an accessory and look. Bonus points for the crossbody strap.

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag

Bag, $45

Of course, with all trends, designers take full advantage of what I eloquently call “stupid pricing.” So we are clear, I don’t care how much disposable income you have, there is no reason to spend $300 on a straw circle bag, even if it’s larger and doubles as a tote. Loeffler Randal thinks you should, but I think if you like that style, you can go with this $50 version at Bloomingdales.

I found a few others all under $50 that let you try the trend without spending your entire budget. This option from Nordstrom’s B.P. line has a shoulder strap, which I like for beach or pool days.  Gap did a similar bag with a top handle and removable strap.  Finally, ASOS did a sweet Nantucket style occasion bag, with similar faux leather details that feels both polished yet casual.