Style + Work

Ask the Edit: Laptop Bags for Kickass Women

Do you need a great work bag?  Do you have a bit of money to spare?  From $150 to $475, here are the best laptop bags recommended by me and by regular readers.

Abra,

What great work bags have you seen lately? I’m thinking briefcases, laptop bags, etc. (The last post on this was in 2015!) I have a very simple black leather laptop bag, but I need an upgrade!

– Amanda 

Has it been that long?  I feel like we talk about this all the time, but I could be wrong.

I’m pretty set on work bags.  I own four…five…I’ve lost track.  But I haul my laptop almost everywhere, so I need good bags.  Here are the ones I own and the ones readers rave about.

My Bags.  I’m difficult to please (ask Kyle, poor guy).  If you want me to drop hundreds of dollars on a bag, you better come at me with something better than average.  Even something better than good.  Or else I’m going to balk, call customer service, and be difficult (see above), until you agree to take it back.

Dagne Dover Legend Tote ($265)

Dagne Dover Simone Satchel ($395)

I own both of these bags.  They’re both great.  I carried my Legend Tote through most of law school.  This Simone Satchel is a relatively new purchase.

The Legend Tote is lightweight, coated canvas.  It has a great number of pockets and a lot of little extras.  It’s also practically indestructible.  My one complaint is that the open top can cause a few issues.  Ever have a classmate kick a bag over in class and dump tampons all over the floor in the middle of your ConLaw final?  I have.

The Simone Satchel, being leather, is a bit heavier.  It also has a crazy number of pockets and good interior organization.  I carry it if I have 8.5 x 11 files that need to go to court, and I don’t want them to spill.  The strap is a little thin, so it gets a bit heavy if you stupidly try to walk the two miles home while hauling a full bag.  But a fabulous bag.

Rebecca Minkoff Knocked Up Baby Bag ($345)

Yes, this is a diaper bag.  No, no one has ever noticed.

This is my court bag if I’m wearing a black suit.  I love the water bottle pockets on the outside, and the pockets on the interior.  Though you will need another pouch for your laptop.

This bag’s only real flaw is the heft.  It’s a body builder.  But the strap is sturdy, so it holds up to the weight.  And it looks expensive, which is always nice.

Lo and Sons OMG ($275)

Am I traveling overseas?  Am I going on a filthy plane?  Am I going to have to run/walk a fair distance?  Do I want to take a bag that is tougher than Andre the Giant?  You bet I do.

The Lo and Sons bag is the bag I’ve “replaced” like five times.  I say it in quotes, because no matter what else I buy, I always end up using this durable, well-designed, nylon bag again.

The interior organization, the special pocket for your commuting shoes, the lightweight.  I love other bags.  I like other bags.  I always come home to Lo and Sons.  The one caveat, it’s not the most professional looking bag.  Totally fine for every day, not the best pick for BIG meetings where you need to impress in your workday best.

Cuyana Le Sud Leather Travel Bag ($375)

I bought this leather bag to travel on the weekends.  But who was I lying to?  I’m not going anywhere without my hot rollers, and they basically fill half the bag.  So, I’m high maintenance, sue me.

Instead, I use this bag when I need to haul a lot with me.  It has an unpadded laptop pocket.  It has a great, magnetized exterior pocket, and the strap is really comfortable.  Don’t need one this big?  Cuyana’s Day bag will hold a 13″ laptop, also comes in black, costs $275 and looks like the old Minkoff MAB bag.

Okay, so that’s it.  Those are all of my laptop hauling, workday bags.  Full disclosure, I bought one Lo & Sons bag, and I was also gifted one.  I bought one Dagne Dover Legend Tote, but bought the Simone.  All the other bags were my own purchases. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know my reviews aren’t colored by gifts.  I’m too opinionated for that.

But what about the favorite suggestions of other readers?  Here are the Audience Suggestions.

MZ Wallace Kate Bag ($395)

A reader reports that the exterior pockets are an organizing dream.  My friend Marissa also swears that this is the most durable bag she’s ever owned.  Her gold one is 10 years old and is just starting to show age.  It will also hold a small laptop.

Everlane Twill Snap Backpack ($65)

I know several people who carry this bag.  They like the simplicity and the classic look.  One friend described it thusly, “Buy a Tumi.  If you can’t buy a Tumi, get this bag.  You won’t miss the Tumi.”

BetaBrand Big Travel Tote ($160)

Two readers endorse this bag for durability and versatility.  It converts from a tote, to a crossbody, to a backpack.  It also slides over the handles of a carry-on bag for ease of movement in the airport.

Vera Bradley Travel Bag ($147)

My feelings on the patterned, quilted Vera Bradley bags are well-known.  In a word, I loathe them.  If a handful of readers had not spoken so fondly of this VB bag, it would not be here.  But they praised the bag’s durability, pockets, and compartments.  One reader called it the best bag she’s ever owned.

Audrey Lodis Brera Bag ($328)

I used to own this bag in red.  Several readers bought it on my recommendation and still endorse it.  I no longer own it because it’s a little hefty for me.  But it has amazing organization, looks sleek and comes in red, which is nice for when you need a bag that goes with anything.

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LEAVE A COMMENT

    19 comments

  1. CP says:

    The Dagne Dover Allyn tote is a nice, newer leather option. It fits a bigger laptop than the Simone (which I bought first and love, but won’t accommodate my Lenovo) but isn’t as bulky/casual as the Charlie.

    Love the L&S OMG as a gym bag and the Brookline for travel.

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  2. abby says:

    I get that I’m in the minority here, but man, I hated my Lo & Sons bag and I do not get everyone else’s love for them. It’s a nylon bag, but my experience was that it is not remotely water resistant. I carried it a couple of blocks in moderate rain (I live in Scotland. It’s always raining but never raining hard.) and most things on the inside were water damaged.

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  3. Jess says:

    I so wanted to be able to fit my giant 15” laptop in the legend tote, but the dimensions just made it a hair too small to fit. I ended up getting the Michael Kors Rivington tote in a beautiful light grey and have gotten a number of compliments on it. Professional looking, goes with everything, lots of pockets, and it zips shut.

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  4. Ana says:

    I second the Betabrand Big Travel Tote.

    I looked at it for months before it was available. One day I happened to get a discount code from the company and I did not hesitate. I am SO glad I bought it.
    I have two jobs and about to start school again, it has space for EVERYTHING! I use the shoe pockets in the inside to put my water bottle and umbrella. The laptop compartment fits my MacBook Air easily, when I am not carrying my computer, it fits my mini iPad and a notebook. The inside is HUGE and the light lavender color (while not my favorite) makes it easy to find things, though I expect it will get dirty.

    Carrying it as a tote is comfortable, the straps are long enough that your arm won’t feel trapped between them and the zipper. As a backpack it is great.

    Since it is so big, I have everything in different pouches to make finding things easier, it can become a bottomless pit.

    I absolutely recommend this bag!!!

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  5. Amy says:

    Does anyone have the Cuyana work Satchel (https://www.cuyana.com/work-satchel.html#black)? If so, what are your thoughts?

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  6. Katy says:

    Very big fan of Poppy Barley’s Perfect Handbag and I want to pull the trigger on the backpack (Canadian line, which would make it extra affordable for you Americans right now!). I miss the Tory Burch York tote, not sure why they discontinued it.

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  7. Lexi says:

    After developing some back pain, I bought the Bartaile bag in a the navy nylon because it’s a nice looking, professional backpack. It’s also a tote and the straps easily covert to a messenger bag. I get comments all the time about how cool it looks, and have carried it into many high level meetings.

    It took me a while to decide that I recommend it, mainly because it’s not very wide. Every day, it holds my 13″ MacBook Air, a small coach purse, my glasses & sunglasses, a small truffle makeup bag, and a small nylon bag with electronic accessories. I can fit in a few folders, iPad, maybe a small book and that’s it. I was concerned the straps wouldn’t be comfortable, but they totally are– I’ve walked many blocks at a time with the straps on and never felt uncomfortable.

    Highly recommend.

    https://bartaile.com

    April 26, 2018/Reply
  8. Thistle says:

    I love my Knomo Grosvenor Place. Keeps everything safe and organised. It expands a bit and has an RFID protected pocket for my phone. Plus it can slide over your case handle for easy travelling. And finally it’s never leaked even in Glasgow rain.

    April 27, 2018/Reply
  9. Amanda says:

    Don’t worry, Abra- you definitely did write posts on laptop bags in 2017 and 2016, as well. But given that I keep bringing a Northface backpack to work because nothing else seems to fit a laptop, gym clothes, makeup, and lunch – these posts are definitely needed! The Betabrand Big Travel Tote looks amazing – big, but also the size makes it chic- I’m going to look for a discount code!

    April 27, 2018/Reply
  10. Tai says:

    Can you recommend any fashionable laptop totes that convert to backpacks? I commute to work and cannot comfortably carry everything with tote straps.

    April 27, 2018/Reply
  11. Mary says:

    Thanks for the Betabrand tote rec and Ana’s endorsement below. I’m starting grad school in June and am looking for something large enough to hold everything and comfortable to carry. I had been looking at backpacks for comfort but hadn’t found anything that seemed quite right. I see it is pre-order for July shipment but I can make do for a couple weeks for what looks like the perfect bag.

    April 27, 2018/Reply
  12. Amanda says:

    Sorry about the 2015 comment! I know that you’ve written about tote bags and laptop bags since then, but I was primarily looking for briefcases. Maybe briefcases are out of style?

    Anyway, I’m glad that I expanded my search because I love that Simone satchel!!!

    April 27, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Well, I’m glad you got what you needed. No worries, I’ve talked about some of these things so many times, I can’t remember when the last time was.

      April 27, 2018/Reply
  13. Nicole says:

    In looking at the Legend Tote, the website makes it appear like it has a full zip top which would prevent everything from falling out? Have they maybe updated this since you purchased or am I missing something? An actual closure would be ideal for going through metal detectors at court houses so everything isn’t falling out all over like I usually have to prevent, but I am worried based upon your criticism that it doesn’t actually have that.

    April 27, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      They could very well have updated the tote. Drop them an email.

      April 27, 2018/Reply
  14. kelly says:

    The backpack option on this looks really solid, and if I’m carrying a laptop it really, really should be in a backpack. Thanks for the comment on the straps, too. I’m looking for a smaller backpack right now (maybe iPad size), and the comfort of the straps is a major deciding factor.

    April 27, 2018/Reply
  15. Kate says:

    I love my Dagne Dover 13″ tote. It doesn’t get slouchy when it’s empty, and it’s very durable. I’d really wanted a leather bag, but I also wasn’t something that could handle my all-seasons walking commute.

    It took my a while to get a Lo & Sons OMG bag, because it felt like they were EVERYWHERE online (and are easily identifiable in person), but the two most put-together jet-setting ladies I knew owned and used them constantly – the best review. It’s not huge, but keeps things organized. Perfect for going straight from the airport to the office after a weekend trip.

    April 28, 2018/Reply
  16. Nicole says:

    I like to live on the wild side – ordered the Legend Tote even though I wasn’t sure if it had the full top zip like it appears on their website. It does! Just arrived today and I am very happy I will no longer be spilling everything all over the metal detector conveyor belt!

    May 2, 2018/Reply
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