11 Work Bags Real Simple Editors Can't Live Without
We've rounded up the bags we rely on to go from home to work to the gym to dinner, including the best laptop backpack.
If you’ve ever lugged a laptop, your lunch, a water bottle, gym clothes, and whatever else you carry around every day to the office, you know the importance of a good work bag. It needs to be durable—so it can carry everything you need for work, plus those must-haves you’ll want once the workday ends and you’re hitting the gym, meeting friends, or running to pick up the kids—as well as polished and professional. (The very best work bags for women can hold an extra pair of comfy shoes, too.) So here it is: our list of the work bags we use to get through the day and our evenings, too.
Holly & Tanager Professional Leather Backback Purse
"This backpack style bag is great for someone like me who has back issues—but it has a bottom zipper pouch that can hold anything from a pair of shoes to a bottle of wine to a refillable water bottle. It’s also the perfect carry-on because it has a substantial leather panel so it can slide onto your wheelie bag without sliding off or tilting as you go through the airport." — Leslie Yazel, Editor-in-Chief
To buy: $550; hollyandtanager.com.
Cuyana Tall Structured Leather Zipper Tote
"This bag has everything I’ve ever wanted in a work tote: it zips shut so nothing falls out, has a laptop sleeve big enough to fit my 14-inch MacBook, and has an additional sleeve for small essentials. Plus, I was able to monogram it to make mine feel special!" — Chloe Reznikov, Director of Ecommerce Editorial
To buy: $215; cuyana.com.
Dagne Dover Allyn Tote
"If you love having a pocket for each item in your bag, Dagne Dover's totes are filled with the smartest ways to organize all those loose items you can never find. The pebbled leather gives the bag a subtle texture that’s different than most leather totes, and you won’t be able to choose from the six chic color ways. There’s no extra bulk to this bag either, which is great if you have to lug around your work computer each day." — Madison Alcedo, Lifestyle Ecommerce Writer
To buy: $325; dagnedover.com.
Citi Babies Diaper Bag Backpack
"Yes, it’s a diaper bag, and no, I don’t have kids—but diaper bags are secretly the best everyday bags. This one is water-resistant, has padded shoulder straps, and boasts tons of pockets and pouches for all my going-to-work must-haves. It also holds a ton of stuff—an extra pair of shoes, my lunch, and sometimes even my laptop all fit inside." — Lauren Phillips, Associate Digital Editor
To buy: $71; amazon.com.
Neely and Chloe No 1 The Small Tote
"For a little more of a splurge, this everyday tote is amazing. Structurally it’s a great blend of floppy and sturdy, comes in seven pretty neutrals and has two interior slip pockets, a removable zip pouch, and a genius button closure to keep everything safe and sound. Bonus, it’s also a fabulous gift idea—you can get it customized with a gold-embossed monogram/initials." — Maggie Seaver, Associate Digital Editor
To buy: $298; neelyandchloe.com.
Best All-Purpose Tote: Madewell The Medium Transport Tote in True Black
"I realized recently that I had more or less stopped carrying a purse and had switched to tote bags, because it was easier to grab what I needed out of them (especially when I was out and about with Baby). But I didn’t feel all that professional showing up to work with a New Yorker tote instead of a grownup-looking bag—so I bought this perfect leather tote from Madewell and have been thrilled with it. It’s got all the grab-and-go I need, plus a little zip pocket I keep my headphones in (less tangling!) and a front pocket where I keep my work badge so I never have to go fishing for it." — Anna Maltby, Deputy Editor
To buy: $158; madewell.com.
Best Splurge: Moore & Giles Welden Tote in Virginia Natural
"This is my latest tote bag for work, and I’m so psyched about it. Purse + laptop + magazines + a few groceries = a heavy load! But this roomy satchel does the trick without feeling too bulky. Plus, three internal pockets and reinforced handles make this pretty piece a worthy investment. While it’s definitely a splurge, it is a workhorse that will last me for years to come." — Stephanie Sisco, Home Editor
To buy: $435; mooreandgiles.com.
MISHKA Bags Leather Tote Bag
"Since each bag is custom-made, you can select every detail—from the color of the lining, to the metal hardware, to the length of the straps—to create your dream work tote. Plus, the leather is so luxurious, yet durable enough to handle my daily subway commute" — Katie Holdefehr, Senior Home Editor
To buy: $220; etsy.com.
Most Durable Work Backpack: Samsonite UBX Commuter Backpack
"I love this backpack because it’s filled with zippered pockets and compartments which help keep me organized. It’s especially great for those days when I need to transport a ton of things (laptop, change of shoes, etc.) and a work tote just won’t suffice. The straps and handle are well-padded, and I love how durable the fabric is." — Brandi Broxson, Senior Editor
To buy: $65; amazon.com.
FEED Harriet Tote
"This bag holds each and every one of my notebooks, and matches absolutely everything. If brown isn't your thing, this chic tote also comes in classic black. Plus, each purchase from FEED provides 100 meals to children in need." — Anneke Knot, Assistant Beauty Editor
To buy: $198; feedprojects.com.