The 12 Best Work Bags That Are Stylish And Functional

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Most of us like to look our best when we leave the house, whether we're headed to the gym or grabbing brunch with friends. And looking sharp at work is an even bigger prerogative. From nailing a job interview to working toward a big promotion, how you present yourself is a key piece of the puzzle.


Of course, when it comes to style, today's workplace is a lot more forgiving and fashion-friendly. As long as you're thoughtful about it, you can even get away with wearing sneakers to work. But one often overlooked element of a polished work outfit is the power of a good work bag. A chic and practical work bag is your best friend during a commute, whether you're taking the subway, driving in from the suburbs, or heading into the office on foot. Not only can the right bag help you stay organized and ready for the day ahead, but it can put the final touch on your business ensemble, ensuring that you radiate an aura of strong, competent professionalism.

That may seem like a lot to put on a bag, but there are plenty of worthy contenders out there. You just need to know where to look. To help you find a perfect office sidekick of your own, we've compiled a list of the best work bags for both style and functionality.


How we selected products

From sunglasses to earrings, the selection of many accessories depends more on personal style and preference than anything else. But when it comes to work bags, which need to be both attractive and functional, we felt it necessary to evaluate the contenders on much stricter criteria. Scanning the market for buzzworthy satchels and briefcases, we created a rubric of the must-have qualities that most modern workers would be looking for.


First of all, we considered each bag's durability. Schlepping your belongings to and from work can put a lot of strain on any tote or backpack, so it needs to be up to the challenge. In the same vein, we examined the candidates for storage and practicality. Were they large enough to fit not only your laptop, but a water bottle? An umbrella? An extra set of shoes? What's more, did they feature durable straps or handles that could comfortably be thrown over your shoulder?

Finally, we looked for bags that offered versatile style. The ideal work bag will pair well with all your professional outfits, so you don't have to switch bags from day to day. Better yet, a good work bag will be chic enough to transition straight from the office to errands, coffee shops, or happy hour drinks.


To find a shortlist of bags that met all these demands, we analyzed product pages, checked ratings, sifted through customer reviews, and considered recommendations from other experts. The result is this comprehensive list of the best work bags for every professional need, aesthetic, and price point.

Best overall: Dagne Dover Legend Signature Tote

When combing through the ranks of celebrated work bags, one brand name came up time and time again: Dagne Dover. Their range of totes, backpacks, and even diaper bags are wildly popular for their solid construction, handy compartments, and sleek finish. But for work purposes, our favorite is the Legend Signature Tote. Larger than the Classic Tote and more affordable than the Allyn Tote, this happy medium strikes all the right notes for a stylish and reliable work bag. The coated canvas material is sturdy and easy to keep clean, the padded laptop compartment is poised to protect devices up to 15 inches in size, and a top zip protects all those interior pockets from any inclement weather on your commute.


Purchase the Legend Signature Tote at Dagne Dover for $209.

Best budget work bag: Lovevook Laptop Tote Bag

For an inexpensive work bag that still makes a sharp impression, we love the silhouette of this tote from Lovevook. The square shape is neat and professional, and the overlap effect on the external pocket adds a bit of elegant interest. Plus, this bag comes in an impressive range of 27 colors and finishes, making it a cinch to suit this bag to any worker's personal style. Happy customers seem to agree that this bag is a winner, with over 3,300 reviews earning it a 4.3-star rating on Amazon. As reviewer Ashley writes, "The attention to detail in the craftsmanship is truly remarkable. The stitching is precise, the zippers glide effortlessly, and the overall build feels incredibly durable. It's evident that this bag is designed to last."


Purchase the Lovevook Laptop Tote Bag at Amazon for $35.99.

Best high-end work bag: Marc Jacobs Leather Large Tote Bag

These days, totes are ubiquitous. From casual canvas bags to basic leather styles, totes are everywhere — and very few are unique. But this offering from Marc Jacobs brings a look and feel that's all its own. The Large Tote Bag has a distinct shape and sassy branding, creating instant impact. And, functionally speaking, we love how its square, sturdy structure makes this tote easy to fill with laptops, notebooks, and other necessities without everything jumbling together in the middle. We also appreciate the addition of a compartment for small items and a top zip to keep everything secure. The icing on the cake? This tote is available in 10 striking color options, from dark and mysterious cherry to a delicate and understated rose.


Purchase the Leather Large Tote Bag at Marc Jacobs for $595.

Best crossbody work bag: Waterfield Executive Leather Messenger

Designed to get better with age, this unisex messenger bag is the height of enduring sophistication. The leather finish comes in three beautiful shades that develop a shiny patina with use, which Waterfield proudly shows off in compelling before and after shots. The inside is also thoughtfully designed, with the bag's slim profile hiding a satisfying array of pockets and compartments. With an eye toward practicality, the product page even lists out specific device models that work with each bag size, so you can be sure you're getting the right size to fit your laptop and other work necessities. A++ for this attention to detail.


Purchase the Executive Leather Messenger at Waterfield for $399.

Best tote work bag: Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

For an easy, breezy, and versatile work bag, this nylon tote from Longchamp fits the bill. Flexible and waterproof with long shoulder straps, the Le Pliage Tote is designed for everyday use. And nearly 2,000 Nordstrom shoppers approve, giving it a 4.7-star rating in praise of the bag's size, style, and light weight. User CRGC writes, "Great purchase. ... It's big enough that I can carry a few pairs of sunglasses, lunch, a notebook, and makeup. I really like that there's so much room! Also, the style goes with everything in my wardrobe. I particularly like that it is two-toned, so it goes with brown-based and black-based outfits." The only downside? Some users have found that the bottom corners wear out with heavy use. But take good care of this all-purpose tote, and it will also take care of you.


Purchase the Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote at Nordstrom for $155.

Best backpack work bag: Bromen Leather Laptop Backpack

When you're seeking a backpack that reads professional rather than student, the key is to prioritize premium materials. That's why we love a leather-look backpack, such as this streamlined style from Bromen. The minimalist design maintains a tidy, adult sensibility while the varied color options still let you express your point of view. And, inside, a bevy of pockets and compartments stand ready to cradle all your workday needs, from laptop to water bottle. It's no wonder that this backpack boasts 4.5 stars from nearly 1,000 ratings on Amazon. Reviewer Alexandra Zuniga writes, "This is a terrific example of a well-made vegan leather product. The material is beautifully put together. ... I love the craftsmanship; it looks good and feels good. Worth the money!"


Purchase the Bromen Vegan Leather Laptop Backpack on Amazon for $79.99.

Best briefcase work bag: Bostanten Machk Women Briefcase Bag

Totes and backpacks tend to dominate the current landscape of work bags, but a classic briefcase silhouette never goes out of style. Far from boxy, this offering from Bostanten softens the look with rounded corners and gorgeous contrast trim details. More importantly, its construction is impeccable. The bottom is reinforced and equipped with metal bag feet to protect the structure from wear and tear, the main compartment zips neatly closed, and a removable strap gives you the option to carry this briefcase over the shoulder or as a crossbody. It's also bursting with handy pockets and compartments, creating so much potential for organization. Long story short, if you'd given up on the idea of a stylish, modern briefcase, the Machk bag may be reason enough to think again.


Purchase the Machk Women Briefcase Bag at Bostanten for $148.99.

Best convertible work bag: Samsonite Women's Executive Leather Convertible Brief

Leave it to a renowned luggage brand to create a truly versatile convertible bag. Available in classic black or warm cognac, this option from Samsonite can easily function as a satchel, backpack, or travel bag. A thin external pocket on the back of the bag lets you keep important items like a tablet or passport safe but accessible, while the combo of a fold-over flap and top zip provides doubled protection without complexity. And this work bag transitions seamlessly for all those business trips, with a horizontal strap to loop it securely onto the handle of your rolling carry-on. Users do note that it works better for smaller laptops like 13-inch models, though, as the bag's rounded corners slightly limit its capacity.


Purchase the Women's Executive Leather Convertible Brief at Samsonite for $199.

Best pocket-packed work bag: Bellroy Tokyo Tote 2nd Edition

Sleek and straight to the point, the Bellroy Tokyo Tote — now in its second iteration — keeps its style simple to focus on function. In addition to a padded device sleeve for laptops or tablets, the roomy interior is lined with six other spacious pockets. And rather than the tiny compartments you find in some bags, these are big enough to fit significant items, from charging cables and water bottles to umbrellas or even shoes. But thanks to the tote's cleverly narrow design, it doesn't come across as bulky or oversized. Miracle of miracles, it even features grips on the handles to keep the bag from slipping off your shoulder in transit. As reviewer LD writes, "Comparing it to totes/backpacks I have from a luxury luggage brand, the Bellroy Tokyo Tote is much more functional. ... I would 100% buy again." Get your own Tokyo Tote in one of four colors, from "Ranger Green" to "Melbourne Black."


Purchase the Bellroy Tokyo Tote 2nd Edition on Amazon for $129.

Best customizable work bag: Cuyana System Tote

With their practical, modular approach to personalization, Cuyana's range of work bags can be customized and re-customized to fit your every need. Each tote is equipped with interior snaps ready to be fitted with your favorite Cuyana accessories, whether you want to add a laptop sleeve, a zippered compartment, or a flap pocket. Cuyana even offers full-bag inserts for extra organization at the bottom of your tote. The Cuyana System Tote comes in various sizes, but for work, we recommend the spacious 16-inch model. It'll easily accommodate your laptop or tablet, along with all the usual handbag must-haves to keep you feeling and looking your best throughout the day. Just bear in mind that all inserts and accessories must be purchased separately.


Purchase the 16-inch System Tote at Cuyana for $348.

Best colored work bag: Tory Burch Perry Triple-Compartment Tote Bag

Neutrals like black, white, gray, brown, and khaki are your best bet for versatility. But sometimes you may be searching for a work bag with a little more oomph. For instance, this work bag from Tory Burch immediately caught our eye with its rich red hue. Pairing bold color with a simple, timeless design, this bag expertly balances character and professionalism. We also like that it includes a zipped compartment and a few interior pockets to keep your belongings from falling into total chaos. And if red isn't your speed, this attractive tote is also available in shades of black, brown, or ivory. Our only gripe would be that there's no way to close or cover the top. Otherwise, this is a solid piece for both work and play.


Purchase the Tory Burch Perry Triple-Compartment Tote Bag at Bloomingdale's for $398.

Best statement work bag: Kate Spade Manhattan Lady Leopard Embroidered Large Tote

Want to make an even bigger statement? Make a splash at the office with this eye-catching chenille tote from Kate Spade. The whimsical leopard design oozes personality while the generous size and sturdy construction keep this bag practical for work. True, there's no top zip and the interior pockets are on the small side. But on the upside, the bag has a reinforced base complete with metal bag feet. As statement pieces go, there's a lot to work with. In a pinch, just add your favorite bag organizer to make this tote even more functional.


Purchase the Manhattan Lady Leopard Embroidered Large Tote at Kate Spade for $498.