Head Back to the Office (or Not) With These Work Bags and Totes

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After a year of working at home, work bags were forgotten in our day-to-day routines, along with commutes, office workwear, and heels. But as we think about returning to the office soon, remember that the best work bags and totes should always meet two criteria points: function and style. When searching for your own, ask yourself: Is it durable? Will it be sizable enough to fit all of your essentials—laptop, notebooks, planners, wallet, keys, and beauty staples? Is it lightweight and comfortable enough to wear over your shoulders, especially during a daily commute? I’ve learned the hard way of purchasing work bags that are too heavy to start with, making them cumbersome to lug around when filled up and left much less used. 

A few tried-and-true favorites over the years have included Proenza Schouler’s iconic whipstitch Hex bucket bag or Frame’s Les Second tote, and I currently have my eye on Khaite’s timeless Amelia envelope camel tote. You can’t go wrong with one of these classic styles or a canvas version by L.L.Bean or Paravel. For summertime, consider more playful styles, like Loewe’s raffia tote, perfect for carrying straight to happy hour on summer nights. One of the joys of getting dressed up, for me, has always included accessories, and the work bag is most pivotal. I’ve missed carrying these totes around, wearing an A-line knit dress and boots, ready to take on the day. 

Whether that time for you is now, in the future, or will take place outside the traditional “office” (at a coffee shop or elsewhere), below, shop the best work bags for women to carry all of your essentials, anywhere you’re headed.

The Investment Buy

If you prefer a one-and-done type of work bag, consider investing in a timeless style you’ll use for years to come.

Bottega Veneta Arco small intrecciato leather tote

$2,100

NET-A-PORTER

Saint Laurent Uptown medium canvas-and-leather tote bag

$2,450

MATCHESFASHION.COM

Gucci beige and navy vintage canvas Dahlia bag

$3,400

SSENSE

Prada leather tote

$2,850

PRADA

Dior book tote

$3,250

DIOR

Celine bucket 16 bag in textile and calfskin

$2,400

24S

The Standout Statement

For anyone who prefers a bag that is punchier than the typical tote, these designs by 3.1 Phillip Lim and Neous will surely get you stopped on the street and asked, “Where is that bag from?”

Hereu Cala small leather-trimmed canvas tote

$380

MODA OPERANDI

Neous Venus cut-out leather bucket bag

$730

MATCHESFASHION.COM

3.1 Phillip Lim Odita modern lattice shopper bag

$1,195

3.1 PHILLIP LIM

Demellier midi Los Angeles leather tote

$455

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

The Minimalist Classic

Calling all minimalists: These leather totes do not disappoint. Clean and simple, these are the best work bags for women that get the job done. Add your laptop, agenda, book, and then some—it will carry it all.

Wandler medium Ava leather tote

$870

NORDSTROM

Cuyana oversized double-loop bag

$395

CUYANA

Khaite Envelope Pleat medium leather tote

$1,800

NET-A-PORTER

Proenza Schouler large ruched tote

$995

PROENZA SCHOULER

Mulberry Bayswater leather tote

$850

NORDSTROM

Away the Latitude tote

$195

AWAY

The Traditional Canvas

Searching for a lightweight but durable work bag? Consider a canvas tote. It is a timeless staple for a reason, and L.L.Bean and Paravel currently offer monogrammed options for those wishing to personalize their bags.

Métier London Incognito large linen-and-leather tote bag

$1,680

MATCHESFASHION.COM

L.L.Bean zip-top Boat and Tote

$40

L.L.BEAN

Thom Browne medium tool RWB canvas tote

$650

NORDSTROM

A.P.C. Helene leather-trim canvas tote bag

$430

MATCHESFASHION.COM

Paravel Cabana tote

$165

PARAVEL

The Row extra-large Park linen-and-leather tote

$1,590

NORDSTROM

The Boxy Carryall

A structured and vertically-shaped tote is perfect for carrying laptops and notebooks.

Everlane the Italian leather studio bag

$198

EVERLANE

Cos leather tote bag

$350

COS

Staud tan Shirley tote

$295

SSENSE

Comme Des Garçons Wallet logo-stamped leather tote bag

$511

MATCHESFASHION.COM

The Colorful and Textured

If you’re looking for a bag outside the expected neutral color palette, these will bring a bit more flair to the work grind.

Frame Les Second medium tote

$450

NORDSTROM

Tory Burch Lee Radziwill double bag

$998

TORY BURCH

Mansur Gavriel Tulipano leather tote

$695

NORDSTROM

& Other Stories braided leather tote bag

$249

& OTHER STORIES

The Summer Raffia

As warmer weather nears and summer Fridays are close, a beachy style raffia tote will put you in the summer mood, even when you’re not at the beach.

Cesta Collective tan stripe tote

$550

VERISHOP

Chloé Woody large printed canvas and leather-trimmed raffia tote

$620

NET-A-PORTER

Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza small leather-trimmed woven raffia tote

$650

NET-A-PORTER

Altuzarra Watermill large raffia basket bag

$620

MYTHERESA

The Office to the Bodega

If you prefer less-structured work bags, consider these market totes that can double as your laptop carrier too.

Free People Gunes Collective medium eternity striped tote

$55

FREE PEOPLE

Bode small market tote

$78

BODE

Zara fabric tote bag

$32

ZARA

Pleats Please Issey Miyake Trek check-print tote

$480

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE