Your work bag is a quintessential accessory that can allow you to express your personal style even in a more conservative office. But what makes the perfect office bag? Is it about finding a professional work bag with conservative design, or is it about finding a functional bag that’ll hold everything you need? The ideal designer work bags will fit your individual style and personal needs, without making waves in your workplace.
We’ve selected a variety of designer work bags in different shapes, designs, and sizes, to suit every category of professional. Then we’ll help you figure out the steps to finding the ideal business bag for you, by covering everything from size and utility to the ever-important aesthetic.
Designer Work Bags for Women: Contents
From all-time classics to modern creations, these are the best designer work bags for the professional woman on the go!
1. Twin Frame Cream Tote
While still thoroughly professional, this is one of those business bags that are also a little quirky. It’ll add a playful touch to your look since it has an outer pocket compartment that looks like a separate coin purse and can be removed and carried as a clutch. Both the main bag and clutch are made of creamy leather with red lining and have vintage-inspired kiss clasp closures. This Ratio et Motus work bag is on the smaller side of medium. Buy it from Net-a-Porter!
2. Vintage Honey Tote
This elegant tote bag has a vintage silhouette with some modern elements. It’s medium-sized with a split interior that will help you keep your essentials organized. The honey taupe shade of the leather is perfect for daytime and will pair especially well with a light or earth-toned wardrobe. It is made by Burberry, so you know it is of the highest quality. This designer work bag comes with a removable strap should you need to carry it hands-free. Get it at Nordstrom!
3. Quilted Calfskin Handbag
This small designer work bag will only carry the bare essentials, so forget about it if you lug your tablet or full makeup bag from home to the office. However, this irresistibly elegant Chanel bag might convince you to lighten your day-to-day load. It is a chain-strap flap bag made of quilted calfskin, and it’s embellished with the iconic CC hardware at the closure. It is the kind of office bag that is a real life-long investment with amazing resell value. Purchase it directly from Chanel!
4. Medium Blush Bag
This is one of the best work bags for women with a style that’s just a little bohemian. Thanks to the slouchy silhouette and leather-tie-embellished hardware, this Valentino bag manages to straddle professional and hippie, all in a feminine blush shade. This office bag is medium-sized with three compartments and has a thicker handle that can also go over the shoulder. The subtle fold-over design is truly one-of-a-kind. It is available at My Theresa.
5. Small Cream Chain Bag
This iteration of the Gucci Dionysus is another one of those designer work bags that have a real flare. This one is particularly blinged out, with a large tiger head circle closure studded with crystals. The ostentatious hardware is matched with a shiny silver chain handle that can be adjusted for multiple carrying styles. Without these, the bag would be demure, made as it is of creamy leather in a small, streamlined silhouette. Order it online from Farfetch!
6. Vintage Amaretto Tote
This timeless office bag will interject a bit of glamour into your day. It’s a Saint Laurent bag, so we’re already off to a good start. It is made out of burgundy-amaretto leather that is as striking as a red but more mature, with subtle vintage gold hardware. It’s medium-sized and ideal for someone on the go since it has a removable shoulder strap as well as little feet on the bottom to protect it should you have to put it down on the floor. Find it through Net-a-Porter!
7. Powder Box Mini Handbag
This Victoria Beckham tiny bag won’t hold much, but you can’t go wrong with it as one of your designer work bags, since Meghan Markle had been spotted carrying a black version of it. It’s inspired by vintage ladies’ vanity boxes, and it won’t hold much more than your phone and some cards and cash. It can be a great supplementary bag to bring to the office, as you can leave your bigger bag behind and take just this one with you when you step out for lunch. It is crafted of smooth, deep brown leather, with a golden closure. Pick it up from Moda Operandi!
8. Asymmetrical Saddle Bag
The asymmetrical design of this Dior bag will certainly keep your look fresh and unique. This is actually an iconic Dior silhouette, so it is totally appropriate as a business bag. The heritage saddle bag is definitely on the smaller side, but it should hold all of your necessities for a full day at the office. It is made of soft black leather to keep things elegant. Grab it from Shopbop!
9. Large Tan Tote
If you’re all about minimalistic designs, then you should definitely look to Mansur Gavriel for your designer work bags. This large tote, in particular, has a simple design that is perfect for a professional setting. It is large enough to hold anything you could possibly need, including your change of clothes for the gym and your laptop. It has a stiff top handle as well as a removable crossbody strap. You can buy it from Forward!
10. Square Cinnamon Bag
Another brand that crafts minimalist and architectural work bags to perfection is Marni. The label usually gives unique color combinations, but this is a subdued choice in cinnamon brown that will fly under the radar even in the most austere environments. Because the bag is unlined it has a slightly raw feel. You can wear it over your arm for a delicate look, or over the shoulder when you want to look a bit more severe. It is sold through Net-a-Porter!
11. Oversized Black Tote
Oversized tote bags are not readily office-appropriate, but this Acne Studios black tote manages to be a very fitting designer work bag. It is quite large so it might even double as an overnight bag if necessary. Its elegance comes from the supple black leather it is made of, but it’s not boring or plain thanks to the obi-inspired sash embellishment at the side. It has a snap closure to keep your essentials secured. Purchase it from Nordstrom!
12. Patterned Small Shoulder Bag
This is a funkier take on designer work bags that might not fly in more corporate spaces but are perfect for trendy work environments. This little chain shoulder bag is made of two parts, with a back and top flap panel covered in the Fendi FF pattern. The lower base is a blush pink that adds a girlish touch. Gold metal hardware and chain keep it feeling glamorous. Get it from Farfetch!
13. Buckled Brown Tote
This is one of those work bags that have a subtle twist without being over the top. It’s a smaller tote, so it doesn’t take up too much space or draw a ton of attention, but its buckle embellishment gives it a uniqueness that will help you feel special. The silhouette is very structured and modern, so it’ll be a great complement to a professional outfit. This Boyy bag is available at Moda Operandi.
14. Small Cord-Handle Tote
This is another playful take on business bags that will fly under the radar even in a conservative office. This itty-bitty brown Medea tote has a design slightly reminiscent of a shopping bag, so it’ll make you feel pretty darn chic. It comes with a crossbody strap for those busy days, but it’s small enough that you can easily carry it by the cord top handles. Order it from Net-a-Porter!
15. Grained Leather Angle Bag
The angled shape of this Bottega Veneta office bag makes it like no other bag anyone else in your office would carry. It lends this brown grained leather bag a chic “doctor’s bag” aesthetic that would pair well with more masculine and vintage-inspired outfits. It is large enough to carry quite a bit and will hold over well from day to night. Find it through Matches Fashion!
16. Cream and Brown Bag
This ultra-cool office bag has a slightly off-kilter effect thanks to a single belt-like handle that is attached at opposite corners of the bag. It gives this work bag a modern vibe that will work well with a minimalist or avant-garde aesthetic. This Danse Lente bag is on the smaller side, but not ridiculously so, with an accordion bottom that makes things a bit roomier. The combination of white leather with brown details is especially fetching for summer. Pick it up from Forward!
17. Forest Green Shoulder Bag
This Salvatore Ferragamo compact little bag holds a surprising amount of stuff. It is made in a rich forest green tone that will be particularly fetching with a winter wardrobe, in a classy rectangular design. It has a fold-over top and gold hardware for closure, with accordion details on the side that make the interior roomier. You can grab it from Farfetch.
18. Cream Bag with Lock
This super sophisticated designer work bag fits perfectly into the “stick of butter” aesthetic that has become so trendy in the last couple of years. It is made of calfskin leather with some deer skin accents, which make for an interesting texture. Golden lock hardware emblazoned with the Chloé logo ensures that everyone will know how high-quality this bag is. Buy it from Net-a-Porter!
19. Patent Leather Box Bag
This patent leather work bag is as sleek as they come. It is made of beige calfskin, which is versatile enough to work with any look. The little square design is cute without being too youthful, and the small size means you won’t be weighed down by a bunch of unnecessary items. This Little Liffner bag is sold at Moda Operandi.
20. Red Matelassé Bag
You’ll feel fancy with this beautiful red bag from Miu Miu. It is definitely a great choice for a more relaxed office because its ultra-feminine design might not work in a corporate setting. It is made of red leather woven in a matelassé style, which adds luxurious texture and has a crystal top clasp that adds a vintage feel. Purchase this small work bag at Farfetch!
21. Gold-Embellished Beige Purse
This little purse feels ‘80s-inspired, with a beige leather design that is made of soft and supple leather. What is truly unique about it is how it combines a more rigid back panel with a slightly slouchy base, which leads to an attractive silhouette. Gold accents and a semi-hidden piece of Givenchy hardware seal the special status this designer work bag deserves. Get it through Net-a-Porter!
22. Elongated Suede Fold-Over Bag
This Mark Cross acorn brown suede bag has a lovely earthy vibe that will work with many different aesthetics. It is a slightly elongated design that stands out against all of the uniform rectangular work bags we’re used to. It has two interior compartments and one external pocket to help keep your life organized. It is available at Forward.
23. Burgundy Mini Satchel
This tiny Balenciaga purse is pretty high-impact. It is made in a rich burgundy tone that is hard to resist, especially if you favor a darker wardrobe. The small, structural design is perfectly office-appropriate but sleek enough to also carry you over to happy hour drinks. Don’t expect it to hold more than your phone and designer wallet, but what else do you really need? Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
24. Cerise Rounded Purse
This romantic office bag is an iteration of the iconic Prada Sidonie. It has a seductively rounded silhouette that fits well with both classic and slightly edgier styles. It is on the smaller side, but should still hold the bare necessities for a full day at work. The chain strap is super versatile, so you can adjust it and carry the purse in whichever way is most comfortable. Find it at My Theresa!
25. Color-Blocked Rectangular Satchel
Let’s finish with a favorite. This Coach bag is an excellent office bag, as it’s large enough to hold your essentials and then some, and it has a truly unique design that is professional enough for any environment. The color-blocked design makes the bag versatile enough to work with any wardrobe, while gold and snakeskin accents add just a touch of ostentatious glamour. Pick it up from Coach!
As a rule, it is also best to choose the smallest bag size that will still carry everything you need from day-to-day. If you leave your computer at the office and only require minimal makeup touch-ups, then a small bag should probably suffice, especially in the summertime when there is no need for extenuating items like umbrellas.
However, the longer your day gets and the more time you spend at the office, the larger a bag you may find yourself requiring. A medium-sized work bag, for example, will also fit a book or a table and a small makeup bag, while a larger tote can carry your lunch, files, laptop or a change of clothes for a midday gym visit.
If your needs change from day to day it is best to have a few office bags in different sizes, so you can avoid weighing yourself down on days when you really don’t need much.
Structure and Compartments of Your Work Bag
It’s not just size that matters, it’s also organization. Before springing for one of those expensive designer work bags, make sure that the bag is designed in a way that will suit your needs, and not just size-wise. Consider what kind of items you carry with you, and how you would like them arranged.
• Do you need a side pocket or vertical compartment that will make your daily planner easily accessible?
• Do you need a lot of zippered compartments to hold loose makeup and a massive set of keys?
• Do you need a slouchy bag that will conform to the shape of the different items you find yourself carrying form week to week, or do you need something sturdier and more solid to keep your tablet safe?
These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself as you try and find the best business bags for you and your individual needs. If you happen to fall in love with a single-compartment tote, consider picking up a purse organizer, which will make up for the simplicity of the bag design.
Office Bag Straps
Even in the most relaxed office environment you will still find yourself struggling should you choose a bag that only has handles, and no shoulder or crossbody straps. You can definitely have a tiny tote that is strictly a handbag for short excursions at lunch time, but when it comes to medium and large-sized work bags, a strap is important.
Some smaller bags come with adjustable straps that can be carried in a variety of ways, and they also tend to look really chic. On larger office bags, however, make sure to choose a bag with a detachable strap. You can carry it crossbody as you make your way through town, and then remove the strap once you get to the office to appear more professional.
Budgeting for Your Business Bag
If you’re the kind of person who likes to change up their bag from season to season, then you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on the perfect bag. However, you can safely assume that designer work bags will be made of high-quality materials and that they will last you for many seasons in a row.
An investment office bag will turn heads and will last you for a very long time, so do take that into account when budgeting for your new work bag.
Finding the Right Business Bags for Your Aesthetic
There is not as much room for creativity with a work bag as there is with a casual or evening bag, but you still have more room for creativity with office bags than you do with other parts of your professional wardrobe! While your bag, first and foremost, has to fulfill a function, it also needs to be appropriate for your work environment.
In most offices, a print-covered backpack or a neon-colored mini bag is not going to fly, but you can definitely get creative with shapes and embellishments.
• If you find yourself naturally gravitating towards classic styles, then there is no reason to challenge that. Most traditional purses and satchels will work beautifully as office bags, with reversible totes feeling particularly modern.
• According to Bobby Schuessler at Woman’s Day, autumn is the best season for shopping for designer work bags. Autumn/ winter collections tend to be made in more office-appropriate colors, and the designs are generally more sober and utilitarian.
• If your style leans a little towards brighter, opt for work bags in light pastels or cream tones. Avoid brights or neons, as they tend to appear too loud and aggressive in an office, not to mention that they are harder to pair with office-wear.
• In general, always keep your wardrobe color palette in mind. If you do wear a lot of color, aim for a neutral bag that will go with all of the colors you wear. If you stick to neutrals in your office look, then you can actually rely on your bag for a pop of color.
• Deeper shades like burgundy and forest green are a sophisticated way of adding color to your look, especially if your work wardrobe primarily consists of dark tones.
• If your typical style leans a little more towards bohemian, look for a work bag that has some raw finishes or an organic feel. A bag in earth tones or made of suede will definitely be easier to pair with your aesthetic.
• If you have a dark punk or goth flare in your heart, chances are you find it dispiriting to tone it down for the office. Choose a darker work bag with some edgy elements to show off some of your style in manner that fits the office. Vintage design elements do a particularly great job of exuding gothy vibes without crossing any lines.
• As Rika Nurrohmah at Bustle reminds us, it is generally better to avoid office bags covered in a large brand logo, especially if logomania isn’t part of your usual style, as it is too garish for an office environment.
• If you work in a more creative environment, then you can definitely allow your bag to reflect that. Choose a minimalist bag that has a more architectural silhouette, and you will surely get compliments.
Photos via @notyourstandard, @_hollyt, @fashionjackson, @brittanyxavier, @bartabacmode