The best women’s work bags 2018: accommodate all your everyday essentials

Feel and look the part with a stylish and professional handbag

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It doesn’t matter if you already have 10 different handbags sitting at home; we know they each have a different purpose. Which is why you’ll also need a handbag that is suitable to take to work; one which can fit all your work essentials in, as well as make you look a million bucks. 

You’ll use your work bag every day, so it’s important to find one you really like, and one which will hold up when you inevitably fill it full of unnecessary items that you will probably never ever use (but like to have). 

Yes, choosing a pretty bag is important, as we all want to look good, but make sure you factor in the practical features that will make your bag fit for purpose. 

How do you commute to work and how long is the journey? This will impact on the style of bag you choose. A designer handbag might look good, but  there’s only so much they can hold, and if it’s got thin straps, it may not see you through the year. 

If you carry a laptop to work, then choosing a work bag with a dedicated laptop compartment will make sure your device is protected, and that it is sturdy enough to endure the weight. Just make sure you check the product details and double check the bag fits your laptop size before you fall in love with the design. 

There are some really professional-looking backpacks available that are perfect if you cycle or take the train to work. They’re big enough to fit small laptops and other essentials, and will distribute the weight so your arm doesn’t fall off before you reach the office. 

However, if you drive to work or are lucky enough to not have one hell of a commute, then you have a bit more freedom in terms of style. Tote bags are great for fitting a lot of stuff in, but make sure it has a decent amount of pockets so you can stay organised. You may also find you benefit from adjustable straps and a detachable shoulder strap for ease of movement. 

We’ve picked out some of the best women’s work bags on the market, to cater to all lifestyles. Take a look at our list of practical and stylish bags that are guaranteed to make you look and feel the part. 

1. Saint Laurent Sac de Jour baby grained leather tote

A luxury tote bag for all your daily work accessories

Specifications
Best for: Luxury handbag
Colour: Black
Size: H20xW26xD12cm
Material: Leather
Type: Tote
Reasons to buy
+2 strap adjustment+Removable pouch
Reasons to avoid
-Not big enough for a laptop 

Just landed that promotion? Then if you’re thinking of treating yourself, this luxury women’s work bag could be just the thing you need to really help you get into your new role. 

This Saint Laurent handbag is both sleek in looks and more versatile than it seems. Carrying a bag on your forearm can get tiring, but this tote bag has a detachable shoulder strap so you can wear it as a cross body bag on those days when your arm needs a rest. 

Inside there’s also a removable zip pouch which makes for a nice place to keep your valuable items so you don’t lose your keys in the abyss of the larger main compartment. Pricey, but you can expect excellent quality leather that will serve you well in your business wardrobe.  

2. Burberry Camberley medium grained leather shoulder bag

A smart and sophisticated handbag that makes a subtle alternative to black

Specifications
Best for: Stylish choice
Colour: Mahogany
Size: H26xW34xD15cm
Material: Leather
Type: Shoulder bag
Reasons to buy
+Checked detailing +Magnetic flap closure
Reasons to avoid
- Not everyone’s taste  

If you’re looking for something a little different to your standard black women’s work bags, then this Burberry shoulder bag makes for a stylish alternative. 

The deep mahogany colour combined with the woven checked detailing on the sides adds a touch of unique style to this handbag while still remaining profession, so if you like to play around with your work wardrobe and be a little adventurous, this bag might make the perfect statement piece to complete your look. 

The shoulder strap makes this more of a messenger bag, so even if you cycle to work, you can do so in designer gear!  

3. Aspinal of London The Dockery

A smaller handbag for just your essentials

Specifications
Best for: The essentials
Colour: Monochrome, taupe, cream, black
Size: H20.32xW30.48xD11.43cm
Material: Leather
Type: Tote
Reasons to buy
+Different colours available +Click close mechanism 
Reasons to avoid
-Small  

Carrying around such a large handbag can sometimes make you feel like Mary Poppins, so if you’re looking for something a little more compact, this women’s work bag by Aspinal of London is small but surprisingly spacious for using day-to-day. 

The bag has a click close function and is made from croc print Italian calf leather which we think vintage lovers will love. The bag remains functional with a shoulder strap which adds a contemporary twist to this handbag could make ideal for commuting in style every day.  

4. Knomo Beauchamp Backpack

The girly commuter bag with space for your tech

Specifications
Best for: Long commutes
Colour: Black
Size: H42xW29.5xD10cm
Material: Nylon
Type: Backpack
Reasons to buy
+Laptop compartment+RFID pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Can get heavy 

If a handbag isn’t really your style, then you can still keep both feminine and professional with this luxury backpack which would be handy for those who commute by train or bike. 

It has a laptop sleeve which can hold laptops or MacBooks up to 14 inch, and the pockets have RFID protection so you can have peace of mind your wallet is safe when on the go. 

The compartments are padded so you can expect your devices to be well protected, and the minimalist design won’t look out of place when you’ve got your business suit on.  

5. The Regent Tote

A large, spacious handbag for those who can’t travel light

Specifications
Best for: Space
Colour: Black, Bordeaux, Carrera, Tan
Size: H27.94xW40.64xD15.24cm
Material: Calf leather & Suede
Type: Tote
Reasons to buy
+Zipped pouch +Spacious 
Reasons to avoid
-No close mechanism 

The classic tote bag is often favoured by the working woman as it's large so you can fit lots of stuff in it. The Regent Tote is a simplistic design that does its job well. It as a linked zipper pouch which could be used as a purse, and its large main compartment looks big enough to fit a small laptop or tablet. 

The only downside is it doesn’t have any kind of close mechanism, so your belongings may feel a little exposed, but if you drive to work or only have a short walk, this could be the perfect bag for you to quickly chuck all your essentials in with ease.  

6. Coach Leather Shoulder Bag

A functional over the shoulder handbag to keep you organised

Specifications
Best for: Functionality
Colour: Black
Size: H28xW32xD12cm
Material: Leather
Type: Shoulder bag
Reasons to buy
+Lots of compartments+Soft and relaxed style
Reasons to avoid
-Too small for a laptop 

If you don’t like the idea of all your belongings swimming around in one large compartment, then you can get organised with the Coach Leather shoulder bag. It has 3 compartments which make it easy to separate your belongings, including a middle zipped compartment for items such as your phone, keys and purse. 

The design of this bag is a little more relaxed, with a “Slouchy” construction as Selfridges has called it, which means it could easily double up as a women’s work bag and a casual bag for evenings and weekends.  

7. Moshi Urbana Unisex Slim 15" Laptop Briefcase

Durable and stylish, this briefcase will keep your laptop safe from A to B

Specifications
Best for: Laptops
Colour: Beige
Size: H29xW42xD10cm
Material: Polyester & PU leather
Type: Briefcase
Reasons to buy
+Fits laptops up to 15”+Padded strap
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t fit much else in it 

This Moshi Urbana briefcase is a little different in designed compared to the other women’s work bags on our list, so if you like to stand out from the crowd; this could be the bag for you. 

It’s got a slim body and can accommodate laptops up to 15 inch as well as documents, books or other devices such as tablets. The shoulder strap is designed with comfort in mind, which is great for those with long commutes, and we think the beige design has a real hipster vibe to it, which may not be for everyone, but it’s a practical women’s work bag nonetheless.  

8. Kurt Geiger London saffiano leather tote

A modern, elegant bag that’s great value

Specifications
Best for: Great value
Colour: Beige, Black, Grey, Pink, Taupe
Size: H25.5xW32.5xD15cm
Material: Saffino Leather
Type: Tote
Reasons to buy
+Choice of colours +Practical design
Reasons to avoid
- Not as big as it looks 

If you love the look of the Saint Laurent handbag in our top spot but don’t have the cash to splash, then this Kurt Geiger handbag features a similar design which looks just as professional. 

It’s a large tote bag that has a cross body strap for when you want to go hands free, and unlike the Saint Laurent, it comes in a wide variety of colours which you can choose to match your personal style. 

It may look big, but if you’re looking to put your laptop in it we think it might be a bit of a squeeze. However, if you want a stylish women’s work bag for the New Year, you can really dress to impress with this one.  

9. Radley Spring Park Large Work Tote Bag

A more casual style for when you’re on the go

Specifications
Best for: Business trips
Colour: Black
Size: H29xW37xD13cm
Material: Synthetic
Type: Tote
Reasons to buy
+Water resistant fabric+Roomy 
Reasons to avoid
-More of a casual look 

When travelling for work you need a bag that is both durable yet still professional, and this Radley tote bag offers a casual style that we think is perfect for longer commutes and travel. 

The soft fabric means it’s comfortable to carry and the material is water resistant for when you’re on the go. It’s quite large, so you can expect to be able to fit all your belongings in it, and it has a pocket that is suitable for laptops and tablets. 

Unlike some of the other women’s work bags, this one zips up completely so you can have peace of mind your belongings are secure. If you often go away on business trips, this bag could be useful for packing everything you need.  

Read more: Heading away for the weekend? Our colleagues at TheRadar.com have rounded up their picks of the best women's weekend bags out there –
happy shopping.