9 irreplaceable women’s work bags we reviewed in 2024


While work-from-home days are simply the best (after all, nothing beats a standing desk and loungewear combo), heading into the office makes us want to put on our comfiest heels and — of course — a well-made work tote to match.

As someone who heads into NYC from NJ on the regular, I’m someone in particular who surely needs a commuter option that’s both stylish and functional. From stashing my current book, work laptop, umbrella, meal prep container and other essentials, weight seems to add up (and, the shoulders need to *not* feel like they’re coming off my body).

So, I put nine work bags to the test in 2024 to see how they fared throughout my 9-to-5 schedule. I’ve been placing my bags on a stringent rotation for three years now, and it’s the ideal time to share all my thoughts, collectively.

RELATED: Best women’s backpacks

Not to mention, a stylish shoulder bag will not only make you feel like a boss, but it’ll present newfound motivation for getting back into the groove of 6 a.m. wake-up calls.

Your old work tote is probably sitting in the back of your closet, perhaps with a few old gum wrappers and receipts from restaurants you used to frequent with your co-workers. Now, it’s time for a refresh.

We hand-selected the 25 best tote bags for every budget and style that are just as versatile for after-work drinks as they are for holding your favorite nude heels to change into at your desk, post-subway trip (we know the drill).

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How we tested

While trekking into the office or to local work meetings a stone throw’s away from my home, it was neat to see how different work bags can be — though not seemingly so. Ahead, find the testing criteria for each bag I reviewed for as much as three years:

  • Durability: Of course, a quality work bag means it’s built to last. From swiping my hands along the exterior to examining the interior, I took notes for each carry-all I toted around.
  • Organization: A good work bag, regardless of price or size, will have compartments — both exterior and interior at times. I made sure to be on the lookout for this trait in particular.
  • Heaviness: If I didn’t have room for my arms to move, it wasn’t making the cut. You’ll want to look for an option that won’t strain your shoulders, either.
  • Size and overall look: Largely due to preference, the size of your work bag matters. In an ideal situation, you’ll want it to fit a laptop and other essentials without compromising weight or comfortability.

best work bag tested

Lux & Nyx Large Ultra Satin Origami 15″ Laptop Tote


Lux & Nyx Large Ultra Satin Origami 15" Laptop Tote
Amazon

Pros:

  • Open exterior pocket to stash an umbrella and other belongings
  • Soft, flexible design with a laptop slop
  • Comfortable shoulder straps

I’ve been using the Lux & Nyx Large Ultra Satin Origami 15″ Laptop Tote for three years now, and it’s the work bag I swear by. Not only do I recommend it to everyone IRL, but it’s the most user-friendly and perfect for everyday.

Firstly, I love its various compartments that were designed to be effective and not overwhelming. For example, the exterior pocket always holds my umbrella, while the horizontal interior pocket stores my wallet, beauty products and smaller items.

I love how the center pocket is spacious enough to hold my tablet and a book, too. Because it boasts a soft flexible design, it weathers well and works well for holding lots of items or none at all; for that reason, it’s the most versatile and also extremely well-made.

Best Work Totes

Dagne Dover Signature Tote


Dagne Dover Signature Tote
Dagne Dover

Pros:

  • Perfectly structured tote design
  • Zippered top to ensure belongings are safe
  • Sturdy handles

Cons:

  • Not as flexible to store plenty of items as some other bags tested

For that picture-perfect tote look and feel, there’s none other than the Dagne Dover Signature Tote. The brand makes all of its travel items beautifully (seriously, you need to see for yourselves) and it upholds a zip-top design to keep all of your items safe and well-stored.

The star of the show, in my opinion, is its sturdy handles. It’s a smidge larger than some other work bags but one I still use on the regular nonetheless. However, some may not love how structured the bag is (because some items may not be able to be squeezed inside) but it’s not a personal dealbreaker for me.

What’s more, the brand has a matching Slim Wallet ($80) to complete your heading-to-office look.


Kate Spade New York Knott Colorblocked Large Tote


Kate Spade New York Knott Colorblocked Large Tote
Kate Spade New York

Pros:

  • Beautiful tri-toned colors to match with a variety of outfits
  • Quality materials

Cons:

  • No front-top zipper closure
  • Not as many storage compartments as other bags tested

For a work bag that’s versatile to bring with you to the mall or on a weekend trip, the Kate Spade New York Knott Colorblocked Large Tote is one I endorse (and adore, obviously). What makes it truly shine is its trifecta of lovely colors — saddle brown, ivory and black — to match any of my workwear styles. #Score.

While it doesn’t feature a full zipper closure, this tote features an open top and a dog-clip closure to somewhat tie your bag to a close. For full transparency, I recommend this bag more if you work locally; I’m a bit skeptical to use a bag without a full-zipper closure for my one-hour transit commute to NYC. However, the full design is one I love.


Best Work Backpack

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack


Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack
Dagne Dover

Pros:

  • Soft, flexible materials to store plenty of items
  • Interior laptop spot and plenty of storage

As far as travel backpacks for work go, nobody does it better than Dagne Dover. Specifically, the brand’s Dakota Neoprene Backpack is the most comfortable on my back and looks great, too.

Notably, this backpack is offered in a few different sizes and filled with myriad compartments — from exterior zippers and dual water bottle slots to an interior laptop sleeve and built-in mesh pocket. For the amount of items I commute with to work, this backpack is worth every penny.


Best Work Bag for Travel

Rebecca Minkoff Weekender Tote with Travel Sleeve


Rebecca Minkoff Weekender Tote with Travel Sleeve
Rebecca Minkoff

Pros:

  • Beautiful, chic design with gold hardware
  • Most spacious work bag tested that doubles as a duffle bag or weekender

Cons:

  • Too large for everyday use

I don’t think I’ve come across a more stunning work bag than the Rebecca Minkoff Weekender Tote with Travel Sleeve. With a glossy embossed leather exterior, coupled with gold hardware, it’s one I *always* receive compliments on. Plus, it’s quite sturdy — which I didn’t initially expect from a designer-fledging tote that’s this chic.

This is the most spacious work bag I’ve tested and, while I don’t use it for everyday use, it’s especially advantageous for days where I’m bringing lots of items with me, like multiple meal prep containers and items for social media shoots. It’s a versatile bag to own and especially great for traveling to a friend’s house, bookshop or weekend destination after the workday.


Best Work Bag for Organization

BÉIS The Work Tote


BÉIS The Work Tote
Revolve

Pros:

  • Stunning colors and compact size with space-saving compartments
  • Interior pouch for extra storage, along with a laptop pouch

Cons:

  • Doesn’t stand upright if too many items are stored in the exterior pocket

At first, I didn’t have too high of hopes for the BÉIS The Work Tote. Of course, I’m a big fan of Shay Mitchell (the celeb behind the brand) and love my duffle from the brand but it does appear quite small. However, it’s one of the most lightweight options I’ve been using and I’m obsessed with all of its storage possibilities.

First off, how chic is this croc exterior? It’s scratch-resistant as opposed to the solid-toned hue (but don’t worry — if this isn’t your style, others are available). It features a full zip-top closure and a huge interior pocket to store your precious items. It also features an interior laptop slot that’s very much out of the way — one of the sleekest designs yet.

Uniquely, it features a detachable shoulder carrying strap which candidly, I don’t use as much (but probably should on heavier carry-all days). All in all, it’s a pretty spectacular work bag offered at a terrific value.


Best Designer Work Bag

Tory Burch Robinson Leather Tote Bag


Tory Burch Robinson Leather Tote Bag
Saks Fifth Avenue

Pros:

  • Sleek, chic design
  • Ample storage, given its purse-like aesthetic

Cons:

  • Price point may be unreachable for some
  • Could have more elongated straps for greater carrying ease

I received the Tory Burch Robinson Leather Tote Bag as a graduation gift years ago and it still holds up well. It’s the epitome of “cute work bag” — but one that doesn’t compromise comfortability or material.

Specifically, this style is available in other neutral colors but I simply can’t avoid the all-black pebbled look. The straps could be a bit more easier on the shoulders but it’s not straining on my arms. I love the interior cotton interior (aka, the soft landing for all of my belongings).

Not only is it effective and practical but it hails from one of the most sought-after designers in the fashion space. It’s also readily available, proof in the pudding that shoppers (like myself) keep coming back for more.


Best Leather Work Bags

Monos Metro Tote


Monos Metro Tote
Monos

Pros:

  • Most well-made work bag tested
  • Stunning leather design with zip-top closure
  • Spacious interior with unique compartments

Among all work bags tested, the Monos Metro Tote is the hidden gem I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with so easily. It’s the best leather work bag if you’re in the market for one, with a full zip-top closure and a more horizontal layout than most — allowing you to store more items (and, balance the weight a bit more).

If that’s not enough to impress you, its impressive features will. Made with water and scratch-resistant ultra-microfibre vegan leather, you won’t come across a better interior. I love its soft cotton twill fabric lining and how versatile and photogenic it is. Simply put, it’s worth your hard-earned coin.


Quince Italian Leather Triple Compartment Shopper Tote


Quince Italian Leather Triple Compartment Shopper Tote
Quince

Pros:

  • Lovely, off-beat yet stunning colors
  • Well-balanced size
  • Sturdy straps

Cons:

  • Doesn’t feature an all-around zip-top closure (though there is one at the center)

The Quince Italian Leather Triple Compartment Shopper Tote is another leather work bag I love, its only caveat being how it doesn’t feature a full zip-top closure. It does, in fact, have on at its center, leaving the left and right areas to be partially open.

Its color variety is one of the most glamorous I’ve seen and it’s a pretty proportionate size. With sturdy straps and a ready-to-go design, it’s one I love to resort to for not only work but weekend errands as well. Additionally, it features larger-than-usual straps to make it easy to carry — regardless of weight.


Other Work Bags We Recommend

EcoSusi Laptop Tote


EcoSusi brown work tote with tassel
Amazon

If you’re on the hunt for a perfect, affordable and briefcase-like work tote, look no further than EcoSusi’s. It’s roomy, too, and guarantees you’ll serve a fresh and cool look when walking into the office (clad with a tassel, of course).


Bromen Leather Tote


Bromen Leather Tote

Stay on-trend with the mauves this season by picking up Bromen’s Leather Tote. Also coming in a spread of colors (an even larger one, at that), it’s a cute option that’s still quite roomy.


Lulus Back to Business Tote


 Lulus Back to Business Tote, brown
Lulus

Lulus is going full-send on back-to-office pieces, especially with its Back to Business Tote. For less than $100, it’ll carry all your work essentials and won’t be too heavy on your shoulders. Plus, it’s chic and the long strap is perfect for your commute.


S-Zone Genuine Leather Tote Bag


S-Zone Genuine Leather Tote Bag

For $40, you’re going to want to pick up every color of this Genuine Leather Tote Bag. It just looks high-end and the tassel emblem is a nice touch.


Mosiso Leather Laptop Tote Bag


Mosiso Leather Laptop Tote Bag, deep teal
Amazon

Though Mosiso’s Leather Laptop Tote Bag comes in an array of out-of-the-box colors, we adore this deep teal tone (that goes with just about any outfit, BTW) for your work treks. Plus, it’s an Amazon best-seller that’s less than $50 (a double win!)


Longchamp Large Le Pliage Nylon Shoulder Tote


longchamp tote, navy
Nordstrom

This guide would incomplete without a mention of Longchamp’s decades-long classic: the Le Pliage Nylon Shoulder Tote. The nylon material makes it stain-resistant, too, so it’s a quality option for any bus rider, subway commuter or walker of many avenues.


Madewell The Medium Transport Tote


The Medium Transport Tote

Timeless and traditional is Madewell’s middle name, and we adore its Medium Transport Tote for that reason. Its vertical composition fits a laptop charger-side up nicely, along with other work carry-ons that you’ll reach for throughout your day.


CALPAK Haven Laptop Tote Bag


Calpak Haven Laptop Tote Bag

As a work tote that’s flying off the (Internet) shelves, Calpak’s Haven Laptop Tote Bag is a smooth delight to walk around with. Which, makes sense, since its style is derived from a reliable travel bag company.


Away The Everywhere Bag


Away The Everywhere Bag
Away

Yes, the popular Away Luggage has a work bag-turned-messenger bag that’s perfect for your next tropical island trip and 9-to-5 alike. With a roomy interior and a minimal design, it’s hard not to love.


Modern Picnic The Luncher


The Luncher

This cute lunch tote will make you consider how you want to be transporting your mixed salads and turkey wraps in no time. Plus, the quality is unbeatable.


Tory Burch Ella Tote


Tory Burch Ella Tote

One of my friends carried Tory Burch’s Ella Tote around in high school and it was so roomy, yet unstructured to fit a myriad of books, a laptop and probably a Barbie Dreamhouse if you could. For less than $200, it’s one of our top-recommended finds.


Tory Burch Perry Triple Compartment Leather Tote


Tory Burch Perry Triple Compartment Leather Tote

We love a good structured option that pairs well with any outfit. In other words, Tory Burch’s Perry Triple Compartment Leather Tote is one we have heart eyes for, and one we highly consider adding to your holiday wishlists this year.


Check out the New York Post Shopping section for more content.



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