The 12 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023


HomeHome / News / The 12 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023

Jan 15, 2024

The 12 Best Work Bags for Women of 2023

Head to the office with one of these functional yet fashionable bags. Jump to a Section We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may

Head to the office with one of these functional yet fashionable bags.

Jump to a Section

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Real Simple

Regardless of what you do for a living, finding the right work bag is a must. You need a bag that is stylish but still functional and durable enough to hold all the essentials, from your laptop to your headphones.

“With a work bag, you want to look professional,” says Liz Teich, fashion stylist of TheNewYorkStylist. “You’re dressing for the job you want, not necessarily what you have. It’s the first thing people notice when you walk into a room.”

To find the best work bags, we scoured the internet and considered the material, closing mechanism, dimensions, and handle drop length of dozens of options. We also tapped Teich for expert advice on choosing a work bag that suits your style and needs.

She emphasizes that searching for a bag made of high-quality materials is crucial. She says that you want to look for a presentable, well-made bag that won’t fall apart after a year of lugging around a laptop.


The bag’s sleek yet simple design makes it perfect for both casual outings and more upscale work events.

With no interior compartments, it can be challenging to locate small items within the bag.

The Cuyana Classic Tote checks all the boxes of a great work bag: sleek, simple, and spacious. Its soft, pebbled leather exterior and unstructured body make it easy to carry on the go, and its tall silhouette will fit all your work essentials with ease. Note that this soft material makes the bag unable to stand on its own, so expect it to lie under your desk without support.

With no frills or trim, the bag’s simple style complements nearly any outfit and occasion, regardless of how “fancy” it is. Its minimalist design adds a sense of versatility, making the bag suitable both in and out of the office. Plus, it’s relatively customizable. The bag comes in several sizes (small, classic, and tall), styles (zipper, no zipper), and eight colors (neutrals and bold hues). Though the tote has a high volume, it lacks organizational interior compartments, so you may have to rummage through it to find small items. Even so, this open space allows you to pack larger items effortlessly.

Price at time of publish: $268

Material: Leather | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 15.7 x 5.1 x 15.1 inches | Handle Drop: 10 inches


With various zippers and open compartments, this bag makes it easy to stay organized.

It’s made of PU leather, so it may wear down quickly with everyday use.

This waterproof laptop bag on Amazon is an inexpensive yet stylish must-have. The bag’s three-section design is ideal for the disorganized work-goer, offering a padded laptop section, two large open pockets, one large zipped pocket, and several smaller interior pockets.

With two handles, you can switch between carrying the tote by hand or on the shoulder. Its adjustable handle drops are also ideal for winter months, as the bag fits comfortably on your shoulder even while wearing a winter coat.

It’s crafted from water-repellant PU leather (polyurethane leather), so this bag won’t get soaked if it rains during your morning commute. Just keep in mind that this material may not be as long-lasting for everyday use as other materials are. Regardless, we think its low price makes up for it—especially for anyone who needs a work bag that arrives on their doorstep ASAP.

Price at time of publish: $46

Material: Polyurethane leather | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 16.7 x 5.7 x 12.6 inches | Handle Drop: 9.8–12.9 inches

Freja New York

With its very structured silhouette, the bag conveniently stands up on its own.

The magnetic closures may pop open when side compartments are overstuffed.

While on the pricier side, the Paloma Tote is an overall great investment. This bag has a sleek look to it, and its structured body lets it stand upright on its own without flopping over. The bag’s pebbled exterior is made of ultrafiber, a type of higher-end vegan leather that’s designed to last 10+ years, according to the brand.

The main compartment has a shortened zipper track to create a makeshift “cup holder,” giving you easy access to your water bottle without having to unzip the entire bag. In addition to its spacious middle section (which can store a 16-inch laptop), the tote bag has two side compartments with magnetic closures that can each fit a 13-inch laptop. The interior also includes several pockets designed to keep your phone, wallet, and other small items organized. With the magnetic closures, just be wary of overfilling the side pockets—they may come undone if the pockets are overstuffed.

Price at time of publish: $358

Material: Custom pebbled vegan ultrafiber leather and microsuede lining | Closing Mechanism: Zipper and Magnet | Dimensions: 19 (top) & 13 (base) x 5 x 10 inches | Handle Drop: 10.5 inches


The backpack’s sleek appearance and compact design make it ideal for a corporate environment.

Its structured body and laptop pocket leaves little room for larger items.

Calpak’s Kaya Laptop Backpack is the perfect choice for those seeking comfort without compromising style. Though many backpacks may feel too juvenile for the workplace, the Kaya Laptop Backpack boasts a sleek and functional design that is both trendy and professional.

With its 15-inch padded laptop sleeve and various interior pockets, this backpack offers excellent organization. Its versatility makes it an especially great investment—sleek enough for the office yet simple enough for casual everyday use. A convenient back sleeve allows you to easily slide the bag onto luggage handles for travel, too. However, being a laptop backpack, this bag may not have as much room to accommodate other items. Its rigid structure could also make it difficult to shove in last-minute clothing or shoes.

Price at time of publish: $138

Material: Faux leather with polyester interior | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 11.5 x 4.5 x 15.5 inches | Handle Drop: N/A


The tote’s sleek look is ideal for all occasions, and the structured body keeps your belongings well protected.

The bag may not fit larger-sized laptops.

The Beis Work Tote’s simple yet chic design is ideal not just for the office but for every facet of work life, from team meetings to cocktail hours and beyond. Its vegan leather exterior is sleek and chic, and its structured body ensures it can stand on its own. The bag also comes with a removable and adjustable shoulder strap, allowing you to swiftly convert it from a shoulder bag to a crossbody bag.

The outside of the bag includes a zip pocket, a slip pocket, and a zip-closure luggage trolley pass-through that can be used as an extra pocket. The interior is similarly well-suited for organization, featuring a padded laptop sleeve with a Velcro closure, a removable zip pouch, a zip pocket, and smaller slip pockets. While the bag itself is spacious, the laptop sleeve only fits 13-inch screens, so make sure your work computer is small enough to fit inside (or check out the larger version).

Price at time of publish: $128

Material: Vegan leather with polyester lining | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 14.25 x 6 x 11 inches | Handle Drop: Not listed


The high-quality leather will develop a patina with long-term use.

Its somewhat short handle drop may make it hard to carry over the shoulder with a puffy coat.

Madewell’s Transport Tote is a versatile work bag that’s perfectly suited for long-term use. Crafted from vegetable-tanned leather, each tote bag has a certain individuality to it, as no two totes are exactly the same. The leather tote is designed to burnish with wear, giving it a gorgeous patina with extended use.

The leather tote has a simple design, and its interior is just a main compartment with a small inner pocket. While the lack of organizational features may be frustrating for some, its openness allows you to carry larger items that might not fit in other bags. Another thing to keep in mind is that the handle drop is only 8.25 inches, so carrying it on your shoulder with a thick winter coat might be tough. The bag is available in a range of sizes, colors, and materials, including a zippered option that can be monogrammed.

Price at time of publish: $178

Material: Leather | Closing Mechanism: None | Dimensions: 14 x 6.25 x 13.75 inches | Handle Drop: 8.25 inches

Dagne Dover

Has the lightweight appeal of a canvas tote with a sturdier, more durable coating.

The interior cup holder next to the laptop could lead to potential spillage.

Dagne Dover has made a name for itself as a top-tier bag brand, and its Classic Signature Tote is bound to be your new workday companion. Unlike other canvas bags that may typically feel flimsy, this bag’s coated canvas exterior makes it much sturdier than standard cotton alternatives. It combines the lightweight allure of a canvas tote with the durability of a more robust material. The bag is available in three colors and two sizes—the Classic version is designed to fit most 13-inch laptops, while the slightly bigger Legend style can accommodate 15-inch laptops.

Despite its spacious interior, this work bag’s intentionally slim body makes it convenient for crowded commutes and easy to store under a desk. The main zipper compartment has a magnetic-closure tab to secure your laptop, along with various pen holders and small pockets for your phone and wallet. But our favorite part might be the detachable key leash, which makes finding your keys at the end of the day effortless. The bag also has interior cup holders on the side to securely hold your drinks and bottles in place. (Just remember to tighten the lids to prevent any leaks.)

Price at time of publish: $255

Material: Coated canvas body with vegan leather trim | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 13.75 x 4.5 x 11 inches | Handle Drop: 9 inches


With both a zipper and button clasp, this small bag is extremely secure.

It gets heavy fast, and the thin straps may dig into your shoulder.

This small version of the iconic Longchamp Le Pliage Tote is great for those looking to carry just a few items to and from the office. Its water-resistant nylon material keeps your things dry inside, while the compact silhouette allows for easy carrying and convenient storage under desks and tables. The bag’s foldable design also makes it extremely portable and perfect for packing in carry-on luggage for a work trip. It is available in various colors, with options ranging from off-white to cobalt blue. With such a diverse selection of colors, this small work bag can suit many styles.

While the tote lacks organizational compartments (apart from one interior slip pocket), its small size ensures that it’s easy to locate your essentials. But for this reason, the bag fills up quickly and can become heavy fast. The thin leather straps may also dig into your shoulder if it gets overstuffed.

Price at time of publish: $140

Material: Nylon with leather trim | Closing Mechanism: Zipper and snap tab | Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 10 inches | Handle Drop: 8 inches

L.L. Bean

This tote can hold very heavy loads and be monogrammed.

The casual, summery look that may appear less polished for a business-casual setting.

The L.L.Bean Boat and Tote bag brings a light, summery vibe to your work attire. With its spacious design, the extra-large size of this bag is capable of holding up to 500 pounds of items, according to the brand—though we don’t recommend taking that much to the office. Its generous capacity makes it a worthy investment, as its versatility extends beyond the workday.

While lightweight, the cotton canvas material is less water resistant than other totes, which could be problematic for rainy commutes. Its light and airy appearance may also render it a bit too casual for some corporate environments, making it better suited for warmer months and laid-back workplaces. The bag comes in four sizes, ranging from small to extra-large, and there are two handle lengths available. You also have your choice of 10 vibrant colors for the seams and handles. Plus, the canvas tote bag can be monogrammed, allowing you to personalize your bag with three to 10 stitched letters of your choosing for an extra $8.

Price at time of publish: $45

Material: Cotton Canvas | Closing Mechanism: Open | Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 17 inches | Handle Drop: 10 or 14 inches


The long handle drop makes this bag easy to wear with a winter coat.

With so many separate compartments, it can be difficult to fit larger items.

If you’re someone who often loses track of pretty much everything, this affordable tote is a great way to keep you organized. In addition to its padded laptop sleeve, the work bag also includes folder pockets, interior zip pockets, and open compartments. The bag comes in two sizes: one that fits a 14-inch laptop and one that fits a 15.6-inch laptop. It’s available in a handful of colors, and the handles are also adjustable, offering you the choice between a top-handle carry and an over-the-shoulder sling.

While the bag is ideal for meetings and office organization, its surplus of compartments makes it less versatile for travel compared to other bags. With various separate sleeves for laptops and folders, the bag may not be spacious enough to carry larger items like a sweater or extra pair of heels.

Price at time of publish: $60

Material: PU leather | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 17.3 x 5.5 x 12.2 inches | Handle Drop: 9–14 inches


The bag weighs less than 1.5 pounds and its external pockets keep small items accessible.

The straps may slip off your shoulder.

The MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe is incredibly lightweight (just under 1.5 pounds!) but large enough to hold all of your essentials, making it an excellent bag for travel and long workdays alike. With five exterior pockets and six interior pockets, the bag’s capacity offers a more organized structure compared to many of its competitors. The exterior zip pockets are especially great for storing your keys and wallet, offering easy access without the need to unzip the main compartment. While the tote’s size provides ample storage space, note that it may be too large for those who only need to carry a few items to the office.

Additionally, the tote comes with a detachable nylon crossbody strap that can be easily adjusted for comfort. Although the bag’s handles are generally comfortable, they do tend to slip off the shoulder, which could become a bit annoying when you’re on the move.

Price at time of publish: $275

Material: REC Oxford (recycled material blend) | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.4 x 12.7 inches | Handle Drop: 8.39 inches


The bag’s easy-to-clean material is great for travel, and the thick strap makes it comfortable to carry.

The jacket zipper makes it hard to zip with one hand on the go.

The Lululemon Clean Lines Tote Bag is great for overnight trips and long commutes. The recycled nylon and polyester materials are water-repellant and lightweight. The tote’s sporty look makes it especially suitable for bringing to the gym after work. Plus, the zipper closure ensures the safety and security of your belongings. However, it’s worth noting that the jacket-style zipper requires the use of both hands to zip, which could be inconvenient for easy access while on the go.

The work bag’s interior pockets can separate smaller items, and the inclusion of a water bottle holder is beneficial for longer journeys. Its handles easily convert into a shoulder strap, which is both sturdy and comfortable when you’re running to catch a train. The bag is only offered in a single size and color (black), but we think it’s suitable for those with a minimalist style. While its classic design gives it a clean, simple look, the limited selection may not cater as well to those with specific style preferences.

Price at time of publish: $88

Material: Recycled nylon and polyester | Closing Mechanism: Zipper | Dimensions: 22.4 x 5.9 x 14 inches | Handle Drop: Not listed

Based on our extensive research, Cuyana’s Tall Easy Tote is our favorite work bag for most people. Its spacious interior and simple silhouette make it ideal for all uses, while the wide range of size and style options grant you the freedom to choose the exact features you’re looking for. For a more affordable work bag, check out the Nubily Laptop Bag on Amazon, which has plenty of zippers and compartments and comes at a fraction of the price.

According to stylist Liz Teich, leather work bags look the most professional in a corporate environment. “There’s something about leather versus canvas or nylon in quality and polish,” she says. “Not that there’s anything wrong with those other kinds of bags, but you’re never going to feel like you have that quality.”

When it comes to sustainability, Teich says there are certain qualities to keep in mind. When looking for a leather bag, she recommends searching for something that is either vintage or pre-owned, or that is sourced ethically and made with vegetable-tanned dyes.

Leather can be expensive, so for those seeking a more budget-friendly option, faux leather offers a similar aesthetic typically at a lower cost. Even so, faux leather is typically less durable and will likely wear down quicker than the real deal.

But leather isn’t the only choice out there. Canvas totes offer both a lighter weight and airy appearance. They are also lower maintenance in terms of the cleaning process. Even so, canvas bags typically have a more casual, informal appearance, which can be a pro or con depending on your workplace.

Nylon is another cost-effective material to consider. It is typically durable and waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting wet if you forget your umbrella in unexpected weather conditions. While the strong material is resistant to rips and tears, note that nylon bags are a bit rougher in texture and tend to have a more athletic feel.

Work bags can come with various closing mechanisms, ranging from open tops to zippers to magnetic closures. Teich says that in terms of a bag’s closure method, there is not a definitive “best” style as a lot comes down to personal preference.

Open-top bags are nice for easy access, as you can reach in and grab items without the need to fumble with zippers or buckles. For those commuting on public transit, Teich notes that a zipper closure may be ideal as it prevents any items from spilling out or from potential pick-pocketers. Magnetic snaps offer a sort of middle ground between the two, providing both accessibility and a layer of protection. Even so, magnetic closures may present challenges if you intend to overstuff your bag, as they may not be able to stay closed.

When choosing the size of your work bag, always consider the function it will serve. If you have an assigned desk and designated office space at work where you can store personal items, a smaller work bag may suffice. Not only will a smaller bag be lighter on the shoulder, but it will also prove more convenient for crowded train commutes and shorter work days.

However, If you occasionally travel for longer periods or tend to be an inherent overpacker, a bigger bag is the ideal choice. For those who like to throw in a sweater to combat the blaring office AC, or add an extra pair of heels to change into post-commute, you may want a work bag that can fit these extra items.

In terms of dimensions, make sure to also consider the size of your laptop. Work bags typically specify what size laptop they can accommodate, usually either 13 or 15 inches, so make sure you compare those dimensions to your computer. Another aspect to keep in mind is handle drop length. Shorter handle drops suffice if you prefer to carry your bag in your hand or on your elbow, but longer drops work better for slinging the bag over your shoulder, especially when wearing a puffer coat in the winter.

When it comes to deciding between a backpack or a tote bag, a lot depends on personal preference. Backpacks are more ergonomic, as the bag’s weight is distributed more evenly on both shoulders rather than just one. Even so, tote bags are often thought to have a sleeker, more professional look.

According to Teich, if you opt for a backpack, it’s best to choose something made of higher-quality material rather than the canvas or nylon that you might have used when you were in school. “I really like convertible backpacks that convert from a backpack to a tote, so you have options and don't feel like you're walking into work wearing a school bag,” says Teich.

She adds that when you find a bag that feels both functional and aesthetically pleasing, it makes a huge difference. “I think there's so many things out there right now that you can find functionality and style at the same time,” Teich says. “I don’t think you have to sacrifice style, and a lot of my clients don’t realize that.”

Many backpacks and tote bags come equipped with zipper and slip compartments that can help you keep your items separate. We recommend securing your most valuable belongings in zipper compartments whenever possible and ensuring that the items you use most frequently are easily accessible. Outer zip pockets, in particular, are especially beneficial for storing the essentials, as they allow you to grab them quickly without having to wade through the entire bag.

If you prefer a more minimalist bag, however, there are other methods you can use to stay organized. Tote bag organizer inserts can help add compartments to otherwise unstructured bags, or you can simply throw in a brightly colored pouch (like a makeup bag). Keeping your essentials, whether it be headphones or your wallet, in a vibrant-colored pouch can help you locate them quickly, even in a dark bag.

This article was written by Jamie Fischer, commerce writer for Real Simple. To compile the list, she researched the best work bags for women and spoke with Liz Teich, @TheNewYorkStylist, about what qualities she finds important in a work bag. Teich has 15 years as a commercial stylist, working with brands, retailers, and editorial teams to create photoshoot looks. She eventually transitioned to a career as a personal stylist, where she started a closet refresh business to help people learn to style clothing they already own.

Price at time of publish: $268Material:Closing Mechanism: Dimensions: Handle Drop: Price at time of publish: $46 Material:Closing Mechanism:Dimensions:Handle Drop: Price at time of publish: $358Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions: Handle Drop: Price at time of publish: $138Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions: | Handle Drop: Price at time of publish: $128Material: Closing Mechanism: Dimensions: Handle Drop: Price at time of publish: $178 Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions: Handle Drop:Price at time of publish: $255Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions:Handle Drop:Price at time of publish: $140Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions: Handle Drop:Price at time of publish: $45Material: Cotton Canvas Closing Mechanism:DimensionsHandle Drop:Price at time of publish: $60Material: Closing Mechanism: Dimensions: Handle Drop:Price at time of publish: $275Material: Closing Mechanism:Dimensions: Handle DropPrice at time of publish: $88 Material: Closing Mechanism: Dimensions: Handle Drop