The Best Work Bags For Every Career Woman’s Budget

best bags for work

Unsplash/Anete Lūsiņa

These days, us career women carry our entire lives with us everywhere we go. Our commutes are an hour both ways by train, and we want to fit our gym clothes in our work bags so we can get to that class ASAP after spending the entire day at the office. The best work bags come with room for our laptops, water bottles, notebooks, phones, iPads and more. And with so many great options, from leather totes to nylon backpacks, at a variety of price points, there’s no excuse not to travel to work in style while also sticking to your budget.

Budget: Between $400 and $500

Rebecca Minkoff Marco Backpack — $425

Rebecca Minkoff Marco Backpack

Rebecca Minkoff

First things first: We’re not condoning anyone blowing their budget just so they can have a designer work bag. However, we do believe in investing in your wardrobe with pieces that will last for years — like this Rebecca Minkoff Marco Backpack.

Pro Tip: If you pay $425 for something and use it for 425 days straight (a little bit longer than one year), then it’s only really costing you $1 per day (which is less than your daily latte). Use it for even longer and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!

Backpacks are all the rage (at least around New York where we work). They’re great for distributing the weight of all your items more evenly. Plus, backpacks like this one have a separate compartment for your laptop.

Budget: Between $300 and $399

Kate Spade Cameron Street Audrey — $348

Kate Spade Cameron Street Audrey Tote

Kate Spade

Lightweight and scratch-resistant, the Kate Spade Cameron Street Audrey is a great bag that will truly go with you from day to night. It’ll act as a laptop bag, while also holding your wallet, headphones, planner, notebook, phone, keys and makeup (plus whatever else you can stuff it with). With a zipper top, you can close it up without fear of losing any of your essentials while sipping half-price cocktails at happy hour. Cheers to that!

Tumi Voyageur Hagen Backpack — $325

Tumi Voyageur Hagen Backpack


Again, we’re currently in love with work backpacks. Tumi is kind of the OG of backpacks, and the brand offers so many styles at different price points that you’ll easily find one that works for you. The Voyageur Hagen Backpack comes in a lightweight, water-resistant nylon, but can also be purchased in leather (for $525). The padded laptop sleeve is great for bringing your work home with you, while the pocket for your water bottle makes staying hydrated at the office and gym that much easier.

Budget: Between $200 and $299

Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Medium Tote — $298

Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote

Michael Kors

Not only does the Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Medium Tote have a padded laptop sleeve with a zipper right in the middle, but it also comes in Saffiano leather, which is water-resistant. Its size makes carrying all of your necessities easy, while the shoulder straps make your commute more comfortable.

Cole Haan Zoe Work Tote — $280

Cole Haan Zoe Work Tote

Cole Haan

With a name like the Zoe Work Tote, it’s no wonder this Cole Haan bag made our list. Its satchel style makes it unique, yet the detachable shoulder strap makes it functional. After filling it up with your tablet in the side pocket, plus your book, sunglass case, wallet and phone in the other compartments, you can secure the bag both from side to side and front to back. The supple leather is smooth and gives this bag a luscious look at a price point that we can totally get behind.

Dagne Dover Legend Tote — $265

Dagne Dover Legend Tote

Dagne Dover

Alright, this tote bag is the bag of the moment, according to so many women in our network. The Dagne Dover Legend Tote has a spot for everything (and we mean everything), yet never looks bulky. Its structured shape allows it to sit perfectly upright while holding your laptop and notebook in the side compartment (which has a magnetic closure for extra security). Your water bottle has its own built-in holder and your glasses fit in a separate, long-sleeve pocket where they won’t get crushed by your wallet. It’s made of both leather and coded canvas with straps that make sliding it onto your shoulder easy. This bag is truly legen — wait for it — dary. (We couldn’t resist!)

Marc Jacobs Diamond Quilted Tote Bag — $225

Marc Jacobs Diamond Quilted Tote Bag

Nordstrom Rack

We found this bag online at Nordstrom Rack and are in love with its lightweight material. The Marc Jacobs Diamond Quilted Tote Bag is great for the working woman who wants to stay a bit more casual on a daily basis. Its soft material makes it even more comfortable on your shoulder, while the interior pockets hold everything you need. We wouldn’t mind sporting this to both work and the gym on the regular.

MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote — $215

MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote

MZ Wallace

Another lightweight bag that we can’t wait to carry to our Barre class and then the board meeting, the MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote is what Swirled’s C-Suite is all about. Its minimal, chic design allows you to also easily fold it, stuff it and pack it in a carry-on for work trips, which you definitely can’t do with a leather bag. Talk about functional.

Budget: Between $100 and $199

Michael Kors Polly Medium Nylon Backpack — $168

Michael Kors Polly Backpack

Michael Kors

There’s almost no reason not to have a cute backpack for work these days, and this Michael Kors Polly is a great option. Its price point is right in the middle, making it both budget-friendly and luxurious. It’s made of nylon, which means it’s water-resistant, and it’s super functional with an inside laptop sleeve and front zipper pockets for easy access to your phone and keys.

Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote Bag —  $145

Longchamp Le Pliage Tote


Longchamp bags have been go-to totes for years, and with good reason. The Le Pliage bag is just super spacious with room for anything and everything. Plus, the leather handles help this pliage/nylon bag stay durable even on the longest commute. The zipper and snap closures work overtime in keeping your items safe, too.

Budget: Less Than $100

Free People All Day Tote — $68

Free People All Day Tote

Free People

For a tote bag that can seriously carry it all, the Free People All Day Tote is a budget-friendly option. Plus, it comes with a removable interior pouch with a zip closure. Simple, yet ready to help you take on anything that comes your way during the week.

Target Women’s Zip Top Backpack — $37

Target Women's Zip Top Backpack


We love Target, so it comes as no surprise that we found amazing backpacks that made our list. The Women’s Zip Top Backpack is super affordable and chic with its gray and gold details.

Target Flap Convertible Backpack — $35

Target Convertible Backpack


Between the faux swede and leather material, detachable straps that take it from backpack to shoulder bag, multiple pockets for storage and an insanely good price point, what’s not to love about this Flap Convertible Backpack? We couldn’t think of anything either.

H&M Handbag — $35

H&M Handbag


Regardless of whether you’re heading to a job interview or just drinks with coworkers, a chic shoulder bag is always a great idea. This H&M Handbag is simple, stylish and seriously inexpensive, which means it’s super easy to add to your collection.

Forever 21 Faux Leather Tote Bag — $30

Forever 21 Faux Leather Tote

Forever 21

Our fave part about this Faux Leather Tote Bag from Forever 21? The fact that it has a simple tote style and comes with a separate small zippered bag, complete with a shoulder strap. It’s two bags in one!

Forever 21 Faux Leather Crossbody Tote — $30

Forever 21 Faux Leather Crossbody

Forever 21

This bag acts as both a satchel and crossbody, which makes commuting a breeze. The Forever 21 Faux Leather Crossbody Tote is just simple and chic, with pockets for everything you need while on the go.

Don’t blow your budget for a new work bag, but take the time to invest in yourself. Got a fave work bag that you recommend? Let us know in our LinkedIn Group!


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