Best Work Bags — Fashionable and Functional Work Bags for Women

Style 2020 | 5 min read

Oftentimes, finding a women’s work tote that is functional and fashionable, is challenging. Business professionals need a work tote that is convenient, efficient, functional, and stylish. When searching for the best women’s tote, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. 

Color Scheme

Off the bat—what is the tote bag’s color scheme? You want to make sure that the color of the material and hardware complement your professional wardrobe. 

For example, if you tend to wear neutral tones at the office, then a neutral-colored bag is best. Popular neutrals like: black, brown, nude, grey, white, cream and navy, will effortlessly coordinate with a majority of your outfits. You’ll be able to accessorize your daily workwear without having to worry if your work tote clashes with the ensemble. Plus, having a neutral-toned work tote will match virtually everything, so you’ll get the most use out of your bag.

If you tend to wear warmer tones like: red, pink, green, yellow, or orange, then try finding a warm-toned work tote. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the tote needs to be one of these colors, but it should have warm undertones. For example, a tote bag can be brown, but have red-orange undertones. This would be considered a warm-toned neutral and would work best with other warm tones. 

If you tend to wear cooler tones like: green, blue, and purple, then find a cool-toned work tote. Apply the same rules as above-- the color doesn’t have to be a “cool color”, but rather, have cool undertones. Compare the brown below to the previous brown. Both are great neutral colors, but depending on your wardrobe, you’ll find which one tends to compliment more of your clothing. 

Consider whether you’d like your tote bag to have solid color or pattern. Some pros of each style are: 

SOLID COLORED TOTE BAGS FOR WOMEN 

-offer simplistic style that pairs well with numerous outfits

-neutral solids will enhance your favorite blouses, trousers, shoes, and belts, without “distracting” from them

-bright solids can spice up a simple outfit and serve as the focal point 

WOMEN’S BUSINESS TOTES WITH PATTERNS 

-are perfect to pair with solid-colored blouses, skirts, and shoes

-serve as a focal point for simple outfits

Take a look at the hardware and accent colors (if any). Premium brands are selective with the kinds of hardware they use, and how many pieces to include on a business tote. They tend to include classic metals like: silver, gold, and rose gold, and utilize tones that mimic fine jewelry. For women’s business totes, they minimize the amount of hardware to keep a classy and elegant look that is more common in office spaces.

To achieve a put-together look, you’ll want to match hardware details to your jewelry and other accessories. When all metals match, this creates a cohesive outfit that looks more refined and professional. For example, if you’re wearing silver jewelry and accessories, you’ll want to find a bag that emulates the same tones. 

Materials + Fabric

Next, consider the material of the tote. If you find yourself needing a “carryall tote” that seamlessly transitions from home, office, gym, and more-- consider a tote material that is durable and versatile.  

It’s typical to see many women’s totes made from: leather, vegan leather, canvas, twill, nylon, and other “outdoor fabrics”. These materials tend to last longer, sustain color, and protect against outdoor elements. For example, this women’s laptop tote showcases vegan leather that is water- and fade-resistant. It is also treated to protect against scuffs. This will ensure that electronics and other contents are protected. The vegan leather is not only cruelty-free, but it is more lightweight than its traditional counterpart. 

For a formal office setting, try leather or vegan leather bags. These materials have an expensive and luxurious appearance that hold up well over time. You’ll be assured that your go-to work tote will look great for years to come. Leather and vegan leather tote bags can also be dressed down and styled with more relaxed office attire. Their classic feel allows for versatility that other materials don’t always offer.

For more casual office settings, any of the mentioned materials are great. However, canvas, twill, and nylon make a work tote more laid-back. These complement casual work looks and are more fitting for relaxed work environments. The one shown above is a hybrid tote-backpack that works well for those that commute using public transportation. With multiple ways to carry your necessities, you can oscillate between which style is most comfortable in the moment. This style can be easily paired with a power suit, or with an athleisure office look. 

Functionality + Practicality 

When looking for the best work tote, the size of the bag is a crucial factor. A women’s tote handbag needs to have ample storage space so office supplies and every day essentials can be transported with ease. There should also be plenty of pockets and dividers to organize: pens, business cards, and miscellaneous items. When you’re a businesswoman on-the-go, you’ll need a bag that can make everything accessible.

If you’re searching for a women’s laptop tote, then the best ones will contain an internal laptop sleeve. This padded sleeve helps to secure laptops and tablets when in motion. Many women’s laptop totes are designed to comfortably hold: a laptop, office supplies, daily essentials, gym clothes, a water bottle, and more.  

Keep in mind that while a women’s business tote should be spacious, it should also be compact enough to allow for an effortless carry. Try to find the perfect sized work tote to compliment your frame and be lightweight enough to be carried throughout your work day.

Versatility 

Versatility is another important quality to look for in a women’s work tote. Although your bag will be primarily used to and from the office, you’ll get the most use out of your bag if it can be used for other activities. Find the best work tote that can easily transition from work day, to gym time, to happy hour, to grocery run. That way, no matter what the day calls for, you’ll have a work tote bag that can handle it all. 

Care + Maintenance

Lastly, it’s crucial to consider what kind of maintenance your work tote will need. This goes back to the kind of material and hardware the bag is made of, and how frequently you plan to use your work tote. If you wish to use the same work tote multiple times a week, then be sure to pick a sturdy material that is easy-to-clean. Here are the pros and cons of each common tote bag material: 

LEATHER 

Pros: durable, ages well over time

Cons: absorbs oils and liquids, needs expensive leather cleaners, may need professional care, not eco-friendly or cruelty-free

VEGAN LEATHER (PU) 

Pros: water-resistant, fade-resistant, abrasion-resistant, can be wiped with a damp cloth, eco-friendly, cruelty-free 

Cons: less flexible than real leather

CANVAS

Pros: easily washed, lightweight, water-resistant, durable 

Cons: shows stains easily (i.e. pen marks), doesn’t last long over time

TWILL

Pros: tear-resistant, doesn’t crease or wrinkle easily, durable

Cons: heavier than canvas and cotton

NYLON

Pros: extremely lightweight, durable, water-resistant, heat-resistant

Cons: may lose its shape and color over time