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Handbags. The keeper of our daily essentials. Whether it be your tried and true or your new, shiny toy, I think we can all agree that we’d be lost without them. In our youth, it housed our wallet, phone and keys (and for me, a watermelon Lip Smackers 😎) and as we enter the working phase of our lives, it becomes the loyal carrier of our day-to-day essentials.
I’ve made it no secret that I love a good lookin’ designer handbag, but it’s essential that any bag I use can actually hold my stuff – so I mix things up a bit with bags from the high street, contemporary labels and high end where possible. If I can avoid a separate overflow bag (unless it’s a gym bag) then I will. So I thought I’d share my favourite style bags that have worked for me and both high end and high street options. For context, I typically take either an 11″ iPad or a laptop to and from the office (depending on what I need for the day), my desk agenda, KeepCup and my lunch (if I’ve been organised the night before).
Behold, the 5 best handbag styles for work:
#1 – Tote Bag
The ultimate carryall style bag and one of the most popular work bags for a reason. My weapon of choice is my Tory Burch Perry Tote – I like how compact it looks while still managing to easily swallow my laptop, iPad, lunch and a slim folder of documents if I’ve printed a heap of stuff at the office to take home to read that night. This is the bag I take when I need to take a lot of stuff with me. I’ve only got the one tote in my collection but there are so many beautiful options out there.
If you’re in the hunt for a tote, I’d recommend either a leather or a coated canvas version – you want your tote to be durable as it will be working hard for you. You also want to make sure the straps are comfortable when worn as that’ll ultimately be a big bugbear for you if they’re not comfortable from the start. I’ve listed my favourites below (and they all fit laptops!).
L: Tory Burch Tote styled with Sandro Dress (sold out), Chanel slingbacks (amazing dupe here); R: Tory Burch Tote styled with Karen Millen dress (sz 8), Chanel slingbacks (amazing dupe here)
High-end options: Saint Laurent Large Shopper Tote, Loewe Anagram Embossed Tote, Celine Medium Phantom Cabas, Gucci Ophidia GG Medium Tote
Contemporary designer / high street: Tory Burch Tote (pictured, review here), Ted Baker Tote Bag, Witchery Celia Tote, Country Road Work Tote
#2 – Bucket Bag
Another timeless handbag silhouette, this one comes in all shapes and sizes. I love the larger, square-y leather versions for work as they hold all my things and typically come with a more robust shoulder strap. I’ve got a high end and a high street version of this bag (both linked below) and simply love the style and its functionality. If you’re in the hunt, opt for one that can at least fit a laptop so you can comfortably commute.
L: Celine bag (review here), Reiss dress (review here) (sz S), Gucci belt (review here), Everlane flats*, Ray Ban sunglasses; R: Everlane bag* styled with Everlane knit* (sz S), Gucci belt (review here), Everlane trousers* (sz 2, Short), Sarah Flint pumps* (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses
High end: Celine Sangle Bag (pictured, review here), The Row Park Textured Leather Bag
Contemporary designer / high street: Everlane Studio Bag (pictured above), Oroton Margot Hobo, Oroton Margot Big Hobo Bag
#3 – Compact Top Handle
Before laptops were a thing at work, this is the type of bag that I’d carry. The structure of the bag means that you can easily find things in your bag and they’re functional, stylish and add a bit of sophistication to your outfit. These days, I’ll take this bag to the office on the days that I’m not carting a laptop to and from work. While it looks small, it still holds my 11″ tablet which I’ll take with me to work on most days.
L: Senreve bag* (review here) styled with Everlane trench* (sz XS), The Fold London top* (sz 8), The Fold London trousers* (sz 8), Nicholas Kirkwood loafers, Ray Ban sunglasses; R: Senreve bag* (review here), styled with Everlane blazer* (sz 0), Arket tee (sz S), Everlane jeans*, (sz 26), Gucci belt (review here), Sarah Flint pumps* (review & discount code here), Ray Ban sunglasses
High end: Celine Nano Belt Bag, Givenchy Soft Antigona
Contemporary designer / high street: Senreve Mini Maestra Bag (pictured, review here), Oroton Margot Medium Day Bag
#4 – Top Handle
The ladylike top-handle bag – as classic and timeless as you can get when it comes to bag silhouettes. The vintage-inspired bag adds instant polish to absolutely any ensemble, elevating even the simplest jeans & tee ensemble. There is something really striking about the structured silhouette – it’s no wonder why my Celine Belt Bag is one of my most prized possessions!
L: Celine bag (review here), Sarah Lloyd blazer* styled with Arket tee (sz S), Sarah Lloyd trousers*, Dior slingbacks; R: Celine bag (review here), Country Road knit (sz XS), Frankie Shop trousers (sz S), Gucci belt (review here), Sarah Flint pumps* (review and discount code here), Ray Ban sunglasses
High end: Celine Mini Belt Bag (pictured above, review here), Givenchy Medium Antigona
Contemporary designer / high street: Senreve Maestra Bag, Oroton Muse Bag
#5 – Small Tote/Crossbody
For days when you don’t have too much to cart around, or perhaps heading out for dinner after a day in the office, a compact tote is a great option. Size-wise, they still pack a punch when it comes to capacity and can fit a tablet and a make up pouch to give you an idea of their utility. Small totes are typically my Friday bags.
L: Celine bag (similar version linked, review here, similar here) styled with Dior slingbacks (shop pre-loved here), Uniqlo trench (similar here), Reiss knit, Nobody Denim jeans, Gucci belt (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses; R: Celine bag (similar version linked, review here, similar here), Everlane trench* (size XS – review here), Everlane shirt* (sz US 2 – review here), Everlane trousers* (sz 2, Short), Sarah Flint pumps* (review here), Ray Ban sunglasses
High end: Celine bag (pictured, similar version linked, review here), Saint Laurent Mini Leather Tote, Gucci Ophidia Canvas Tote, Marni Leather Trimmed Floral Tote
Contemporary designer / high street: Country Road Leather Shopper, Oroton Muse Small Square Tote
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. The best designer shoe dupes and designer bag inserts that won’t break the bank.