I work at a company that loves email. You might work at one, too! I spend a good part of my work day simply triaging and responding to email. And, because the little red circles next to applications on my iPhone keep me up at night, I cannot stand for an Inbox that has double or triple-digit unread messages.
On a particularly tough work day, I discovered a really cool thing that Outlook does. When I receive messages, even if I haven't read them, everything about that message has been downloaded (included attachments). For NYC area commuters with limited wifi access, this means you can spend your commuting time managing your inbox (provided you get a seat). I turned a colleague onto this who commutes via MetroNorth (the above ground railroad that leads to points north of the city) and she proclaimed it a godsend. Hooray for productivity!
Of course, after I discovered this, I started toting my laptop home with me more often. On the ride to work, I could clean up whatever was in my inbox that I didn't get to the previous day and start my day fresh! Or maybe I could work on a document during that time. Either way, stealing moments to catch up on work during particularly busy stretches helped immensely.
However, what didn't help was the fact that my laptop got a little hefty after a while with all its accessories. I decided to stop bringing the charger home which definitely helps lessen the load (I keep one charger at the office, and another at home). That said, I discovered a good bag to tote it home in would be necessary. Right now, I have a leather bag designed for 15 inch laptops which is far too big; especially on the subway where I feel like a bull in a china cabinet. And I tried to search for this type of information (i.e. "best laptop bags") but the ideas that turn up are usually centered on men's bags or bags that can exclusively hold a laptop, but not much else.
My ideal bag doesn't look like it has a laptop in it. Perhaps that's the New Yorker in me but I would like to walk down the street and not feel like someone might target me because of what they know exists in my bag. Also, my ideal bag consolidates a lot of different bags. On many days, I carry a gym bag so I'd like to avoid having 2 additional bags (purse + laptop bag) on top of that.
I did a lot of soul searching and I'm mostly decided but here are some of the bags I'm looking at. Consider this a highly curated list of the "best work appropriate bags for ladies who like large (and organized) laptop bags that look as good as they function." That's not a mouthful!
1. Hex – Supply Laptop Tote ($75)
One of my male colleagues turned me onto this brand. Apparently, he'd been eyeing one of the other Hex bags for a while and opted to order it and wasn't disappointed. Personally, I like the size of this bag, as well as the wealth of compartments both inside and out. I also think the outside canvas material (while not leather, my personal favorite) still looks pretty high-end given the straightforward design. And because of the sturdy, but low cost, materials, the price is very fair.
2. Lo & Sons – The Seville ($398+)
Lo & Sons makes some pretty interesting bags. I first heard about them when their OG weekender bag started popping up in my social media sphere (long weekend bags may be another post for another day). What really makes the Seville unique is the idea that you can swap out the shell on the outside of the bag for a different look. Personally, I think this is great as it gives you the benefit of swapping your bag without the chore of emptying one bag and repacking everything in another. I also like that the bags are leather and they have three different types of leather options (including the wipe-able, durable dreamboat that is Saffiano leather)!
Julia over at Gal meets Glam wrote a full review of the Seville and she definitely makes a convincing argument for considering it! However, the price tag is a bit steep if you are budget conscious — especially factoring in that you will likely want to buy a shell (or four) at some point in time or if you opt for the size for a 15" laptop.
3. Daame – Midi Laptop Tote ($395+)
When I was searching for a good laptop bag that still looks professional to carry into an office where I'm surrounded by women who look at that sort of thing (not that they are looking at me specifically, but I enjoy compliments), I happened upon Daame. Not only do they made fine leather goods (did I mention I'm a sucker for high quality leather?) but they also donate part of the proceeds of their sales to causes that further the education of young women (did I mention I'm also a sucker for a good cause?).
I love that they have three really sophisticated color options (black, a chestnut brown color and finally a dove gray) and options for both 13" and 15" laptops (for 15" machines, take a look at their Everest line). I also like that the bags have sleeves and compartments on the inside to accommodate most of things we carry (laptops, tablets, phones, etc). The only tricky part about these is the high price tag; although, it's not so bad as most quality leather bags of this size will cost about this much.
Which one will I choose?
Right now I'm leaning towards the Daame bag as I love their mission and the way their bags look less like laptop bags and more regular leather bags, but stay tuned as I'll probably write a review about the one I do select.