The 25 Best Work Bags On The Market, According To Bustle’s Chicest Editors

“The GOAT of totes,” right ahead.

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Everyone has a trusted rotation of bags for navigating daily life: the fun going-out bag, the timeless investment piece you’ll keep forever, and the ever-reliable travel bag, among others. But there is one unsung hero in every purse collection — without which, none of us would be able to live that commuter lifestyle: the simple work tote.

There’s nothing more sacred in one’s professional life (aside from your daily oat milk latte) than the bag you use to trek all you career-furthering tools. Aside from its practical uses — like housing a laptop, water bottle, and umbrella — your work bag is the focal point of literally every single office ’fit.

It defines your professional style, for better or for worse. If you settle for poor quality, it can be hard on your shoulders and your budget in the long run — not to mention your perfectly-curated aesthetic. In short: it’s crucial to find a work bag that meets your physical demands (whether that be extra compartments, lightweight materials, or commuter-friendly straps) and sets the tone for your day-to-day look.

When it comes to work bag recommendations, editors are the best people to ask, because the subgroup is notorious for showing up to even the most glamorous events with their laptops in tow. Here, editors across several Bustle Digital Group brands — Bustle, NYLON, The Zoe Report, and Elite Daily — share the purses they shamelessly tote to fashion week and beyond.

The Best Work Bags Of 2024

“Every millennial remembers their first Rebecca Minkoff MAC — the bag that single-handedly carried our generation through frat parties and internships alike. Well, I’m here to make the case for her chic big sister, the Croissant Hobo. Made of glossy patent leather, this circular stunner provides all the drip of a posh designer bag, with the roominess of a classic tote (yes, it fits my 13 inch MacBook). Plus, it has RM’s famous hook closure on the strap for just a touch of nostalgia.” — Kelsey Stiegman, Senior Fashion Editor at Bustle

“While commuting to the city every day, I noticed my back would hurt way more with a tote or top-handle purse. I adore this super-slim backpack that perfectly fits my daily essentials. Countless co-workers ended up buying their own, too. It became an instant office fave.” — Olivia Rose Rushing, Beauty Writer at Bustle

“As someone who grew up on the Le Pliage Longchamp tote, this buttery leather option is a chic, grown-up upgrade. It’s sturdy and roomy enough to house all my work (and airport!) essentials — snacks included. You can also snap the sides for a more angular, trapezoidal silhouette.” — Alyssa Lapid, Style Writer at Bustle

“There are many things I love about this Rains backpack. First, it comes in several iterations; I prefer the buckle clasps to carabiner clips. Second, it’s waterproof with a reinforced base — essential for any public transport-user. But what sets it apart for me is the fact that it’s square, not rectangle. I’m on the shorter side and have found some rucksacks are just too long to sit comfortably on my back, so this is a real win in my book.” — Charlie Mock, Associate Director, Social Media at BDG

“This bag is the perfect size for carrying a laptop and has a long enough handle that it easily goes under your arm when you’re wearing a thick coat in winter. The leather wears really nicely, it doesn’t look empty when it is empty, and the bottom of the bag is rectangular, which means you can get a lot of stuff in it. The dream.” — Charlotte Owen, Editor in Chief at Bustle & Elite Daily

“My neck is already destroyed from staring at my phone, so I’m not trying to ruin it more with a heavy one-shoulder bag. This backpack is cute, big enough to fit my laptop, and won’t ruin what’s left of my posture.” — Chloe Joe, Culture Editor at Bustle

“There's room for a big wallet, snacks, a change of clothes, and literally whatever else you need — Rothy’s Essential Tote doubles as a great travel bag. And as someone who prefers to quickly throw everything in, I like that the inside design is minimal (with one zipper pocket for small items). It’s also super soft, almost like a walking weighted blanket. The straps are sturdy and wide, with the perfect drop length so you never worry about it getting uncomfortably wedged under your arm.” — Grace Wehniainen, TV Writer at Bustle

“The GOAT of totes: durable, spacious, and has straps that are long enough to easily throw over my shoulder. I love that the top zips close for an added level of security while I’m commuting. It has a few interior pockets, but I like that the inside is mostly open and not too compartmentalized, so I can fit a lot of different things inside. It’s a moderately capacious bag that I absolutely adore.” — Hayley Schueneman, Senior Newsletter Editor at Bustle

“Every NYC girly needs a tote bag, and this one from NYON has been my daily go-to for months. I use it for everything — work, pilates, groceries, etc. It easily fits a computer, chargers, other purses, and more — and the cotton canvas fabric makes it super comfortable. Couldn't imagine a day without her.” — Kimberly Perry, Senior Social Media Strategist at Bustle

“Don’t let the price point fool you — it’s super soft, well-structured, and high-quality. I’ve been carrying it around for months as a work tote, and I like that it’s a neutral without being basic black. It easily fits my laptop, charger, wallet, and other essentials, and it looks as good as new, even after months of commuting.” — Sarah Ellis, Senior Entertainment & Dating Editor at Elite Daily

“This backpack has a compartment for everything (laptop, phone, water bottle, etc.) without looking or feeling bulky. It’s also very durable, comfortable to wear, and still looks brand new after years of me dragging it all over the city.” — Gaby Bondi, TV Editor at Bustle

“When it comes to a work tote, I like something versatile, classic, and stylish — and for me, the Leather J.Crew Berkeley Bucket Bag checks all the boxes. It fits everything I need (and don’t need) and the quality can’t be beat. 10/10 recommend!” — Gracie Farquhar, Social Media Strategist at BDG

“I’m that person, who travels with copious amounts of belongings. Fortunately, Cuyana’s Leather Backpack has a slew of handy compartments to house all my items. Plus, it looks a lot chicer than most backpacks on the market, IMO.” — Kelsey Stewart, Associate Fashion Editor at TZR

Milaner’s Elena bag holds everything you need for work and beyond. It’s just as functional as a tote, but has better structure and an elevated, timeless look.” — Kate Marin, Senior Branded Fashion Editor

“I swear by my Yohji Yamamoto denim tote bag. It has a massive interior with two wide pockets inside, so it can hold a ton of stuff — I’m a chronic over-packer, so this comes in handy. But even on days when I’m traveling light, the fabric collapses easily so it doesn’t feel too bulky and the bottom half of the bag is rubberized — which is not only visually intriguing, but also protects it from getting wet.” — Abby Lebet, Manager, Editorial Operations at BDG

“If you’re looking to invest in a quality carryall, Nanushka’s Origami is the perfect spacious tote. The vegan leather bag folds completely flat, yet also expands to hold all of your workday necessities — in addition to matching everything and looking elevated, all at the same time.” — Copelyn Bengel, Accessories Editor at BDG

“I recently found an incredible deal on a pristine vintage Bottega Veneta Intrecciato tote on The RealReal — they’re always getting new ones in and the hunt is half the fun. Mine has three roomy sections, various zip pockets, and can fit my laptop without it feeling too bulky. I love that it feels sophisticated, but still very functional, and I probably won’t see anyone carrying the same one.” — Jenna Wexler, Senior Fashion Director at BDG Studios

“This bag is sooo chic and soft, but with very good quality leather. Its shape is minimalistic, so it matches everything — plus, its super light, and fits so much without losing shape.” — Trinidad Alamos, Fashion Fellow at BDG

LL Bean’s Boat and Tote is a classic! It’s the reliable best friend that will protect your Chanel bag during a rainstorm and hold anything you need when you’re on the go. It will always be there for you.” — Jennifer Yee, Fashion Market Director at BDG

“Post-2020 all my commuter bags need to be laptop friendly in order to accommodate a hybrid lifestyle. This sleek style from The Row feels far more sophisticated than most totes (which skew clunky 99% of the time, IMO), but is still roomy enough to pack away a water bottle and power bar, alongside my computer.” — Alison Syrett Cleary, Deputy Fashion Editor at TZR

“This bag holds literally all of my things — which I need because I’m often commuting into the city from my parents’ house on Long Island. Most importantly, though, I often go from the gym to the office to happy hour or dinners with friends, and I hate the idea of carrying around a bag that looks like a ‘gym bag.’ It also has literally a million compartments. We stan a bag that keeps your sh*t organized!” — Christina Amoroso, Editorial Director at Bustle

“This chic backpack is perfect for commuting in Manhattan — it’s not bulky for riding the subway and has space for everything. I’ve had it for almost two years and it doesn’t look worn out from the throes of New York subways or being kicked under tables during happy hour.” — Marina Watts, Entertainment News & Strategy Editor at Bustle

“I’m a backpack fan and have used Dagne Dover’s medium-sized Dakota for years. It’s water-resistant neoprene is perfect for the subway, there’s plenty of room inside, and the simple, monochromatic design looks super sleek.” — Erin Stovall, Senior Beauty Editor at Bustle

“When I don’t wear my vintage leather messenger bag, this Freitag style is my go-to. Made from recycled truck tarps, each Freitag bag is both sustainable and unique. Their distinct patterns add a touch of cool to any look. If the price puts you off, you can find plenty of like-new (yet marked down) styles on eBay.” — Maya Ernest, Branded Fashion Editor at BDG

“I bought this tote at a concert two years ago and it has served me well ever since. It’s the perfect size for my laptop and goes with everything so I don’t have to think twice about putting it on. Plus, my eye doctor once complimented it and I think that’s really funny.” — Lauren McCarthy, Editor in Chief at NYLON

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