Bags to wear with your work wardrobe this winter

To prepare for this guide I chatted with quite a few women about their work bag needs.  Armed with a comprehensive list of what’s in women’s work bags I began to wish Mary Poppins wasn’t a figment of Disney’s imagination, that she was on speed dial and she could reassure me there was a black leather version of her bottomless carpet bag!

Back to reality; it seems that the work bag fall into two camps; those that need to accommodate a laptop and those which don’t.  The guide below features some bags that will accommodate a 13″ laptop. But if yours is any bigger, quite frankly, you need to ask your boss for a new one. You can’t be expected to carry such a weight around!

Firstly a quick overview; this isn’t a guide

  • about lovely laptop bags
  • about backpacks – let’s hike back to them another time
  • about informal bags (for those who work in a more relaxed business; hello start ups)

This is a list for the girls who are working in the corporate world who are out the door before 8am, dressed in a suit.  They need a bag that will deliver on 12 hours away from home.  It needs to home a ‘mini home’.  One might say it is a guide to the tote. Totes!

Just peek inside a city girl’s bag and you will see the mini make up bag, brush, the day purse (with all the loyalty cards in), perfume, umbrella (this is a winter guide), a small diary (yes they are on a come back), phone, keys, nail file, tissues and don’t get me started if you travel on the tube – the world of hand sanitisers! I could go on.

So without further ado pick a type of a bag and sample a couple of options

1. Add an accent of metal

Modalu Flora Leather bag at John Lewis for £229

Sophie Hulme East West Cromwell bag at Harvey Nichols for £595


2. Take a different angle – go tall

Lost property of London – Elwin bag (sustainable source and handmade) for £425

Tall leather tote from Delpozo at Selfridges for £1100


3. High five for the handles!

Biba Erika tote bag at House of Fraser for £129

Pannier leather tote bag from Marni at Harvey Nichols for £1700


4. Two tones take up

Ralph Lauren Carrington Brigitte at House of Fraser for £365

Fendi 3jours leather tote bag at Net-A-Porter for £1900


5.  Keep it simple and structured

Leather Knot detail tote bag from Marks and Spencer for £99

Broadway structured tote bag from Reiss for £250



From the above you can see the humble tote bag comes in all shapes and sizes.  I’m a big fan of the tall tote bag as you can usually fit a 13″ laptop in and can still keep your neighbours on public transport happy, as you don’t encroach on their personal space.

Having said that, from the 10 bags above, top marks go to Reiss for its Broadway bag.  Looks plain but has a subtle but impactful structure.  I love the two zipped pockets on the two inner sides.  And it’s as close to Mary Poppins as I can get – it even holds a change of footwear as well as all the other essentials for a 12 hour day!

Now that you have the day covered, why not check out the bags for a formal evening out.


Thanks to Olu Eletu on Unsplash for my header image.

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