The Perfect Work Bag

working girl woman carryall tote bag _
I’ve been a real live grown-up for more than three years now, and one of the trickiest things about being a working girl – aside from doing your own laundry, taxes, and figuring out what’s for dinner – is finding the perfect work bag.  Any working girl will tell you, the perfect work carryall is bizarrely hard to come by.  Sometimes you find the perfect bag, but it’s just too heavy, or worse, professional-looking, without any fashion at all.  Here are my criteria for the perfect work bag:

  1. Style.  An ugly bag is an ugly bag is an ugly bag.
  2. Weight — this is a big one for me.  I always fall head-over-heels in love with big, obnoxiously heavy bags, and that just won’t do in a typical 9-to-6.
  3. Pockets, and magic secret compartments … especially one for your cell phone, so that you’re not always doing the crazy I’ve-lost-my-phone-in-my-bag dance.
  4. Room for a laptop or ipad.
  5. I also really love the option of a messenger strap – for comfort’s sake.
  6. Structure.  But that’s just personal preference.
  7. A bit of it factor.  If I’m going to endure suits (blech!), I’m at least going to carry one heck of a great bag.  Fabulous shoes don’t hurt either.

Bags, First Row: 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel // Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot To Handle Colorblock Shopper // Michael Kors Collection Blake Large Satchel // Second Row: Diane von Furstenberg 440 Top Handle Embossed Croc Bag // 3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour Bag // Tory Burch Robinson Double Zip Tote




  1. Kayla

    The Philip Lim Pashli Satchel has been on my list for a long time. Gotta say I think it’s worth the splurge for a bag that could last forever.

    Memoirs & Mochas

    • Lexi

      It really is such a great bag – and definitely the kind that will last forever. 🙂

    • Gloria Hurtado

      Can I just say that I don’t recommend the Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel for work? I drooled over this bag for so long and finally purchased last winter. Now having had it for about a year, I regret my purchase in terms of using it for work. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing bag. It’s very spacious and stylish in a not so in your face way (looking at you LV totes). Here’s where it falls short for everyday use:
      – The cross body strap is what sold me in. This strap is very uncomfortable on my shoulder on days when there is a laptop inside and with a year’s wear in, I’m nervous that the hooks for the strap aren’t going to withstand long term use. The stitching that holds them in are getting pulled.
      – The closure/snap on the front is all scratched up because it’s not the easiest to close so the hook has literally left scratches.
      – The only pocket on the inside is very flat and heard to get into. Can’t fit much and there except a cell phone and when you do, it’s such a tight squeeze that the zipper will scratch your hand.
      – Following the above, it’s generally not a bag I can easily get in/out of – note, I’m a train commuter in Chicago so I’m often in/out of my bag taking out my train pass.

      I hope this is helpful, the bag is amazing, just not good for work!

  2. Seriously, I think this is the hardest bag to find!! I’ve been wanting a new work bag for awhile now but haven’t found the perfect one!

  3. Chelsea

    I’ve never had to look for a work bag but I know the diaper bag/purse dilemma better than anyone. I think that beautiful Tory would cover it all!

    Chelsea & The City
    Be sure to check out my eShakti giveaway!

  4. Victoria

    Oh the Phillip Lam bags are just so gorgeous. I am about to enter the real world too so I will definitely need to be on the look out for a nice bag. I agree with you, Lexi, stylish but functional… let us know what bag you end up getting!


  5. Mili

    Although I can’t say I am a rela grown up, a bag that meets your criteria is necessary as a student. Thanks for sharing some options 🙂

    Mili from call me, Maeby

  6. Rachel

    I have one from Target that I use now, but eventually I’d like to upgrade to a designer brand. Love your picks!

  7. I have been searching for a new bag, and these are great choices. I have been thinking about buying the Tory Burch bag for a couple weeks.

  8. Have you checked out the MICHAEL Michael Kors Selma satchel? I think that’s going to be my next work bag purchase – currently toting a not-so-cute gym bag when running around all day.

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