I don’t consider myself to be an expert on many things – or indeed any things – but handbags and shopping for them, I feel I can lay a claim to. That and what makes the best karaoke songs, natch. So I was very happy to rise to the challenge of identifying a selection of stylish but practical “work appropriate” bags for a friend of mine who has recently re-entered the rat-race after a 5-year hiatus during which time she’s been busy juggling life with twin girls.
Her criteria as been: (1) a bag that can fit a laptop; (2) versatile and can go with more or less everything; (3) budget of up to £150 max. Straight-away my mind went to (1) a tote bag or stylish shopper; (2) probably needs to be black; (3) it should be 100% leather, to ensure a great quality bag that lasts for her (up to) £150 investment. So here are my top 5 picks:First up, this Chain Leather Tote in black from one of my favourite high-street stores & Other Stories – buy here. Only a few left online (so be quick!) what I love about it is that it’s 100% calf leather meaning it’s buttery soft and gorgeous quality, so at £135 it’s a pretty good value purchase. Big enough to fit a laptop and other work paraphernalia I love how this works as a solid everyday bag that avoids being boring thanks to the chain detail as well as the irresistibly touchable material.
Now here I am, going off-piste from my own criteria already, but I just had to include this fantastic Hermosa London All Rounder Neoprene Bag in black because it could be just about the coolest but also most practical, versatile and winning at life work-bag around, don’t you think? It’s lightweight (so you don’t start off with a heavy bag before you’ve even put your laptop in it!), relaxed and slouchy in all the right ways and get this, it has a detachable pouch inside that is great for securing valuables as well as being handy as a spare clutch! £80 – buy here.Gorgeous black 100% leather (outer) bag from Village England, this Hempstead Tote Bag would JUST be big enough for a laptop if your laptop is a MacBook Air (I measured!) but otherwise you might need to carry separately and chuck everything else work related into the bag. But isn’t it just a beauty? AND it’s in the sale reduced from £195 to £136 – buy here. You can wear cross-body or simply carry on the crook of your arm, or fling it on your shoulder thanks to the multiway straps.Now how about this one? Currently showing as ‘out of stock’ but they’re about to get more in, so keep an eye out – this is the Large Black Tote from The Aurora Store and it’s just the most perfect work-bag. PLUS, you can get it monogrammed with your initials, LOVE! The minimal style is so appealing and the fact that it looks soft and supple means it’s one of those quality leather bags that will look great with age. It has a suede inner and detachable (and monogrammable) luggage tag and attached additional inner zip-top pouch. Great value at £70 – buy here. Below is a close-up pic:Oooooh and also, if you enter the launch code MYFIRSTAURORA before checkout, you get 20% off your entire first purchase!
Right, now anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to shopping, I find it hard to play by the rules. So, forgive me for throwing this one in casually at the end… it fits the criteria of (a) black (b) leather (c) practical and stylish ergo ideal for work, it even just about fits a laptop (I reckon!)… BUT it’s a little over budget at £195 – however, in my defence, it is reduced by 40% on the Outnet, down from £325, which is pretty amazing and it’s Maje AND it’s fringed leather… I mean you see now why I couldn’t possibly leave it out right?Boring work-bags be gone! – Buy here.