Our lovely reader Amy K. tweeted us a while back asking for recommendations for a work bag for a $1,000 budget, and we promised her an entire blog post of answers. Though it took us a little while to get our act together (sorry for the delay, Amy!), we think she’ll forgive us, because not only did we search high and low for our own best recommendation, we also consulted 5 fashion industry insiders for their picks as well. The most fashionable and functional work bags from an editor, a PR maven, a fashion blogger, a lawyer, an on-air television style expert, oh and little old us? It doesn’t get much better than that. Read on for to-die-for handbags from Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander, Mackage and more.
P.S. Consider this the launch of a brand new blog series. Got a style dilemma? Email or tweet us with your question, and we and a fresh new band of industry insiders, a.k.a. honourary Backseat Stylers, will tackle it in a blog post just for you!
AYA MCMILLAN, Fashion Writer, Editor & Digital Media Consultant
Her pick: Sophie Hulme’s signature leather tote, $1,050 at SSENSE
Why she’s loving this bag: ”I fell for Sophie Hulme’s designs when I saw them in London a few years ago. They’re beautifully crafted and offer just the right amount of gold hardware. It’s ideal for work because it’s essentially a feminine take on the briefcase – it’s roomy enough to carry all your office essentials (i.e.files, a laptop, ipad and a pochette), it holds its structure, is surprisingly lightweight, and comes with a strap in case you want to go handsfree. All in all it’s the perfect balance of brains and beauty.”
Follow Aya on Twitter: @AyaMcMillan
AMY BURSTYN-FRITZ, Managing Partner, Knot PR
Her pick: Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Damier (Ebene), $1,060 at louisvuitton.ca
Why she’s loving this bag: “I’m almost always on the go and need to have a bag that can accommodate my nomadic lifestyle. This Louis is so versatile, a great neutral for pairing, and, true to name, it really is like the Mary Poppins bag. If you dared to dig inside (mine), you would find a wide variety of items; from flats to heels, Aveda makeup and Dannijo costume jewellery to transition from the office straight to client events; my laptop and/or iPad for working anytime, anywhere; my workout gear and a Nola Bar to keep me energized!”
Follow Amy on Twitter: @AmyBurstynFritz
ANITA CLARKE, Software QA Lead and Fashion Blogger
Her pick: m0851 City Tote, $400 at m0851.com
Why she’s loving this bag: “I’ve been a huge fan of Montreal based m0851 for a very long time. Their bags are made in Montreal and are very affordable. The City Tote has everything I’m looking for in a good functional and fashionable bag. It has to be a cross body body style as they are the easiest to manage. The City Tote comes in neutral colours but they aren’t too boring. The Heath Grey is my favourite option. Size is important too, this bag is big enough to carry a laptop and the essentials. Finally the price is great for the value. You get a great Made in Canada handbag using luxury leather.”
Follow Anita on Twitter: @geekigirl
ANJLI PATEL, Lawyer
Her pick: Jil Sander Navy drawstring duffle shopper, USD$901 at Feathers Fashion
Why she’s loving this bag: ”If you thought the lawyer was going to suggest a rolling suitcase, think again. Neither structured nor staid, this tote pleasantly defies convention as a work bag. The unique drawstring closure gives you the option of fully or partially cinching the opening, depending on the weather and what you are carrying, and also hints that you know your way around a boutique as well as a boardroom.”
Follow Anjli on Twitter: @bluechipfashion
AFIYA FRANCISCO, Style Expert – Global, CBC and Creative Director, The Style House
Her pick: Coach Classic Duffle in British Tan, USD$398
Why she’s loving this bag: ”I adore the simplicity of this duffle – no logos, no embellishment – just understated chic. A zippered top is handy when travelling about and, while British Tan is my fave, you can’t go wrong with any of the classic shades. An iconic design, this piece only gets better with age. For under $400, as a functional work bag, I don’t think that you can do better.”
Follow Afiya on Twitter: @TheStyleHouse
Our pick: Mackage ‘Raffie’ tote, $450 at mackage.com
Why we’re loving this bag: When we first heard word that one of our favourite outerwear brands was venturing into handbags, we were stoked. We knew only highly covetable and very well made bags could come of it, and we were right. The Raffie tote is the perfect size for everyday, and can be held, worn on the shoulder or across the body. It doesn’t miss a beat on the style front either; we love the unique silhouette and buckle details. It also comes in 3 equally desirable colours, black, white and sand.
Image Credits: Amy Burstyn-Fritz by Jenna Marie Wakani; Anita Clarke by Brittany Lucas.