For someone who owns quite a few bags in bold colors and bright patterns, I surprisingly still do not own a work-appropriate black bag. The hunt has been on for a long time but I’ve yet to pull the trigger on the right one – but in my search, I have found a few that I’ve thought were perfect for coworkers & friends who asked me to pass along recommendations.
Each of these bags have a few factors that I consider to be fundamental for a good work bag:
- Construction: Sturdy leather and immaculate stitching – these are necessary to hold up everything that I need to toss in in the morning (like my gigantic work laptop and on-the-go breakfast items). Ideally, this bag needs to support at least 5-10 pounds.
- Size: I think this is an easy one – the perfect work bag needs to fit at least a 13″ laptop and other miscellaneous things like extra gym clothes, water bottles, chargers…
- Aesthetics: Clean simple lines! A structured outline would make it versatile to pair for any and all outfits (both casual and professional), although that’s not truly a deal breaker to me. Simple but unique details would also make this bag stand out, because there’s no reason ‘work-appropriate’ has to mean plain!
Here are my top five picks for bags under $500:
KARA – Black Tie Tote – $475
available here | 11″ x 17.75″ x 6.75″
I love the tie detailing – defintely sets it apart from other similar black totes!
Lauren Ralph Lauren – Black Newbury Double Zip Satchel – $298
available here | 11″ x 16″ x 6.75″
I often forget that Ralph Lauren makes more than timeless clothing – but this bag has reminded me that his leather goods are just as classic. (Also seen on Lisa!)
Vince – Black Modern V Stamped Python Hobo – $495
available here | 12″ x 12.4″ x 4.25″
This Vince bag is at the top of the $500 budget, but sleek structured hobos are hard to find and because of that, (I think) this is worth the money.
Milly – Black Essex Fringe Tote – $465
available here | 10.5″ x 15″ x 7.25″
This might look a little bold – but the structured lines of the tote give enough balance to make the fringe work.
Cuyana – Black Classic Leather Zip Tote – $195
available here | 13.5″ x 19″ x 5.75″
Most definitely the best value option on this list — and the largest!
Want to see Five Under $500 posts for other occasions? Let me know in the comments below!