Five Under $500 – Work Edition

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″

kara black tie tote

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″

RL Newbury

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″

VInce Hobo.jpg

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″

Milly Essex Tote

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″

cuyana black zip tote.jpg

Most definitely the best value option on this list — and the largest!


Photo credits (in order): Kara, Ralph Lauren, Vince, Milly, Cuyana

Want to see Five Under $500 posts for other occasions? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s