Dress for Success: Fashionable, Professional Bags for Women Lawyers

Women lawyers, have you struggled to find a fashionable, yet professional, bag to bring to the office? Are you worried that your colleagues won’t take you seriously if your bag is too “cute”? Worse yet, have you finally managed to find a fashionable bag that’s professional enough for the office, but later discovered that it simply won’t hold your files? If any of these situations have happened to you, please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

Speaking as a legal fashionista, I know that it’s possible to be professional and tasteful while still expressing a degree of individuality. That is what fashion is supposed to be all about—and whether you’d like to look cute, elegant, or trendy, there are ways to accomplish each fashion goal without going overboard.

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  • http://www.constitutionaldaily.com BL1Y

    The Jamie Raquel looks like a really nice box, but the bulky, rigid shape seems impractical as a bag you’ll carry around with you, especially if you rely on crowded public transportation. Also, consider that the open top means you have to keep the thing pointing up, or risk spilling the contents, and you’re going to be a target for pickpockets (bye bye Blackberry).

    The Mobile Edge would be good for when you have to travel, or if you’re a student, but doesn’t really look professional as your day-to-day bag. The design is like something out of the mid-90s when laptops were still 3 inches thick and weighed 20 pounds.

    The Jack Georges is spot on. The minimalist design means you can pick it up and walk out the door without spending time trying to match your bag with your shoes. It’s not frumpy, but also doesn’t scream that you’re trying too hard to impress people with your bag, and the interior design looks good. It’s not just a re-purposed large purse, it’s designed to hold a laptop and files, and still let you get to your phone, pens, etc, without digging around.

    If you’re in a more laid back, casual office and want something that won’t be too “Andreeeaaahh” go for the Cassette Tape Tote: http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/bags/984c/

  • http://www.nutmeglawyer.com/ Adrian Baron

    Nice post Staci. It helped me pick out a gift for my wife who is graduating law school.

    I just did a post on lawyers wearing fedoras again. http://www.nutmeglawyer.com/2011/04/fedoras-pony-tails-and-buckskin-jackets.html

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/stacizaretsky/ Staci Zaretsky

      Thanks, Adrian! Which bag did you end up going with? I’m dying to buy the Jack Georges for myself soon.

      • http://www.nutmeglawyer.com/ Adrian Baron

        That’s the one I got her. She’s picky though. You better be right. lol

  • http://lawyerist.com/author/randallryder/ Randall Ryder

    When can I for the post on Captain America t-shirts and Birkenstocks?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/stacizaretsky/ Staci Zaretsky

      I’m actually planning on writing about smart casual wear in the future, but I’d save the Birks for Coachella.

      • http://lawyerist.com/author/randallryder/ Randall Ryder

        Pretty sure 99% of Coachella attendees are barefoot.

  • Jennifer Gumbel

    When I was in law school, clerking for a summer, a young female, single with no kids attorney in the office had a Kate Spade briefcase. When commented that I loved the briefcase and didn’t know that Kate Spade made briefcases, she said that they don’t, it was a diaper bag. It was the only Kate Spade bag that would fit legal files. It looked great. Sometime you have to think outside of the box.

    Me? I’m still using my Franklin Covey briefcase I got in lawschool by saving up westlaw points. It was free (except for becoming hooked on westlaw), still looks stylish, holds legal files and zips shut.

  • LzzJne

    I have to second the Kate Spade diaper bag comment. I’m still a law student, so cost is a huge issue- but I serendipitously found that Kate Spade diaper bag at the thrift store in perfect shape for six dollars and it truly is the best bag ever.

  • Mitch Jackson

    My wife and law partner has shared her “challenges” with me about proper attire and accessories (is all about the accessories right?) both in the office and court. With her help, I share a popular article last year entitled, “Never Wear SpongeBob Squarepants Underwear to Trial” Mitch
    Here you go! http://www.triallawyertips.com/2009/11/never-wear-spongebob-squarepants.html

  • Alina

    Personally, none of those bags are a combination of professional and feminine. The first looks like a box, more like an accordian file than a briefcase or shoulder bag, the bottom one is a bag one would use as a student to carry a laptop, not a bag for the office or for court. Amongst the 3 the Milano is the only one that satisfies my requirement that the bag be leather, for starters, but still looks cheap. The stiching/piping looks like those on target bags. Fine if you are spending 29.99 but not $285! My bags need to be: 1. leather or leather trimmed, no pleather!!! 2. large enough to carry several legal size file folders or accordians 3. decently priced 4. great quality 5. while not a requirement but ideal for a bag for court, is the ability to throw in a small pocket book into the bigger bag, I can carry whichever personal handbag I want to the office and lunch and just toss it in when I go to court, no need to carry the bigger bag all day or to transfer my personal items into the briefcase/court tote
    What about these:



  • http://ms-jd.org jessie

    Just saw this and wanted to add a plug for the Susan B. Anthony bag! http://ms-jd.org/ms-jd-weekly-roundup-week-ending-may-6-2011

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/stacizaretsky/ Staci Zaretsky

      Not really my style, but it could possibly work for some people. First thing that’s jumping out at me, though, is the price you’re going to be paying for a fake alligator bag. Bit of a rip-off.

  • Leila