Dress for Success: Beyond the Briefcase

In my daily trek through downtown DC I’ve noticed that women seem to carry one of two very different bags to work. The first is the Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote in the classic monogram print. While it is a timeless bag that can carry a plethora of objects, it is a little tiring when every other woman is carrying one. The second bag of choice for DC women seems to be a giant shopping bag of some sorts, the most common ones that come to mind are Urban Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret PINK bags. While useful, they are generally not the best compliment to professional attire.

Your work bag can reflect on you the same way your outfit does. There are a ton of options for great work bags if you just look. I gravitate towards work totes that are more versatile than your basic shopping bag. I have a Kooba tote that can fit my laptop while capable of being shortened on the side to become a handbag and I’m currently using a Lodis May satchel that fits a ton while being simple and crisp enough to not look as if I’m carrying it all.

In an ideal world the Mary Poppins bag would exist and I could carry everything under the sun to the office with me without looking like the crazy bag lady. Until that happens, however, I’ll have to continue searching for the perfect tote.  When looking for a tote keep in mind a few things.  First, thicker straps are going to be more comfortable on your shoulder than thin ones.  Second, if the handles are short, make sure there is a shoulder strap (you will curse your bag later if there isn’t). Third, look for bags with a lot of organizational pockets inside and out. Here are a few options I would happily add to my collection:

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