Week of requests: Stylish work bags

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Good morning, ladies, and thanks so much for your patience last week while I was out. I’m feeling much improved, if not quite one hundred per cent, so please bear with me as I get back up to speed. Your week of requests starts now, with a reader named Clara, who asked to see  a selection of  “…work bags that are smart enough to take into CEO and board meetings, but hip enough I don’t lose my style,”  and if that isn’t a near-universal request, I don’t know what is. Finding a bag that is polished enough for work-type stuff—and roomy enough for all of our everyday items—but still cool enough to be fun and stylish isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. My favorites are clean-lined, light on the hardware, and usually, but not exclusively, black. I think this modified hobo shape is kind of interesting.

I love a north-south tote, and this one from Clare V is so snappy with the red and navy stripes.

Generally speaking, I find backpacks to be on the casual side, but this is really sophisticated and streamlined, and doesn’t especially read like a backpack to me.

I was surprised to see that this was from Coach, as I’ve felt that Coach has declined precipitously, design-wise-in recent years, but I think it’s really good, and especially like the turnlock detail, which feels like old-school Coach from the Bonnie Cashin years.

I dig the mustard yellow, of course, and the chain handle is a nice touch. It’s also super-cheap.

Another north-south tote that feels nicely sophisticated to me, and into which I imagine you can cram a ton.

This bag comes in black too, but there is something elegant and a tiny bit unexpected about it in the gray. The thicker strap also gives it just a bit of an edge.

Usually frame bags like this are too girly for me, but this one isn’t, somehow—I think because the shape of the bag itself is quite cool and modern.

 

This is kind of sporty and duffel-ish, but still put-together-looking.

 

An interesting silhouette and a nice, bold burgundy hue.

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27 Thoughts on Week of requests: Stylish work bags
    Linda B Kerr
    5 Mar 2019
    6:50am

    I agree with you about the turn Coach bag designs have taken in the last several years. I love this one, but they only have it in yellow! I hope that changes!

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    c.w.
    4 Mar 2019
    9:04am

    Glad you have returned, Kim! And even more glad that while you might not be 100% you are recovering. While I don’t work outside the home, I do have to lug things around occasionally to meetings in the real world and these are all choice selections. I am loving that dome bucket bag in burgundy. And, weirdly for me, the orange bag from Mango looks like one I would use over and over again even though I don’t own anything else in that hue!

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    Eloise
    4 Mar 2019
    9:16am

    Welcome back! I’m not a huge fan of north-south bags (a description I’ve never heard but am sure I’ll use going forward!) but may give the Rag and Bone bag a chance to change my mind.

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    Kathi
    4 Mar 2019
    1:01pm

    Welcome back!! If I still worked outside the home, the hobo bag would be doing time on my shoulder.

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    Ellie
    4 Mar 2019
    1:16pm

    This makes me so nostalgic for the days I could carry a cute tote bag full of laptop, books, papers, lunch, and various other accoutrements to work. Back and shoulders now require a backpack, except on days the schedule allows for minimal equipment :(.

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      Rebecca
      4 Mar 2019
      5:23pm

      I carry a backpack too, which I think I am about 15 years too old to be doing! But way better for my shoulders. It’s black with white polkadots, which I hope is semi grown-up?

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        Ellie
        5 Mar 2019
        8:34am

        Totally grown-up! Mine is sleek and black (new Knomo, which I am loving), but what really keeps it mature is the sparkly puppy dog keychain hanging from the zipper thanks to a little friend :).

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    Sandy K
    4 Mar 2019
    1:21pm

    Welcome back and glad you’re better!

    The Steven Alan bag is online at TJ Maxx for $119.

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    Amanda
    4 Mar 2019
    1:26pm

    Hope you are feeling better every
    Day and taking great care of yourself!

    I love the Philip Lim Pashto line. Tons of colors and even a backpack style I rocked for a year.

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      Amanda
      4 Mar 2019
      1:27pm

      Pashli, not Pashto o_O

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    Liz
    9 Mar 2019
    1:16pm

    I think its is the Coach Willis and is very old school. I had the similar but smaller Station bag.

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    Laura
    4 Mar 2019
    12:35pm

    hope you are feeling better
    I’d love to request your thoughts on lightweight work bags – nylon, etc

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    kimbersam
    4 Mar 2019
    9:54am

    Love the duffle bag! And it is on sale!! So, Kim if you are still taking requests. As I get older I find I have become more of a monochromatic dresser (gray, navy, black) but I love to wear red accessories. What about a selection of red bags and belts? I’ve decided that the red bag (and possibly the belt) is post-matchy.

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    Amy Stacy
    4 Mar 2019
    11:27am

    That Coach bag is a vintage re-issue. I have a beat-to-hell version that’s original.

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      Amy Stacy
      4 Mar 2019
      11:39am

      I should clarify that it’s slightly revised, but only if you study it.

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        Ellie
        4 Mar 2019
        1:20pm

        I love these bags and sort of obsessively check the availability of vintage ones on Etsy. My main hesitation has always been the lack of zipper pockets (as a public transit user and traveler, I am always anxious about having someplace to stash the things I really don’t want to lose). That, along with the canvas lining and topstitched trim, seems to be the main addition here, so it just might push me over the edge…

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          Amy Stacy
          4 Mar 2019
          6:11pm

          So my vintage one is tiny and heavy. It holds very little. The dowel across the top is solid brass. I hefted a modern one in the store and they are still heavy today.

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    Deb Robinson
    4 Mar 2019
    11:35am

    Ten bags and you can’t be bothered to find even one that isn’t leather? That’s pretty lame, to be honest; there are lots of gorgeous, fashionable leather alternatives out there if you look, and you don’t even have to look hard.

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      Melissa
      4 Mar 2019
      6:55pm

      While this point is valid, surely there is a kinder way to say it. Kim is a person, not a bot.

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        MaryAlice
        4 Mar 2019
        7:08pm

        I second that. This is a friendly space and we disagree gently.

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          LisaC
          5 Mar 2019
          7:21am

          I third that. Kim is very responsive to feedback and the strident tone is unnecessary.

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            Kim France
            5 Mar 2019
            8:57am

            I can’t tell you all how much I love the fact that whenever somebody leaves an ungenerous comment here I never have to respond if I don’t want to because you ladies HAVE MY BACK. A million thanks and all my love. xx

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        Debra
        5 Mar 2019
        4:12pm

        Most kind way of clapping back, Melissa! Love it!

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      Darcy
      5 Mar 2019
      5:22pm

      It’s true though. Great non-leather bags are all over the place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    HickfromStyx
    4 Mar 2019
    10:58am

    Flu season 2018/19 was one to remember, or forget. I’m glad you’re back on your feet.

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    Alexa
    4 Mar 2019
    9:12pm

    Welcome back, Kim. Glad you’re feeling a bit better. Your people missed you : )
    I’m not in the market for a new work bag at the moment. Now I almost wish I was. (“North-South” bags don’t work for me though. My arms are too short!)

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    Clara B
    5 Mar 2019
    4:34pm

    That Clare V tote is pretty gorgeous and likely really practical. Thanks!

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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