Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.
Satchel or shoulder bag, ladies? Every year we do a hunt for a basic black professional purse that is not a tote, which gets a special roundup of its own. (Here’s our roundup for purses from 2014, 2013 and 2012). I’ve always had a preference for shoulder bags myself — I like to keep my hands free, and I don’t like a strap crossing my bust — so I was really shocked to see how few shoulder bags are out there right now, particularly in the non-designer realms. Satchels, crossbodies, and bucket bags really dominate the market right now. We talked about the crossbody bag a few weeks ago — I’m curious about your thoughts on bucket bags for work, as they seem a bit boho-casual to me. (But: I do love this bag for the weekend.) Anyway, lots of beautiful satchel bags that look ladylike and professional… ladies, what is your favorite kind of purse for work? Have you found any great stylish, professional satchels recently? (Angie at YouLookFab had a fun debate on bag shapes this a while ago — to pick up where she left off, are YOU Team Satchel, Team Shoulder Bag…. or are you Team Tote for work?)
Here are a few subcategories of professional purses that seemed deserving of their own mini-roundup…
- Hall of Famers: here, here, here, here, here, here, here
- Shoulder Bags (Rare!): here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here
- Very lightweight bags: here, here, here
- Available in brown: here, here, here, here, here, here, here
- Bags Under $150: here, here, here, here, here, here, here
|Ivanka Trump has really become a force for professional bags and shoes lately, and you can often get great deals on them at spots like 6pm. This simple Ava Dome looks great — was $150, now $89 (available in black, coral, and beige.) Ivanka Trump Ava Dome Satchel|
|This Cynthia Rowley satchel comes in both black and white, and I like the gold-tone hardware, the zippers, and the sale: it was $325, but is now marked to $140 at Off Fifth. Cynthia Rowley Dylan Leather Satchel (Also in the “under $300 and on sale” price range: this nice Brooks Brothers satchel, which I really like but for the calf hair, which feels too wintry to me.)|
|There are so.many.contenders from Kate Spade — it’s almost hard to pick just one. (Maise! Leslie! Candace!) I’m going with the Devin Satchel, which not only has been around for a zillion years if memory serves, but also has clean, soft lines, and comes with a shoulder strap. The pictured bag (in smoke) is on sale for $266, but it also comes in black, beige, white, light green, and dark pink for $398. Kate Spade New York ‘Cobble Hill – Devin’ Satchel (Another classic in this price range: the Amorous satchel, from Minkoff.)|
|I love the look of this Stuart Weitzman satchel — as do others, apparently, since Zappos has very few in stock. (Other bags I love from the brand: Weitzman’s Diplomacy satchel or Grabbag satchel.) I really like the tassel, the double zip, and the leopard print lining. It’s $795 at Zappos. Stuart Weitzman Bishop|
|I don’t quite know what it is about this bag that I love so much — it’s just so crisp. The hard angles, the accordion sides, the soft pebbled leather… love. The pictured bag is $2750, but here’s a very similar but more affordable option. Saint Laurent ‘Small Sac de Jour’ Grained Leather Tote|
|There are a TON of noteworthy designer bags here — Bottega Veneta, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Chanel, Chloé, Prada… I’ve been drooling over this Louis Vuitton satchel for a while now — designed by Sofia Coppola because, allegedly, she couldn’t find what she wanted in the store. (I own the LV Alma bag in Epi leather, and am always a fan of that if you’re not into logos.) The SC bag is $5000 (call to purchase). SC BAG MM|
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I’ve carried this one daily for the past ~8 months and it looks brand new.
I’ve seriously considered buying a second one for the day that I have to retire this one. It is that good.
These ads are so annoying.
There are ads on the internet?
He he he…
Honestly, I’m finding the constant complaints about the ads even more annoying. I never even notice the ads, but the comments about the ads are hard to miss.
To stay on point, I do love these bags and would love to have any of them. However, I know the straps would drive me crazy.
I have a KS satchel-ish bag that I love – about to get retired for my spring bag. For work I carry 2 bags, though, one purse and one tote, since I would never fit all my files in one purse. That way I don’t really have to worry about how big my bag is – just for water liter bottle, wallet, makeup, phone, and sunglasses.
I’m Team Tote for work! I prefer to carry one bag (except maybe a lunch bag) so I need something big enough to carry my laptop, files and general purse stuff. My go-to is a Longchamp Le Pliage because it’s lightweight and can hold everything. I have multiple pouches for smaller items, so I don’t mind the lack of organization.
Satchels are always tricky for me because it seems like they’re always either too big or too small for what I want to carry.
Love satchels! I love that they are very handbag-y. I hate, HATE it when they have a shoulder strap. It makes them look like a laptop bag and IMO ruins the dainty-ness of the satchel.
I am Team Clutch AND (as needed) Team OG or Team giveaway-logo-from-sponsor bag with laptop sleeve. But the clutch (phone, wallet, lip product, business cards, floss, bandaids) I use all the time and the bigger bag is for airports or lugging stuff home.
L in DC
I really don’t like satchels, so the current handbag landscape has been looking a little barren for me. I’m just not a fan of the crossbody strap.
I think I’m in the minority that I don’t like satchels or shoulder bags, so my daily bag is a crossbody. I am incapable of keeping a shoulder bag on my shoulder and I like having my hands free. For nicer events I’ll do a tote (work) or a clutch (weddings, etc.)
I’ve seen some really cute satchel/strap combos lately. This Ivanka Trump one is a gorgeous color, comes in lots of others, though no idea about quality: http://www.6pm.com/ivanka-trump-rose-satchel-aquamarine
And this Cole Haan bag is perhaps the most perfect shade of pink to go with everything and wear to work, at least in my mind: http://www.6pm.com/cole-haan-carrington-small-tote-canyon-rose
Ooo that Ivanka trump bag is gorgeous!
I got a great cross between a satchel and tote this weekend – it has a satchel shape and a tote feel: http://www.henribendel.com/west-57th-day-tote-27883519350193.html?start=31&cgid=west_handbags. Day One and I love it!
I personally prefer bags that have the ability to be cross body much more ergonomically friendly for my body
I just bought this for spring: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/loeffler-randall-work-tote/3932169?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=&resultback=3609
it was 25% off a few weeks ago (nordstrom was price matching for friends and family at bloomingdales)