The Hunt: Computer Bags and Laptop Sleeves

2017 Update: We still think a lot of these computer bags and laptop sleeves are awfully cute, but you may also want to check out our recent roundup of the best laptop bags for work.

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.

It’s been a while since we rounded up cute laptop sleeves and computer bags here at Corporette, and I thought now might be a great time to do it… I find the plain black laptop bags and sleeves so boring!  Readers, have you found any great laptop bags or sleeves? Do you have a preference?

Love, Margaux has some fashionable designs for both a “commuter carryall” (pictured above) and a laptop sleeve (pictured at right).  I really like the fun fabrics in heavyweight cotton, the padding for the laptop, and the multiple compartments for cables and personal things.  The commuter carryall can fit laptops up to 17″; the sleeve up to 15″.
Aleysa Bags are big enough for a 15″ laptop, and have a fun retro vibe in lovely colors like eggplant and kelly green.  They’re $265 at Exquisite Eggplant
Personally, I tend to prefer sleeves to computer bags, and I like these colorful ones from StuffItBag.  They’re handmade, machine washable, and only $30 per bag — and they have bags to fit laptops from 9 inches to 17 inches.
Don’t forget the department stores either — Bloomingdale’s, for example, has a variety of cute sleeves and bags from designers such as Kate Spade (pictured – on sale for $42),Rebecca Minkoff, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Moleskine, Juicy Couture, and Harajuku Lovers.
Finally, I always feel like Built is the gold standard — they wear really well, they protect the computer in a lightweight way, and the fun colors makes the bags easy to find in a dark bag.  I’m a huge fan of the Built sleeves, particularly.  Sold at Amazonand $20-$90.

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  1. I got a laptop in the spring and bought this bag to carry it:

    I love the red accents and the velvet interior. There are a bunch of other color combos, too, including chocolate/blue and dove grey/lavender.

  2. I just bought this Fossil tote to carry my laptop (in a lovely neoprene purple sleeve).|0||p_weight|0&pn=c&rec=5&imagePath=ZB4899200

    It’s the perfect size for my 16″ laptop, plus files, wallet, cell, etc. The top straps are nice and thick, which make it easy to carry even with a heavy laptop. I’m seriously thrilled with it. Only problem – no top zipper so you need to make sure everything is secure and that you don’t turn it upside down under the airplane seat!

  3. I have to commute (public transit) with my laptop every day and tried the shoulder tote approach for a month before my shoulders/back cried uncle. Now I use the Tumi Alpha Bravo Knox backpack — it’s not technically designed for laptops but has a thin separator that keeps it in place/separate from other stuff; it will fit a computer up to 15″. The profile is also quite a bit slimmer than the dimensions would indicate — I didn’t want a big bulky bag on the subway and this fits the bill. I use a small handbag for my wallet/MetroCard/other essentials that need to be easily accessible.

    • anon the 6th :

      I had a handsome khaki green Fossil bag with leather details that came with a laptop sleeve. Eventually, I bought a Tom Bihn Brain Bag backpack. It’s a lot of bag, but it distributes the weight well.

    • Scratch my endorsement of the Tumi Alpha Bravo Knox backpack. The sales associate told me all their bags are tested to be water resistant “in 30 minutes of light rain.” Well, 5 minutes in light rain under a small umbrella later, I had water on my laptop. Now I’m having to jump through hoops to try to return it. This is my first experience with Tumi and I think it might be my last.

  4. I would like to add that I have met Aleysa herself, and anyone wanting to support women entrepreneurs might want to take an extra-special peek at her line:).

  5. I got this one at ebags (in grey, which appears to no longer be available):

    I love it. Super chic and small.

  6. SF Bags is my go to for technology cases of all sorts.

  7. Not much to add except that I love Built. Love, love, love.

  8. Christina :

    I LOVE that Alesya bag, but it’s a little too expensive for me right now :( Has anyone come across anything like that bag that’s more in the $100-150 range?

  9. I have the Alesya bag in Equestrian Tan and it is even more fantastic than I imagined. No one ever realizes I’m toting my Macbook around in it all day until I unzip that pocket and pull it out – beautiful leather and great quality. #fangirl

    • MissJackson :

      I have to admit that I’m smitten. But, I’d like a bag that could fit my work laptop, which is kind of big. I just measured and it’s 16″ across the diagonal (13″ wide and 9″ deep). Is there no hope for the Alesya, or do you think it’s possible that there’s an extra inch of room? I know the description on the web says 15″ but I can’t help but hope!

  10. Speaking of bags….

    For my law school graduation I received a Coach briefcase that was very much not my style. I returned it and could only get a store credit. Problem is, I hate Coach. I have many Coach bags from 2-3 years ago that are amazing. Recently, however, I think Coach has taken a turn for the worst in terms of both quality and style.

    Literally, the only bag I liked in the store that was big enough to carry to work was this one:

    Now, I am not sure I like it either. Do you ladies think this bag is professional enough for a lawyer?

    • Ok…tiny url doesn’t work…

      • MissJackson :

        I think it’s fine in terms of being professional. But is it really big enough? It sounds like you saw it in person, so I assume that it is. Did you look at everything online? The store in my neighborhood seems to carry just a teeny tiny fraction of what’s actually available and tends to have mostly the overly embellished canvas bags. But an admitidly quick browse online seems to indicate that they are still churning out high quality classic leather bags if that’s what you’re looking for.

        Under the “satchels & carryalls” I like some of the Chelsea and some of the Kristin bags, but buy whatever you like. Or save that store credit for later if there is nothing that you love. If you don’t think Coach is going to be your style any time soon, maybe you could sell your store credit?

  11. Thank you for including the Alesya Bag in your post, Kat! I’ve been following your blog since I met Lisa (commenter and supporter above) and I love it. Now, I’ve officially moved into uber-fandom.

    Emmie – Thank you for being such an internet #fangirl! The feeling is mutual.

    • MissJackson :

      Alesya — how wonderful that you’re a Corporette reader! I asked Emmie this question above, but it probably makes much more sense to go straight to the source. Is there any chance that my 16″ (13″ x 9″) firm-supplied laptop is going to fit in the Alesya Bag? It looks gorgeous, but it sounds like it’s not quite big enough.

      If it won’t fit, do you have any plans for making a larger model in the future?

      • Ok, so I just tried some things. My work-supplied laptop is a 17, and is 15inches across by 10 inches deep- huge! The width worked okay, but it was too deep for the pocket to close over it. That being said, with yours being smaller, it might still work? Here are 2 photos with a ruler in them, hope this helps! You can always email Alesya and I’m sure she’ll get right back to you.

        • MissJackson :

          Thanks so much for this, Emmie — the pictures are incredibly helpful!

  12. Lo & Sons makes two great laptop/briefcase-y/work out bags: – definitely worth it.

  13. Unfortunately the standard issue for laptops at my firm is a 17″ Lenovo that weighs almost 6 pounds. I can’t stand the look of backpacks. Just got a Coach fabric tote with a long shoulder strap and handles that is working fine. The fabric tote tend to be much lighter weight than leather which is important. I’ve asked for a smaller laptop due I’m not due for a replacement for 2 years dang it. With a brick like this, it’s impossible to shop online. Fits “most 17” doesn’t usually work.

    The Love, Margaux line is adorable, but the good ones are sold out already.

  14. I use a generic black rolling laptop bag when I travel. I have to carry two computers and assorted equipment, so the rolling feature balances out the fact that I probably look like Steve Urkel. I have to say that I love the Michael Kors tote!

  15. Thanks for the tip on the Alesya bags-have been looking for a stylish laptop bag as my Cole Haan is falling apart-just placed my order!