Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Dear Maya,

Do you have a suggestion about a bag that’s not a briefcase but could double as a computer bag/pocketbook?

Style Challenged

Dear Style Challenged,

I’ve got to go with the Collina Strada Sarto Bag.  The Black and Taupe version (pictured above) is on sale now at Need Supply Co. and it’s gorgeous.

Notable features:

  • Elegant, yet durable, 100% leather exterior
  • Spacious, fully-lined interior (14″ height, 18.5″ width, 4″ depth)
  • Magnetic snap closures
  • Interior pocket
  • 7″ handle drop
  • Handmade in the U.S.A.

Here’s why these features matter.  In a professional setting, you really want to present a polished image and a great leather bag is one way to do that.  You don’t want to undermine your authority by carrying a tote that could be mistaken for a beach or a recyclable grocery bag. Quality construction and durability matter because you’ve got more important things to deal with than replacing shoddy apparel and accessories.

More importantly, bare bones bags are unlikely to give you the support you need to keep your work materials straight.  You need something spacious enough to accommodate your tablet or laptop and structured enough to look sharp.  I like an interior pocket for my cell phone and a top enclosure for privacy and keeping everything contained.

The Collina Strada Sarto Bag definitely on the pricey side, but the timeless style and solid construction mean that you can use it for years. A black version is available from Article&. Notice the slouch of the bag’s sides as styled below.  You can rock it either way!


Alternative Tote Bags

Check out Everlane’s Petra Collection.  These simply elegant leather-exterior, suede-interior bags come in three sizes–magazine, market and portfolio.  Odds are, one will be your perfect fit. Other good brands to consider are Baggu, Clare Vivier and Alice.D.

Additionally, you can often find high-quality leather goods on limited-time-only deal sites like Gilt, Hautelook and RueLaLa. And don’t overlook online consignment shops like TheRealReal.

Organizing Pouches

I also recommend Truffle‘s clear zipper pouches to keep things together and visible.  I use one to hold mobile device chargers, a spare mouse and other gadgets when I’m on the go. Pro move: Tuck a little checklist inside too so you can see at a glance what you’re missing.

Please note that I don’t accept advertising or sponsorships on this website.  These are my personal recommendations of products and websites.  Enjoy!

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