Hefting around a work bag has traditionally meant a compromise between looking your best and being able to carry everything you need. But in 2021 that doesn’t have to be the case. Stylist Jade Leung - who has worked for Nobody Denim, Saba and Nike - tells Broadsheet about five different work-bag options that will not only fit your tech essentials but also take pride of place in your wardrobe.

The monogrammed bag

Leung’s first suggestion is a simple but stylish black bag by Australian brand The Daily Edited ($249.95), which you can have monogrammed with your initials in gold. “The particular style I’ve picked is the black medium tote,” she says. “It’s a really classic minimalist kind of shape.” What drew Leung to the bag is the option to make it your own – “you can really personalise the whole thing”, she says. Beyond the monogram, there’s also the option to add a shoulder strap or tuck it under your arm, depending on what look you’re going for and what feels comfortable. Leung also likes it as a good carry-all option that can adapt to different needs and workplaces. “It can fit all your tech stuff, it’s a good size … and you can still put your own spin on it.”

The updated work bag

The Margot Hobo bag by Oroton ($449) is about as far away from a laptop bag as you could imagine. It’s sand coloured and has more curves than straight lines. “I like this as a work bag because it has a little bit more softness to it,” Leung says. “It’s got some really beautiful curves, [but] it’s still really big and functional and you can carry a lot of things.” The shoulder strap makes it easy to carry, and its compartmentalised interior makes staying organised easy. “I just think it’s quite a beautiful, modern take on a work bag.”

The modern classic
For a bag that’s bold but versatile, Leung’s suggestion is an oversized black bag by Acne Studios ($350). “This is one of my favourites,” she says. It’s simple and elegant, while its bigger-than-usual tote size allows you to show a bit of personality (and it will fit pretty much anything you’ll need to carry with you ever). “It’s that cool oversized silhouette,” she says. The bag is a shiny black with small straps and “minimal branding as well, which I think is cool and hard to find these days with the designer brands”. The glossy finish makes it a bit more of a statement piece, elevating it above the everyday tote.

The offbeat basket bag

A-Esque’s Basket Midi Bag in Play ($750), with its multicoloured panels of Italian leather, is “a great way to use colour to accessorise”, says Leung. The bag, which also has suede lining, is big enough to store a device but isn’t too big. “This soft yet structured bag is perfect for work or play.”

The tote with a twist
Throw away the ratty calico tote and get something a little sleeker. The Rains Transparent Shopper in shiny amber is a more sophisticated take on the classic (and for $50, not a bad investment). “I love this tinted transparent look,” says Leung. “In my mind, I’d carry all my different items in separate compartmentalised pouches inside.”

The colourful “carry everything” bag

Just because your work bag is practical doesn’t mean it can’t have some novelty to it. The Sans Beast Activist Tote ($149) in spearmint is the ultimate “day to night, work to weekend” bag, with room to fit everything you need. It’s also made with vegan materials. “I love how this multicoloured spearmint tote adds a statement to my look, whether I’m wearing all black or playing with colour,” says Leung. “It goes with everything.”

The timeless splurge

Rounding out Leung’s list of suggestions is Prada’s Re-Nylon and Saffiano leather briefcase. “It’s not for everybody,” Leung says – and at $2390 it’s most definitely a splurge. But as she points out, “some people buy things once and they keep them forever, and if you are that way inclined … I feel like this one’s a really cool option.” It’s a classic style and shape, and there are ways to personalise it with keychains and hardware, and variations on the shoulder strap. “I think something like this is literally timeless and anyone can use it,” Leung says.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Microsoft Surface to launch the new Laptop 4. It’s designed for the worker on the go: long battery life, an ultra-thin and lightweight design, touchscreen capabilities, immersive studio quality sound and HD video calls. It's stylish too - think of it as a very functional accessory. Find out more.