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Finding a Women’s Laptop Bag

June 28, 2011

I started a new job sometime in early April, and one of the perks of the new place is the flexibility to work from home. Which works out perfect, because my lame, post-surgery dog apparently required three days of some sort of laser physical therapy at the vet this week, and two more appointments next week. What this means is a lot of schlepping my laptop back and forth to the office. Now, the office supplied me with a laptop case, but between that, a handbag and a bag of library books that I had to drag to the office because the book return slot was closed, I resembled more of a bag-lady than a young, urban professional. That, and the laptop bag squeaks. Loudly.

Something had to give.

It seemed so simple …

I’ll just get a bag that fits my 13″ or so laptop, and make it fashionable enough that I could bring it out with to dinner after work, or to a business meeting or just … walking through to the back of the bus without accidentally taking out fellow passengers with an unruly bag.  I needed it to be reasonably priced, non-hideous and big enough to fit whatever I’d fit in a purse, plus a book and magazine and a laptop (that ruled out most carrying cases/briefcases).

Ideally, I wanted something that looked like a large purse, because sometimes I don’t bring my laptop with me and I didn’t want to keep switching over all my stuff. That’s how things get lost.

Who knew this would be the Holy Grail?

I’m an experienced online shopper. I figured I’d do a quick tour of Zappos, Amazon, some good google searches and come up with something acceptable. Probably run it by my friend Keren and maybe my sister as a shopping camaraderie thing, and then call it a day.

No go. It seems like absolutely everything that fit my criteria was either

  • hideous beyond words
  • looked so cheap that I’d be embarassed to carry it
  • a fortune
  • resembled a diaper bag
  • very sporty/rucksack looking
  • only came in incredibly juvenile or inappropriate colors (what’s with all the pink, and black and pink combos?)

I really didn’t expect to have such an issue. I emailed a few friends of mine who I know tote around laptops, and sure enough – they’ve experienced the same thing. One friend literally uses a diaper bag (albeit a Coach one.) I’ve even emailed Corporette to see if they could offer any insight.

And not only did bags not fit the bill, there didn’t seem to be any fresh stock. It was the same thing, over and over again.

I finally found two that were decent and finally just bit the bullet.

And this other laptop handbag kept popping up and getting good reviews, but it’s so … blah.But it did come with a detachable wristlet-type thing, which could be cool for running out to grab lunch/a snack, etc. But inexplicably the wristlet is fire-engine red.

And I think it looks like it could look pretty cheap in real life, despite being almost double the price. It’s not out of my price range, just didn’t seem to be that good of a value.  I  fear the good reviews are more due to the lack of market selection than an actual good product.

I ended up going with the first one – the Etienne Aigner laptop bag in pearl because I figured that it was a little more polished looking and I’d rather look more professional than not. And it had long straps.

But, if this whole thing goes well for me, I’d certainly like to buy more bags that look decent and rotate. And because I’ m super nerdy/susceptible to marketing, the idea of having that purple herringbone Project Runway-designer laptop bag was kinda cool. And it’s purple. I really, really love purple accessories.

Help? What am I missing? Are there some great bags or stores that I’ve overlooked? What do you carry?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. kathy permalink
    June 29, 2011 9:13 am

    i own the third one. i don’t use it very often anymore because it is really heavy, but i do use the writstlet as a makeup bag (i would never use it as a wristlet).

    i would try endless.com or for something totally different Etsy.com.

    • June 29, 2011 1:30 pm

      I never thought about how heavy it may be! All of these problems. *le sigh*

  2. June 29, 2011 10:50 am

    I have a nice camel Coach tote that has a pad for a laptop in. The straps are long enough to go over the shoulder. I’ve had it for more than 4 years, and it still looks nice.

    But it’s light brown, so it doesn’t match everything. And it’s Coach, and full leather (I got it as a graduation gift- I would never be able to afford it on my own!), so, probably not very budget-conscious.

    I’ve been using a messenger bag that was a gift at a conference. It’s more comfortable/functional, but it definitely looks like something a guy should be carrying. But I need the bigger bag because I also use it for my ballet stuff on Wednesdays after work. Sigh.

    I like the one you chose! Keep us updated on how it works out!

  3. Julie permalink
    June 29, 2011 1:23 pm

    Looks like you made a good choice. I like the pearl white.

    It is so hard to shop for a bag online, though. I have struck out more often than not when buying knapsacks for my kids online (the Cars backpack that was so small it couldn’t even fit a lunch box, and the rolling knapsack that was large enough to be your sole piece of luggage for a long weekend.)

    I have two laptop bags I use interchangeably, both of which were purchased at a physical store. One is a backpack that I purchased at Costco and has been durable and nice enough to take on business trips, but is large and occasionally awkward to on the subway. The second is a red, leather satchel, with long straps that I bought, surprisingly, at Staples! After two+ years it has gotten worn in places, but it is fashionable, sturdy, and comfortable.

    • June 29, 2011 1:29 pm

      I wish I paid attention when I saw you carry it! My boss suggested Target, but I really, really got it in my head that I wanted it NOW! and didn’t want to wait for those old-fashioned physical stores 🙂 But, I’m going to keep my eyes open.

  4. June 29, 2011 4:21 pm

    The ones you have pictured are really cute! I went through the same thing after law school when I wanted a professional bag. I never quite found what I was looking for (and could afford at the time).

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