Luxury Leather Totes and Briefcases for Women

Genevieve Ang
Businesswoman with a leather briefcase tote

For many, there is no clearer sign of success than a designer purse, and one of the most practical designer purchases to invest in is an everyday work bag. Below are some brands to consider if you're looking to splurge on a well-made, luxurious leather bag for work.

Luxury Bag Brands to Consider

Louis Vuitton

Although the brand is known for their canvas, logo-ed purses, Louis Vuitton also offers beautifully sophisticated bags that are perfect for work. Most are priced between $2,000 and $3,000, making these investment pieces for your work wardrobe.

Their Epi leather, in particular, is a gem for the work-weary. Crafted in treated leather with raised parallel ridges, it comes in a myriad of understated colors and modern shapes. Another recent iteration is their popular Neverfull bag in Epi. Think catch-all shoulder tote with thin straps that can carry a huge amount of weight. Other shapes to consider are the Alma, a larger purse with a dramatic curve, and the Marly, a chic trapezoid shape.

Louis Vuitton leather bags are sold only at LV boutiques, and they have a 14-day return policy.

Saint Laurent Paris

In recent years, Saint Laurent Paris has produced some extremely beautiful bags that take inspiration from the house's rocker-chic past. These gorgeous pieces have been reworked into minimalist, simple bags that you can carry anywhere and everywhere.

A stand-out bag for work is the Cabas series, available in three different sizes and several colors. Prices start at just under $2,200 for the "baby" size.

You can purchase these bags from Saint Laurent boutiques and department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Celine

Under the masterful leadership of Phoebe Philo, Celine has transformed in recent years to become a brand known for minimalist design. They are also a leather goods powerhouse with a number of options ideal for work.

All of their bags have become iconic, but their Cabas bags are simple, lightweight, and the perfect everyday bag, work or otherwise. They are crafted in beautiful leather and retail for about $1,800.

Celine bags are available in Celine boutiques, Barneys New York, and selected Nordstrom stores.

Prada

Known as the brand for women who work, Prada's designs are always work-appropriate and chic.

Case in point: their popular Saffiano Double-Zip Executive Tote Bag is a staple of working women around the world. Made from extremely durable Saffiano leather, a leather invented by the house's founder, it is both scratch-resistant and water-repellent. It retails from about $2,350.

Prada is available at Prada boutiques and department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fendi

Fendi purses first plunged into the limelight with their iconic "it" bag, the Baguette (made popular by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City). However, they have some lovely and luxurious bags for your work wardrobe.

Their new standout bag is the Fendi 2Jours, a beautifully proportioned bag with plenty of understated elegance. It is a very structured, ladylike bag with a matte leather finish and minimal hardware, and it pulls together any outfit. Prices start at $2,350.

These bags and other options are available at Fendi boutiques, Nordstrom, and Barneys New York.

Mulberry

Mulberry is another great options for luxurious bags. This storied British leather goods house has a wide array of options for the working woman.

The Mulberry Bayswater, priced from $1,700, is perhaps their most iconic work tote bag, but also consider the Pembridge Double Handle Bag (from $1,700) and the Tessie Tote (from $990).

You can purchase Mulberry handbags the company's boutiques and online at their e-commerce store, Net-A-Porter, and Harrods.com.

Valextra

Valextra is an Italian luxury leather goods and accessories company known for their minimalist and clean design. They are simple and elegant, and all their bags are handmade in Italy, where the company employs 60 craftspeople.

Most of their bags are perfect for work, but one to consider is the Babila, a structured style priced from $2,620.

You can purchase Valextra bags online at their e-commerce store, on Net-A-Porter, and at select Barneys New York locations.

Tips for Choosing Luxury Work Bags

If you have your heart set on a luxury leather tote or briefcase, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many choices, all beautiful and stylish. Knowing what to look for in your next purchase will help narrow things down, though. Keep an eye out for these specific features and traits:

Prioritize Durability

For a long-wearing, durable leather bag, look for treated leathers that have texture stamped on them. Consider options like cross-hatch Saffiano leather from Prada or pebbled or drummed leather, commonly used in Celine purses. These are much easier to maintain than their smooth leather counterparts as they resist scratches and fingerprints. Many treated leathers are also water-resistant.

Consider Weight

Look for a bag that isn't too heavy. If the bag is too heavy when it's empty, it will be an uphill struggle to carry it when it's stuffed full of your laptop and work documents.

Avoid Overt Logos

A general rule of thumb is that the bag should not overshadow the wearer, especially in a work situation. While it might be tempting to go all out and splurge on an easily-recognizable logo-ed bag, restrain yourself and look for more subdued, minimal designs that won't draw attention away from your work.

Choose a Design You Love

What makes a luxury leather tote bag isn't just the quality of the leather, but the design itself. The trend in recent years has leaned towards simple, minimalist design focusing on proportion and color instead of crazy embellishment, like overt logo placement or heavy hardware. Purchase a bag that you love, and it will never be a waste of money.

Take Care of Your Bag

A well-made leather bag is extremely durable and can last you for years. However, it's essential that you give the bag proper care and maintenance.

If You Can Afford, Invest

While not everyone needs to have a luxury bag, there is no question that a work bag that you will carry every day for a very long time is a better investment than an evening purse that you might only carry a handful of times a year. Consider the cost-per-use of a purchase and make wise decisions; there's a universe of beautiful, well-made leather bags to choose from.

Luxury Leather Totes and Briefcases for Women