Luxury Leather Totes and Briefcases for Women: 7 Must-Have Styles

Woman wears a Prada bag

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

Luxury Leather Briefcases for Women Consider

There are tons of great options when it comes to designer briefcases and tote purses. If you have the money to splurge on one, then go big or go home. These designers reign supreme when it comes to luxury handbags.

Louis Vuitton

Although the brand is known for its 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 accessories true investment pieces for your work wardrobe.

The Softlot BB design is part purse and part briefcase. Its solid and sturdy structure gives the item durability as it holds its shape when set down. Its Epi leather covering gives a complimentary softness to the rigid shape and overall design. This bag can be carried over the shoulder, across the body, or by hand. It has three main compartments, perfect for storing all sorts of daily and work necessities. This particular bag retails for about $3,000.

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 totes are simple, lightweight, and the perfect everyday bag, work or otherwise. They are crafted in beautiful leather and retail at about $1,800 and upward.

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

Elise Soho with blue Celine bag

Prada

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

Case in point: their popular Medium Saffiano Leather Double Prada 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 $3,150.

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

Janet Lee attends Prada 'Double Bag' launch

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.

The Fendi Sunshine Shopper is a beautifully proportioned bag with a structured, ladylike look. The material is leather, and the bag comes with a heat-stamped Fendi Roma insignia. The Sunshine Shopper comes in several stunning colors including white, black, camel, burgundy, and grey. This work and style essential retails for $3,100. Another solid option from Fendi includes the Kan I, which retails for $2,650.

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

Woman carrying shopper by Fendi

Mulberry

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

The Mulberry Bayswater starts at $850 is perhaps their most iconic work tote bag. Not all Bayswaters are created equally, however, and they vary in everything from price to color to design and structure. This means that there is a Mulberry Bayswater briefcase-purse for just about everyone! The Iris is another great work option from this line. While the Iris has more of a purse look, the inside space is roomy and accommodating for elements of business and work.

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

Kate Moss's 'Bayswater' handbag by Mulberry

Valextra

Valextra is an Italian luxury leather goods and accessories company known for its 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 a few particulars to consider are the Passepartout, the Valextra v Tote Bag, and the Travel Iside Maxi Bag.

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

Stila Chan wears red jacket and a Valextra bag

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.

Laura Kampman wears an all black outfit with a white shirt and carries a Celine twisted cabas bag

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 embellishments, like overt logo placement or heavy hardware. Purchase a bag that will stay classic and timeless. Make sure you that love it, 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.

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Luxury Leather Totes and Briefcases for Women: 7 Must-Have Styles