Industry analysts have speculated that designer replica handbags brands have lost their cachet since they are now so ubiquitous. But perhaps there’s an alternative explanation for their decline: These bags are no longer serving women well.
In reporting this article, I spoke to three dozen women about the bags they were using for work. The majority, like Baigún, carry multiple bags to the office, creating a hodgepodge system to carry their workout gear, tech devices, a packed lunch, and makeup. Many have abandoned any effort to look elegant on their commute. They often turn to men’s bag brands for utility, carrying sturdy backpacks or laptop messenger bags, and have a separate, prettier bag for smaller items.
The good news is that several startups have noticed this gap and are reimagining the women’s work bag. Many of these bags are under $400.
Brands like Knomo, for instance, think carefully about the technology that women are carrying to work, creating special padded compartments for devices and pockets for cords. Caraa designs bags with special breathable sections for sportswear and shoes, but that don’t look like gym bags, so they look good with a professional outfit. Lo & Sons has built a whole suite of thoughtfully designed lightweight bags that are perfect for travel, but that you wouldn’t be embarrassed about bringing to the office upon your arrival. Mezzi leather bags are both beautiful and full of useful tools, like built-in chargers and little lights to inform you that your phone is ringing. But these technologies are subtle and fade into the background, so what stands out is the bag’s clean lines and luxurious materials.
These little touches may seem small at first, but they often have a big impact, allowing the bag to do more and to be used in more contexts.
In popular best miu miu bag design today, there is a rigid dichotomy between fashion and function. “When we were doing research, we found that a lot of fashion designers focus on aesthetics, but are not really thinking about a modern woman’s lifestyle,” says Jan Lo, who cofounded luxury-bag startup Lo & Sons in 2011. “Fashion designers tended to treat women as objects on which to drape their creations, but these women are on the go. They want to look good, but they are also professionals with jobs to do.”
For women who travel a lot for work, finding a practical but attractive bag is a big challenge. Lo was inspired by his mother who had been on the hunt for lightweight, elegant travel bags that allowed her to carry her things around without hurting her back. She was frustrated by what was out there: luggage companies, like Samsonite or American Tourister, were great at distributing weight ergonomically and providing padding for tech devices, but their designs weren’t particularly feminine, says Lo. “We saw this as the biggest gap in the market.”
Lo set out to create a suite of travel-friendly bags for professional women. The Seville is perhaps the most elegant and versatile of the lot. It’s a tote bag for laptops that comes in either the 13-inch ($398) or 15-inch size ($428). It consists of a leather shell—you can pick from saffiano or vachetta leather—and a nylon interior with plenty of pockets for a tablet, pens, and other items. The key innovation of the bag is that you can easily swap the leather shell for a nylon one, transforming the bag into a lightweight travel bag that can be attached to your suitcase for easy wheeling. The swapping process takes under a minute and it was well worth it, I found, because it made traveling so much more convenient. And when I arrived at my destination, I could swap back the leather so that I had an elegant bag to bring to the office.
They also sell separate leather shells, so that women can change colors each season without having to buy a whole new bag.
Lo & Sons has other similarly well-designed bags for travel. The leather Claremont ($300) must be one of the most feminine and elegant DSLR camera bags on the market, while the Pearl ($248) is a leather cross-body bag that has enough space for an iPad. Their lightweight overnight bags, such as the nylon O.G. ($295) are a more stylish alternative to those sold by traditional luggage companies and have smart touches, such as special shoe compartments, a panel that goes over suitcase handles, and padded laptop sleeves.
Before launching Caraa last year, Council of Fashion Designers of America award-winning designer miu miu outlet Carmen Chen Wu and finance veteran Aaron Luo commissioned research about women’s lifestyles. After studying 500 women across the country, they discovered that most go through six activities every day, from work to kids’ playdates to meals, and perhaps most importantly, a sports activity. When asked about their daily priorities, a proportion said that exercise is a daily necessity, something that they absolutely would not forgo.
Dozens of athleisure brands have popped up in the last five years, creating yoga pants and tank tops that can seamlessly go from professional settings to sports, but Wu and Luo discovered that the bag category was an afterthought. In their market analysis, they found that only 5.2% of fashion and activewear brands had bag offerings. This was consistent with my conversations with women, who said they often brought sneakers to work with them, using either a traditional gym duffle bag or a canvas tote. A couple would awkwardly stuff their shoes into an oversize work tote.
Enter Caraa sport. Its Studio bag ($395), which I tested, is a trendy nylon bag with leather trim and gold or silver accents that has special breathable compartments for sports shoes and clothes. It also has another roomy section designed for work items, including a small laptop or tablet, while another small section can fit valuables. One of the most interesting aspects of the bag is that it can easily be configured in three ways, as a satchel, a messenger bag, or a backpack. I found that I switched styles during the day, using the backpack mode when biking or wearing gym clothes, then switching to the regular handbag mode at the office.
Women who are looking for cheap miu miu bags that protect their devices do not have many options. As Eva Rawson, the women’s products design director at British brand Knomo points out, many brands producing laptop bags still base their designs on the original cases that computer companies sold together with laptops. They tended to be rectangular, made of inexpensive nylon, and constructed in masculine silhouettes, like briefcases or messenger bags. It has taken a long time for designers to go back to the drawing board when creating tech bags for women.
Knomo, which was founded in 2004, creates bags that adapt to modern technology and aesthetics. Each of their bags comes with a padded compartment that is tailored to a specific device, from an iPad to a 13-inch laptop to an iPhone. But beyond thinking about technology, the brand is obsessive about helping people get organized, with plenty of thoughtfully placed pockets and compartments for miu miu handbags sale and chargers. Most of their bags come in both a nylon version and a leather version, to accommodate many budgets. “This is a really interesting company, since we are constantly thinking about how we can innovate about how people carry technology,” designer Eva Rawson tells me. “They don’t even have to look like a traditional work bag anymore. We can get very creative with structure.”