Choosing the perfect business bag can make that all-important difference between feeling professional and organised or disorganised and flustered, let’s face it, a feeling none of us want.
Because we’re often juggling busy jobs with family life and hectic schedules, functional handbags are a must, but we also need something that’s stylish and will hold its’ own in a professional wardrobe.
Our customers regularly say their Sarah Haran bags have changed their lives. And with each bag design road-tested for six months before it’s put into production, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about the best features in business bags for women.
We’ve distilled what we know here, to help guide your quest for the perfect work bag.
Get clear on what you’ll be using your bag for.
When choosing your business bag, it’s a good idea to ask yourself questions about how you use it as different jobs have very different needs. Do you carry a laptop to work? Do you drive or take public transport? Is foreign travel a big part of your role? How about day-to-night wear or weekend sports events?
Once you know this, you’ll have an idea of whether to go for something like our Michelle Carryall Organiser Tote which comes with an insert that’s perfect for keeping your notebooks, pen, phone and make up organised, and can fit a laptop amply.
Or whether to go for the Dahlia Tote, which also fits a laptop for the day and has six perfectly sized pockets for organisation - but is great for day-to-night as it features our 2-bags-in-1 design and a sleek, detachable Ivy Mini Bag for evenings.
If you want something compact for weekend sports events, but still want to look polished, the Marie Camera Bag updates a classic style in fresh colours, is a compact but roomy size and is designed for crossbody, hands-free wear.
Invest in quality.
When it comes to work, buying the best you can afford is an investment that pays off in the long run. If you work to the adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” stepping up a gear in the style stakes can help shift how others view you, as well as how you feel about yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of viewing spending on your work wardrobe as frivolous, it can be the difference between bagging a leadership role and being passed over.
All our bags also have a lifetime guarantee, so if you go by cost per wear, the investment will more than pay off over the years too.
Go for the right interior and lining.
A good functional handbag will have intelligent pocket design and internal storage to keep your life organised. If you need perfectly sized places to store pens, make up, note books and receipts, look for bags like our Jessica Bowling Bag which has six internal pockets. It also features an interior key chain to hook your keys for easy reach.
Also think about the lining. We choose light colours so you can see the contents of your bag easily. The lining in all our bags is made from quality split suede which is soft to the touch, and our pockets are double stitched at the top, so they won’t pull away over time.
If you’re in a profession where an open interior for carrying samples, swatches or even just your yoga gear works best, look for something like our Michelle Carryall Tote, used without the removable insert, for maximum room.
Check for versatility.
If you’re investing in a quality piece you can rely on, you’ll want to know that it’s versatile and can be worn with your existing wardrobe. Lizzie Edwards, personal stylist and image consultant, recommends every new item of clothing you buy should work with at least three items you already own - otherwise it’s time to send it back. We’d say this figure is even higher with staple items like investment business bags.
Our modular designs are great for giving you two-in-one functional handbags, but they also allow you to mix and match colours and textures. Say you want to match your handbag to your blush pink heels one day but clash them the next. With our Dahlia Tote Bag, you can swap in a Baby Pink Ivy Mini Bag front piece with a clashing Red Snake Print to do just that.
Check the shoulder straps.
Bags that have you bent over double in pain are an obvious no-no. Try looking for bags with versatility in how you can carry them, with options for over the shoulder or on your arm for example. That way, if you do start to feel uncomfortable in one area you can easily switch it up. Look for quality construction in the shoulder straps as well.
The leather straps on Sarah Haran bags are handcrafted to be robust but never bulky. They’re lightly padded so they’re incredibly cosy on the shoulder and won’t dig in, even if your bag’s loaded. You also have the option to remove the leather strap completely and add in a quality hardware chain that can be used on its own.