The briefcase has long been romanticized as a symbol of style, sleekness and, most of all, success. Think of any movie that centers on the story of wildly powerful (and often immoral) businessmen—i.e. Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short and the like—and it undoubtedly also stars a handful of the leather top-handled carryalls. The thing is, if you’ve ever actually toted a briefcase to and from the office on a daily basis you know just how cumbersome and flat out impractical they really are. Dressing smart isn’t the same as smart dressing, so if ease, comfort and functionality are important to you, the work backpack is where it’s at.
If images of the backpack you owned in high school are flooding your brain right now, dispel them immediately. There are endless options that are fashion forward and decidedly mature but still in a cool, trendy way. Below is a lineup of eight backpacks for work that tick every kind of aesthetic and function, so no matter if you bring your own laptop to the co-working space daily or tote gym clothes to the high-rise instead, there’ll be something that’ll work for you.
Filson Ranger Leather-Trimmed Twill Backpack ($215, mrporter.com)
This spacious pack will fit your electronics, lunch, gym clothes and more, and it’ll look really good while doing it. Made of olive green twill, it boasts brown leather accents and gold hardware for a relaxed vintage look. The buckled storm flap will ensure your gear stays protected and secure, so if you bike to work and get stuck in an unexpected rainstorm you won’t have to worry about what’s on your back.
PX Clothing Cedric Perforated Backpack ($50, pxclothing.com)
All things ‘90s have remained cool since the decade they were born in and this perforated vegan leather backpack is no different. It’s slightly slouchy; features multiple pockets for your wallet, chargers and more; and pairs just as easily with sweats and a t-shirt as it does with a button-up.
Bric’s X-Travel Nomad Backpack (120, nordstrom.com)
If you travel often for work consider investing in this nylon carryall. A water-resistance PVC coating ensures it’ll keep your valuables protected against rain, dirt and whatever else travel throws at you, while its Tuscan full-grain leather trimmings render it both practical and stylish.
The North Face Berkeley Backpack (59, endclothing.com)
Simplicity and understated coolness render this backpack by The North Face an easy choice for anyone whose office defines professional attire as non-holey jeans and a clean top. It’s outfitted with a laptop compartment, multiple zip pockets and a bike light loop.
Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Flapover Expandable Backpack ($269, briggs-riley.com)
This sleek and minimalistic backpack was made by a company that specializes in travel gear, so naturally it’s incredibly ergonomic. A front pocket opens to reveal ample storage compartments for your tablet, charger cords, pens, wallet and more, while its main compartment is the perfect size to slide your laptop into. If you need more room, a zipper around the backpack allows it pop out and expand.
Eastpak Orbit Sleek’r Suede Rust Backpack ($160, toddsnyder.com)
Featuring a padded tablet sleeve and spacious main compartment, this option is designed to fit everything you might need without any bells or whistles. It’s main appeal is its appearance; made out of a buttery soft Suede Rust leather, it’s modern simplicity at its best.
PX Clothing Hank Backpack ($65, pxclothing.com)
This is another option that seamlessly combines form and function. It’s incredibly lightweight, boasts padded straps and features a sleek minimalistic shape. A padded laptop sleeve and multiple pockets make it ideal for storing your tech, work supplies and more.
Saturdays NYC Hannes Backpack ($215, saturdaysnyc.com)
While it might look like this backpack was made more for looks than practicality, don’t be fooled. Open it up and you’ll find an interior laptop pocket in the main cavity along with multiple mesh zipper pockets. You’ll be able to find what you’re looking for immediately without having to rustle through pocket after pocket.