Bags are probably my favorite accessory (besides shoes), because they're functional and can elevate your overall style even further. It's crazy how many types of bags there are out there: backpacks, laptop bags, messenger bags, duffel bags, and so many more. Some bags do a good job of balancing form and function, while others are very fashion-oriented and don't really provide much utility. I'm here to bring you the 4 types of bags that are essential for you to make your life easier and also help you look good at the same time. As a quick note, I didn't include suitcases in this article, because they're technically not a "bag," but I'll definitely dedicate a whole article to suitcases in the future!
As the most essential item on this list, the backpack is for everyone and for every situation. Of course, there are different types ranging from really casual to really formal, but my personal favorite is the "Herschel style" backpack. The grey/brown combination is conservative enough to work with slightly formal attire, but fits in equally as well with athleisure clothes. Plus this design specifically is timeless and keeps your storage simple by replacing tons of zippers with a clean drawstring-type opening (there's something really satisfying about the quick pull of a drawstring). A good backpack should be able to fit all of your necessities without looking too bulky.
Pictured: Steve Madden Solid Utility Backpack
2. Weekender Bag
Weekender bags are the absolute best. As you can tell by the name, they're the perfect size for a quick weekend getaway, usually around 2-3 days. That's why I like these bags, but it's not why I love these bags. The reason I love these bags is because they elevate your outfit, effortlessly. You're wearing just a hoodie and sweatpants? No problem, just carry a weekender bag and it instantly makes you look cooler. They're crazy versatile, as long as you get one in a neutral color like mine, and they're much more manageable than a full-on suitcase or roller bag. In my opinion, get a leather or canvas weekender bag. The extra cost is worth it because you want your weekender bag to be durable, since it's going to go get a little banged up while it's by your side on all of your short trips.
Pictured: no longer sold, but purchased at Ted Baker Outlets
3. Work/Laptop Bag
This one is for all you corporate workers out there. If you're making trips to the office regularly, you need a solid work bag. While you can use a backpack, I think a proper work/laptop bag looks more mature and classy. The three most important factors in a work bag are: 1) comfort, 2) durability, and 3) size. Comfort is important because you're going to be carrying this for most of the day, so it's crucial that you don't create more pain for yourself. Secondly, it has to be durable to handle those crazy commutes and keep everything in there (like a laptop) safe. Lastly, size is important to fit everything you need comfortably. Bigger is not necessarily better here - you need a size that's big enough to fit all your items without becoming too bulky. Tumi is the king of work bags, but it's definitely on the more expensive side. I've found a lot of Tumi deals at Nordstrom Rack, however, so you might be able to get a quality piece at a decent price.
Pictured: no longer sold, but purchased at Nordstrom Rack
4. Active Bag
Yes, this is indeed a packable bag. When it comes to carrying everything you need for more athletic/outdoors activities, there's two ways you could go about it. You could take the duffel bag route, which holds a ton of stuff, but is bulkier to carry around. Or you could go the backpack route which holds less stuff, but is more convenient. When I go to the gym or do anything outdoors, I prefer minimizing what I bring with me as much as possible. This is to let me focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on what I'm carrying. As a result, I use this portable backpack from Coalatree. It's made out of a super strong, yet light material, it's waterproof, and it can fold up into a tiny ball when you don't need to use it. This makes it great for packing into other bags when you're taking a trip somewhere, and don't want to lug around a full-sized backpack as an extra carry-on or personal item.
Pictured: Coalatree Nomad Packable Backpack