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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Cornell

Fashion Forward: A Modern Approach to the Perfect Work Bag

How Gen Zers tote stuff around while still looking good

(Photo credit: Unsplash)

A good work bag is an important piece of many peoples’ wardrobes. It helps them to get where they need to go while making a fashion statement along the way. The utility of the bag, as well as the way the bag looks is important, especially in a business setting. It needs to fit an expressive professional aesthetic, but also carry their possessions to and from the office. While it may seem like a long list of needs, Gen Z is finding a way to satisfy them all in their personal work bags, and this blog will go over ways to do the same.

History of Work Bags

There have been many different work bags out there to choose from throughout history. One of the most classic options for men and women is the modern briefcase. Though it’s a typical accessory in the modern business world, its roots go back for centuries. According to an article from bag manufacturer Pad & Quill, the briefcase’s origins started in bags used by soldiers in the Roman empire. Similar bags were later used as carryall bags until pockets were invented in clothing, at which point they were used primarily by women in day-to-day life. This later changed when they were popularized for business and travel during the latter-half of the 20th century. The modern version we see today has gone beyond the traditional ability to carry documents, with newer iterations built to carry a variety of things like laptops and office supplies, effectively becoming a mobile office.

While the briefcase is one of several popular options of work bags, women have their own selection of bags. The one bag that appears to be most popular among women in business is a modern tote bag. While its design is simple, there’s an interesting history behind the modern version of the bag. Mahi, a luxury bag manufacturer, shares that the history of the tote bag began when L. L. Bean created a bag designed to help carry ice during the time of iceboxes in 1944. It later became a fashionable item in the 1960s once leather versions began to be produced. These newer leather bags are essentially what the tote bag is today, modern versions have more storage compartments and a laptop sleeve. However, all designs draw much inspiration from the original design of a simple bag with a handle.

How to Choose a Work Bag

When looking to pick a work bag that’ll fit you and your lifestyle, the number of options out there can make choosing stressful. However, Bustle can help with this problem as they provide several different ways to help you determine your needs and choose the perfect work bag. Some of these include thinking about when, and where you use your bag, what you use it for, what kind of versatility you need, and what functions the interior provides.

While this article talks primarily about styles for women, the same principles can be applied to finding a bag as a man. Additionally, an article by D’MARGE Magazine gives a rundown of some of the work bag options for men, sharing several different types of bags and their uses. Overall, there seems to be a work bag out there for everyone. All they have to do is find it.

The Gen Z Perspective

Since we’re all in a professional work environment at AGENZ PR, I decided to ask my peers to show off their work bags and share their thoughts on them so we can understand the Gen Z view of work bags. When asked about her work bag, Inaara Dharas had this to say:

Innara showing her work bag
Inaara Dharas - Client Manager

"It was pretty cheap and it's black so it goes with everything," said Dharas. "It's also really spacious so I can fit everything in there"

Shayna felt similarly about the capabilities of her work bag.

Shayna wearing her work bag
Shayna Russo - Senior Client Manager

"I like that it's big enough to carry all my stuff," said Russo. "I feel like in PR you can have a bunch of paperwork or files, and if you need to bring it everywhere you go a big bag is nice to have."

Jonathan also appreciates the features and fashion of his work bag.

Jonathan showing his work bag
Jonathan Stewart - Brand Manager

"It's really sturdy and it has a ton of different pockets so I can organize stuff in there," said Stewart when asked about the benefits of his bag. "It's also waterproof because it's leather, and it goes with a lot of the styles I wear."

The Conclusion

The work bag is an important part of fashion for anyone with a commute or travel related to work. Members of Gen Z recognize the dual purpose of these bags, noting that they need to be able to safely transport their work-related items to and from the office while still looking good at the same time. They can be used to express the style and personality of the individual while still serving a purpose from a utility standpoint. If you're someone who ever commutes for work, choosing the bag for you is an important step in developing your professional wardrobe.

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