1. Don't buy full price. Work bags are pretty traditional, so it is easy to find a classic shape on sale. If you choose a statement colour that is still classic enough to be a neutral in your palette (think red, olive green, purple), it could be even easier to find a model that is being sold off.
2. Keep an eye on mid-season sales and offers on free S&H/P&P.
- Department stores that carry the brands above make bigger discounts in the sales that the brands themselves, as they are more interested in getting rid of their stock from one season to the other.
- The brands' outlets is where the remnant stock ends up. Find out where they are.
- Try to buy a model or a brand that you have seen in a shop.
- Buy from a seller with a very high customer rating (or a really good explanation of why it is not so, it happens with small sellers with bad luck.
- Always read the description carefully.
- Check the photographs of the bag carefully, both outside and -very important- inside, you don't want nasty surprises for signs of use.
- Ensure the bag is going to be packed for posting securely, not squeezed in and squashed in the process.
Interested in looking professional and ready for a promotion? Follow the label Work essentials.
Some brands for work bagsI have focused on affordable brands (somewhere between 100-250 GBP/155-400 USD/125-300 EUR) that do professional looking work bags and leather accessories that look and feel great:
- Radley makes great, high quality work bags that last for years and look great.
- Kate Spade New York, a bit on the girly side, but OK if that's what you are going for.
- Lodis makes nice, clean lines in interesting colours.
- J Crew for classic shapes in good quality leathers and fun colours.
- Dooney & Burke make very classic shapes and leather accessories.
- Cambridge Satchel Company, the IT bag for students, teachers and people in academia.