11 Perfect Bags to Take You From Workday to Workout

Grab Your Perfect Bag

workday to workout bags
Laura Williams

Who says you have to tote a ratty old duffle bag circa 1995 to the gym anymore? With the crossover between leisure wear and athletic wear hitting its peak, gym bags (and not-so-gym bags) have gotten makeovers that make them appropriate for practically every occasion. So go ahead and throw your laptop in with your gym shoes - these workday to workout bags have all your bases covered.

Some of the bags on this list are gym bags with a more fashionable (or functional) design, while others are traditional totes with gym-friendly features. Bags are listed from most casual to most fashionable, so pick your fave and hop to it.

Manduka The Rugged Roll Top

The Rugged Roll Top

If your daily work commute starts with a long trek on a bike and ends with a stop at the yoga studio, Manduka's The Rugged Roll Top has you covered ($120). The the padded backpack straps make cycling or walking to work more comfortable, while the spacious interior is perfect for work papers and a change of clothes. Best of all? The padded interior laptop storage and the designated yoga mat strap.

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Something Strong's Something Useful

something useful
Something Strong

Something Strong's Something Useful messenger bag ($129) is designed for the stylish man, but I think it makes the perfect accessory for anyone who wants to cart their goods in style. With separate phone and laptop slots you can keep your electronics safe, and the spacious interior is sufficiently sized for a change of clothes and a few small toiletries.

Possibly the best part? The bag is machine washable, so if it gets a bit stinky from toting your sweaty gear around, you can just throw it in the washer. 

Booq Boa Nerve Messenger

booq boa nerve

If you're a serious bike commuter, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bag than the Booq Boa Nerve messenger ($155). The weatherproof ballistic nylon exterior keeps your electronics (phone, tablet and laptop) safe no matter the weather, while the reflective piping enhance your visibility while on the road. Add to that the spacious interior pockets that are large enough to hold shoes, clothes and a water bottle, and you can basically take this bag everywhere.

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Baggallini Have It All Tote

Have It All Weekender

Baggallini's Have It All weekender bag ($98) really does allow you to have it all. It functions as an oversized shoulder bag with faux leather and metal accents that give it a fashionable flair. But its real merit is in its function, with three standout features: pockets, yoga storage and water-resistance. It's these three elements that turn this great work- and travel-appropriate bag to a gym-worthy tote. The multitude of pockets make it easy to organize and separate gym items (like shoes, water bottle, clothes and a toiletry bag) from work items, while the water resistance protects your work from potential spills. And the yoga storage? That feature's especially cool. The metal accents along the front of the bag actually unsnap to allow you to slip your yoga mat into the hidden external storage.

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CALIA by Carrie Underwood Signature

CALIA by Carrie Underwood Signature Bag
CALIA by Carrie Underwood

Believe it or not, the CALIA by Carrie Underwood Signature Bag ($110) is a gym-bag-first design. Which is hard to believe, given how stylish it is. But, under all that style is a bag with some very gym-appropriate features, including separate wet/dry storage for your gym shoes or sweaty clothes, four exterior pockets and five interior pockets for items like water bottles and toiletries. There's also a padded laptop sleeve, so you can stay connected wherever you are while keeping your electronics safe.

Quilted Koala East-West Bag

East-West Tote
Quilted Koala

The East-West Bag ($64) from Quilted Koala is the perfect example of beautiful, simple and functional design. The oversized tote is big enough for just about anything you'd want to throw in it, while its structured canvas is sturdy and durable with a friendly wipe-able lining. 

While the East-West bag may not have a multitude of inner and outer pockets, it does have designated tablet and phone compartments so you'll never miss an email or call. For more interior storage, add the matching Koala Kanvas makeup bag to your order ($15). .

3 Lily Pads Saugatuck Briefcase

Saugatuck Briefcase
3 Lily Pads

The beautiful 3 Lily Pads' Saugatuck Briefcase ($396) offers a level of versatility that's hard to surpass. The work-first design includes a padded laptop sleeve and interior pockets for your phone, keys and folders, while the large interior makes it perfect for lugging your gym clothes to-and-fro. Two of its best features are its sturdy coated canvas exterior that's prepared to withstand a more strenuous workload and its removable shoulder and backpack straps so you can always carry your gear however you want.

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Costella Emelyn Backpack

Emelyn Backpack

Hey Fashionistas - if you're the type who travels light to work and the gym (all you need is your phone, water bottle, toiletries and a change of clothes for yoga class), Costella's Emelyn Backpack ($300) just might be the perfect fit. The cowhide leather backpack with magnetic closure is the perfect fashionable work accessory as long as you don't need laptop storage, and the easy-to-carry backpack design looks just as good with yoga pants and athletic shoes as it does with a bomber jacket and slacks.

Knomo London Curzon

Knomo London Curzon
Knomo London

The stylish Knomo London Curzon tote ($199) is another work-first bag with an almost briefcase-like design, but don't let its sleek look fool you - this bag is perfect for the gym. In fact, the exterior nylon fabric is spray-coated for dirt and water resistance, while the exterior snaps on the side can be opened to increase the bag's capacity. In other words, there's plenty of room for a change of clothes and water bottle in addition to your laptop (in its designated, padded pocket), tablet, phone and work papers. In fact, all its interior and exterior pockets make it easy to stay organized no matter how much you stuff inside.

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Sorial Rubina Tote

Sorial Rubina Tote

When you're less concerned with pockets and organization and more concerned with fashion and sheer capacity, the Sorial Rubina Tote ($198) is the perfect solution. The fine, exotic snake-embossed leather is luxuriously soft and supple, and comes in seven different colors, so you can select the option that best matches your work wardrobe. The simple tote design goes well with any work outfit, while its large size (16.5 inches tall by 15 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep) makes it great for carrying a laptop, books, folders and a change of clothes. The interior pocket and key ring also make it possible to keep your phone and keys ready-at-hand so they don't get lost in the depths of the bag.

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Just keep in mind, this bag is leather, which means you shouldn't throw your sweaty clothes inside without additional protection. To make the interior more sweat-friendly, grab a Sweat Mate bag ($19 to $29, depending on size) to keep inside your Rubina tote so you can safely store your sweaty and wet clothing after your workout.

Tory Burch Ella Tote

Tory Burch Ella TOte
Tory Burch

Who doesn't want a Tory Burch bag to go from work to the gym? This designer Ella Tote ($195) is made from durable, water-resistant nylon with a magnetic snap closure and a roomy interior with pockets to separate your phone, tablet and keys from your water bottle, studio shoes and toiletries. 

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Bonus Tip! The STM Grace Deluxe Laptop Sleeve

STM Grace Deluxe Laptop Sleeve

If a bag doesn't have a built-in laptop sleeve, don't just throw your computer inside and hope for the best. Look into a separate laptop sleeve, like the STM Grace Deluxe option ($60). In addition to providing a padded sleeve designed to keep your laptop safe when you stash it in your normal gym bag or work satchel, it also has its own set of handles and a zippered pocket where you can stash your phone and keys. This means you can grab your sleeve and carry it as a bag when it's time to go light. Who doesn't love a product that does double-duty? 

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