The Steele Maiden: What's In My Work Bag

You know what they say – you’re only as strong as the bag you’re carrying. Okay maybe that’s not exactly it, but the bag I carry to work quite literally has to have my back throughout the day, whether I get invited to a last minute event after work I need to spruce up my look or I’m running on empty and desperately need a snack. Below – the things I never leave home on a Monday-Friday without.



Keys, wallet (preferably with a bit of cash and a stocked metrocard inside) and phone. Add to that list my glasses and headphones. Can’t leave without.


Band-aids, Advil, bobby pins and a granola bar (I love Kind Bars or Trader Joes’ cereal bars). I don’t ever want to be walking around with a splitting headache, rumbling stomach, messy hair or blisters forming on my feet if I can avoid it. These save me from all of those.


I always keep a bold lipstick, mascara and statement earrings tossed in my bag. Just in case. You never know when you may need to add a little extra sparkle to an otherwise plain office look and armed with just these 3 simple things you can get the job done. Lately I’ve also been carrying this touch of highlighter and a silk scarf that can be put in my hair, on my bag or around my neck to totally switch up my outfit.


To me, the work week is all about efficiency. So while I may not get to take an hour long lunch break in the park, if it happens – I’ll be kicking myself if I don’t have my book in my bag (I know, I know.. I could do Kindle or Audiobooks to not have to schlep an entire book in my bag – but I just can’t give up the turning of a page). Likewise, one of my favorite hot tea bags is perfect pick-me-up if I find myself in the midst of a bad day or am not feeling well. Same goes for stamps. If I’m out and pass a shop with postcards, I can grab one – jot a quick note to a long distance friend or grandparent and simply pop it in the mail. It’s something I always used to think would be nice to do but then would forget to mail them later and now – problem solved. Lastly, a Polaroid or two because I like to stick them in the pockets of my bags as hidden little reminders of happy moments or places (one of my top 10 tips for reducing stress at work from this post).

Most often, all of this is tossed my Radley London black leather backpack that I’ve carried a million times since last year and is yet to show a single sign of wear or tear. Plus it keeps my hand free and goes with practically everything. Below, a few more carry-alls that would fit the bill.