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Picking a Professional Bag

Where and how you work determine which kind of professional bag best fits your lifestyle.

When you’re picking out an appropriate work bag, there are three factors to consider:

Are you a stuffer or an organizer? If you’re a stuffer, then multiple compartments will annoy you; but if you‘re an organizer, they will delight.

Are you a holder or a strapper? If you’re a holder, then you won’t care about a shoulder strap, which is a necessity for strappers. (A detachable shoulder strap satisfies both types.)

Are you classic or casual? Look at your shoes for a clue. If you wear pristinely polished Salvatore Ferragamo brogues to the office, then you probably lean toward traditional. But if you’re sporting chic Y-3 sneaks, then your style is definitely more casual.

Follow these tips, and you’re sure to find a bag that suits you.

1. The International Jettsetter

Whether you’re in stuffer or organizer mode, this is an eye-catcher. You have offices all over the world, and your chic briefcase sets the tone when you lay out your plans in the boardroom.

Spazzolato calfskin, single-gusset briefcase, $1,950, by Salvatore Ferragamo; 212-759-3822

2. The Financial Guru

Perfect for the strapper who demands mega-organization. Track the ups and downs of the market on your multiple BlackBerrys and your laptop, all stashed away in one solid, convenient carrying case.

Spazzolato top-zip leather Port bag, $250, by Kenneth Cole New York; kennethcole.com

3. The Executive Multitasker

Classically styled for both the strapper and the holder. You never know when you’ll have to pull out your laptop, headset, mobile phone or 3T USB memory bank for a client.

Coated cotton twill Bradley bag, $395, by Andrew Marc; andrewmarc.com

4. The Leisurely Leader

A casual choice is also professional enough for the strapper or holder. You get your work done quietly during off-hours, so your bag is understated and casual.

The Harrison leather business briefcase, $595, by Coach; coach.com

5. The Downtown Director

This casual bag is for the stuffer minus a computer or the organizer’s cache of technology. You don’t want your accessories to give away your age, so stash your iPhone and MacBook in a bag that also discreetly hides your paper date book and calculator.

Zippered Supply briefcase with interior computer sleeve and removable straps, $495, by Jack Spade; jackspade.com

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