A woman’s life, packed with duties from career to community, calls for more than a tiny handbag. 

Step aside, pocketbooks and clutches. This is a job for the messenger bag. 

Inside the best messenger bags for women, there’s room for a wallet, a day planner, a laptop or tablet, a cell phone, and pens as well as a protein bar, hand sanitizer, and maybe a bottle of water. And lipstick, of course! 

Carrying everything needed for a day on the go, the lightweight messenger bags for women stand up to full schedules with ease. When put to use for business, a messenger bag can become a portable office. When traveling, they store everything you need for a cruise, a weekend getaway, or just a day trip to parks and museums. 

Versatile and roomy, messenger bags carry essentials for business and handle everything needed for travel or leisure. Some even convert from shoulder bags to backpacks or tote bags. They are a true style necessity. 

What to Look For  

The best messenger bags for women offer multiple features with beautiful form as well as plenty of function. Here are a few must-haves when choosing the perfect messenger bag for you. 


Just because a messenger bag is a workhorse does not mean it can’t be fashionable. Many women carry their messenger bags during the workday, so a polished, professional look is as important as the functionality of the bag. When traveling or relaxing, you may want a messenger bag with a sporty look or vintage vibe. 


A well-designed messenger bag will have pockets sized for all your electronics, plus other areas for cosmetics, a wallet, and more. Larger bags will even have space for gear such as flexible flats for walking comfortably or clothes for your lunch hour yoga class. Minimalist mini messenger bags pack a lot of pockets in a small carry-all. 


The best messenger bags for women also function well. They’re easy to carry, with straps that don’t dig into your shoulders and closures that stay closed yet are easy to open. Your essential items are secure but easy for you to access. Like you, they’re versatile, with some even changing from a tote, to a shoulder bag, and even into a backpack. 


Messenger bags for women come in a variety of sizes, so the best one is always going to be the one that accommodates all your gear without being too large or overstuffed. You’ll also want to size your messenger bag to your body size, making sure it’s not overwhelming. 


Messenger bags range in materials – cotton to leather, polyurethane to canvas. Choose a messenger bag that suits your needs and fashion sense. The colors of messenger bags will accent your wardrobe, either providing a pop of color or coordination with your favorite colors. 


Few things are as frustrating as having a messenger bag wear out just months after ordering it. Some materials, such as leather or polyurethane, are more durable than others, such as cotton and canvas. Even if you choose a fabric messenger bag, you’ll want it to be sturdy enough to stand up to your schedule. 

To find the best messenger bags for women, we tested dozens of bags for functionality and durability. Style was also important, so we also rated them for their looks and versatility in different settings, such as whether they would be just as welcome at a board meeting as they would be on a weekend trip or to the local coffee house for a writing session with a pumpkin spice latte. Here are our findings.  

Quick Reference Guide:

Best Small/Mini Messenger Bag/Purse: Fossil Women’s Kinley Small Crossbody Handbag

Best Medium/Large Messenger Bag: TIMBUK2 Classic Messenger Bag

Most Affordable (But Highly Rated) Messenger Bag: Sweetbriar Messenger Bag

Most Stylish Messenger Bag: EaseGave Briefcase Messenger for Women

Best Convertible Messenger Bag: Fossil Women’s Camilla Leather Convertible Backpack Messenger

Best Messenger Bag for Day Trips: Leaper Canvas Messenger Bag

Best Messenger Bag for Laptops: ECOSUSI Women’s Briefcase Messenger

Best Leather Messenger Bag: LeVogue Leather Messenger Bag

Best Small/Mini Messenger Bag/Purse: Fossil Women's Kinley Small Crossbody Handbag

Known for its fashionable watches and accessories, Fossil created this smart little leather messenger bag. This bag won’t weigh you down, since it measures just 8.63 inches by 7 inches. It won’t hold your laptop computer, but it’s a great partner for a city vacation or a lunchtime errand.  

This is a mini bag, but there’s plenty of room for your cell phone, sunglasses, wallet, keys, and cosmetics. The shoulder strap is adjustable and can go across the body for comfort and security. It’s also armed with eye-catching exterior pockets.  

Small crossbody bags are great for those who love the messenger bag style but feel overwhelmed with larger messenger bags or want to travel light. Minimalists love these mini messenger bags because they offer just enough space and neatly organize necessities.  

Check out current pricing here: Fossil Mini Messenger Bag

Honorable Mentions:

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Essential Messenger Bag

Vera Bradley Women’s Signature Cotton Hipster Crossbody Purse

Best Medium or Large Messenger Bag: TIMBUK2 Classic Messenger Bag

A step up in size, this water-resistant messenger bag from TIMBUK2 has plenty of room for your laptop, pens, phone – even files, and a water bottle. Extras with this bag include a low-profile grab handle for easy carrying, partially concealed flap buckles with bottom compression straps for secure closure, and well-placed hook and loop closures that won’t snag your clothes. 

 Made from colorful Poly Tweed, among other man made materials, this messenger bag comes with a lifetime warranty. Its sporty style is perfect for travel, weekend errands, or a trip to the gym. It has plenty of room for your laptop plus sunglasses, a wallet, cosmetics, a cell phone, and maybe even a change of clothes. 

 Gift this classic messenger bag to your favorite graduate. She’ll be sure to use it on campus if she’s heading to college or at work if she’s starting her first job. 

You can shop this item here: TIMBUK2 Classic Messenger Bag

Also worth noting: 

Sechunk Vintage Military Leather Canvas Messenger Bag

BAOSHA 17-inch Messenger Bag

Most Affordable (But Highly Rated) Messenger Bag: Sweetbriar Messenger Bag

This cotton canvas messenger bag has a cool vintage look and plenty of roomy pockets including side pockets that will hold even larger water bottles. Its front flap closure has a Velcro closure for ease and security. The padded adjustable-length shoulder strap will keep you comfortable. This will keep your favorite read, keys, wallet, cosmetics and more rounded up in retro fashion.  

 This bag’s olive canvas fabric gives it a military vibe, and since that’s a popular shade right now, chances are the Sweetbriar messenger bag will accentuate and coordinate well with your wardrobe. 

 Be careful with electronics stored in this bag, since it’s not padded and doesn’t have structural support. It comes with a one-year limited warranty and is sturdy enough for regular use.  

Check out current pricing here: Sweetbriar Messenger Bag

Other great value messenger bags:

OIWAS Messenger Bag

Targus Messenger Bag

Most Stylish Messenger Bag: EaseGave Briefcase for Women

Searching for a messenger bag with polish? Look no further. This lilac Eco-leather laptop briefcase features classic styling, grey-tone hardware, and an embossed logo for office-ready good looks. Inside, its roomy, structured interior has four large compartments, two slip pockets, and one zippered pocket that can handle all your essentials.  

 Pastel without being an entry in the Easter parade, this messenger bag for women is businesslike and functional but still feminine. Its color would be the perfect addition to a navy skirt suit and power pumps.  

 A thick padded section will protect your 14- to 15.6-inch laptop or tablet. A comfortable handle and wide cross-body strap make for easy carrying. 

Current pricing available here: EaseGave Messenger/Briefcase for Women

Other fashionable choices:

Kamlui Laptop Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Reaction Chelsea Messenger Backpack Bag

Best Convertible Messenger Bag: Fossil Women's Camilla Leather Convertible Backpack

Convertible messenger bags are designed for women on the go. Hands-free movement comes with the Camilla’s backpack option or carry this Fossil bag on your shoulder for easier access.  

Versatility is this messenger bag for women’s superpower. It’s a backpack, shoulder bag, and tote bag, stretching your fashion dollar.  

 Its classic good looks will take you from the office to social events, travel to a civic meeting, with ease. Black leather coordinates with everything and offers durability as well as style. Inside, there’s enough room for a 13-inch laptop, a day planner, and plenty more necessities. The clean lines of this messenger bag are neat for the office but not out of place during your off hours. 

Shop this item here: Camilla Leather Messenger/Backpack

Also notable options:

ECOSUSi Backpack Messenger for Women

CoolBell Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag

Best Messenger Bag for Day Trips: Leaper Canvas Messenger Bag

This sling-style messenger bag is water-resistant and ready to hold all your gear for a trip for business or sightseeing. Inside, it can accommodate a slim laptop up to 13 inches. With vintage style, this Leaper canvas messenger bag is loaded with zippered and open pockets inside and out, so it will keep your wallet, keys, tickets, and guidebooks organized, with plenty of room left for snacks, sunglasses, and sunscreen. 

 The buckles on the top flap open and close easily, and the zippered pocket on the top flap can hold tickets and identification for security and easy access when needed.  

 Weekend trips or a flight to Europe – this bag will get you and your gear there effortlessly. This messenger bag’s pockets hold important items securely, yet you’ll be able to reach them easily when needed. 

Check out current pricing here: Leaper Canvas Messenger Bag

Runners up:

Leaper Canvas Sling Bag

Mygreen Canvas Cross Body Messenger Bag

Best Messenger Bag for Laptops: ECOSUSI Women’s Briefcase

his red women’s messenger bag is all business but with a detachable bow for a feminine touch. This messenger bag in the color of a great red matte lipstick is the sassiest entry in our review. Even looking at it made us smile. 

 Made with vegan leather and designed with a top handle and a removable and adjustable shoulder strap, this messenger bag can be used as a briefcase or a shoulder bag. 

 Inside, this beautiful messenger bag provides solid protection for your laptop computer. Its padded pocket will accommodate a laptop computer up to 15.6 inches and has other zippered and open pockets for your wallet, cellphone, files, a day planner, and more. There are even two pockets under the flap for easy access. Sturdy and structured, this bag comes with a one-year limited warranty.  

For latest pricing, click here: ECOSUSI Women’s Messenger Briefcase

Other great choices:

Kenneth Cole Reaction Laptop Messenger Bag

Vera Bradley Lighten Up Laptop Messenger Bag


Best Leather Messenger Bag: LeVogue Leather Messenger Bag

Buttery-soft brown vintage leather makes this LeVogue leather messenger bag a pleasure to use, and it’s as functional as it is beautiful. LeVogue is known for its high-quality top-grain leather accessories, and this messenger bag does not disappoint.  

 The vintage leather is supple and long-lasting, making this bag among the most durable we reviewed. Brass hardware and double-stitching will stand up to frequent use at work or on the weekends.  

 An adjustable padded shoulder strap will make carrying this messenger bag comfortable. 

A laptop computer up to 14 inches, files and notebooks, a wallet, keys, sunglasses, and the rest of your gear will all have pockets in this well-designed messenger bag. It’s on our list of messenger bags for women, but men love it, too.  

Check out current pricing here: LeVogue Leather Messenger Bag

More yummy leather selections:

KPL Leather Crossbody Bag

LOVELOOK Laptop Bag for Women                              

Packing it all up 

Messenger bags for women come in designs and styles as unique as the women who use them. The uses for these versatile bags are myriad, but they’re nearly ubiquitous in business offices and airports. 

 More comfortable to carry than a briefcase, and far more stylish, messenger bags for women put all your essential electronics, files, planners, and more at your fingertips when traveling for business or just going to a board meeting. 

 Planning a vacation? Plan to take a sporty version of a messenger bag that will carry sunglasses, tanning lotion, and a novel for a beach trip, guidebooks, and tickets for a trip to London, Paris, or Madrid or your laptop for writing while you’re relaxing in a mountain cabin.  

 Space and style, versatility and durability, comfort, and bold fashion – they’re all considerations when selecting the best messenger bags for women. The choices are many, but we’ve narrowed your choices to make shopping easier. Now comes the fun part – packing one of these bags up and putting it to use!