I consider a laptop bag functional if it has several, separate compartments of different sizes and closures for me to store my myriad of work and personal items. There's nothing more I hate than digging through my bag to find my wallet or god forbid my iPhone slides down to the bottom of my bag. That's a good panicked 3-minutes of rummaging.
I'm willing to drop a nice penny on a good bag but it's got to last. Since I carry a lot of stuff with me all day, my bag can get pretty heavy. My laptop and accompanying accessories alone weigh over 5 lbs! I need a bag that is structurally-sound and can withstand that kind of weight. In the past I've definitely worn out several bags in a short amount of time.. leaving handles broken and threads coming loose.
Most laptop bags that are marketed for women are bulky and unattractive. I prefer bags that are made of real leather with a nicely lined interior, have simple, clean lines & contours and classic accents.
I need a bag that not only looks great but also feels good to carry around. I like my shoulders and would appreciate a bag that didn't totally wear them down. And cross-body/messenger-style bags are not really my thing. The crossbody strap kind of gets in the way of my outfit.
Ok, so maybe I'm asking for too much? Can't a girl have it all??
Coach has "business bags" marketed for both men and women but I honestly think the male bags are sexier (sorry, I'm not a monogram fan). I'm considering the New Crosby Leather Commuter or the New Crosby Leather Flap Business Brief.
A new player in the game, Alesya, claims to be the holy grail in chic laptop bags for women. And for $265, almost 50% less than the Coach bags, I'm definitely eying this as my next purchase. I just wish they came in black.