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03. 18. 2008

Laptop bag bonanza - best of the best

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When I started out in business (dinosaurs still roamed the earth), women had no choice in laptop bags; you had to use a "man" bag, a boring black utilitarian-looking thing. Thank goodness that's all changed.

Today we have choices of laptop bags that look like stylish, expensive handbags: fun, flirty ones that weigh nothing yet cradle your laptop, rock n' roll choices, retro bags, functional yet pretty roller bags. Your bag says as much about you as your FaceBook page these days.

In our ongoing effort to narrow down choices for our discerning readers, we present a round-up of road-tested laptop bags. (For those of you taking notes, our scientific study utilized a 15-inch MacBook, with all the peripherals, and unless otherwise noted, all tested fit a 15.4 inch laptop.) And we will be giving away one of almost all these bags, so make sure you're signed up to our newsletter!

MADDIE POWERS by Mobile Edge for Her

No one is going to mistake you for a staid executive with this sassy laptop bag called the "Maddie Powers," which holds up to holds up to a 15.4" laptop. You probably already know Mobile Edge for their superior bags, but recently they decided to start designing for women. As the company spokesman says, "We knew we were missing something. We then decided to break down our collections into two categories, one 'For Her' and one 'For Him.' It is that simple. Our women’s Collection was designed by women for women." As you can see, the Maddie Powers collection (priced at $90) showcases the covers of authentic pulp magazines & digest novels from the 1940s and 1950s.

What's to love about this bag:

- Superior "SafetyCell" computer protection
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- Opposing velcro straps allow over-stuffing (you could literally use this as an overnight bag, it's that big)
- Cell phone pocket
- Interior zippered pocket for organization
- Removable soft shoulder pad
- Accessorized with "Lucky Seven" dice
Designed by Maddie Powers

Mobile Edge also has a beautiful line of Komen bags and they donate 10% of the sales price of each Komen laptop bag they sell back to the Foundation. I have my eye on the pink leather tote.


GINA B.
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When I started this piece, I discovered some great backstories - creative women frustrated by the lack of choice and deciding to do something about it by starting their own companies. Gina B. (Gina McGrath) told me how, after spending time in luggage check-in lines she discovered two different scenarios: . . . "the polished businesswomen extremely well put together carrying bulky, black, nylon bags that were obviously designed with a man in mind. And, then there were the polished businesswomen extremely well put together carrying their laptops in unpadded Louis Vuitton or Kate Spade purses. What I didn’t see were women carrying laptop bags that were both functional and fashionable. This gave me the seed of an idea that would later develop into gina b. international."

Her best-seller, the Luca Bella is gorgeous, used as either a handbag or as a briefcase/laptop bag by adding the computer sleeve. Typical of all her bags are the beautiful detailing and great organizational features such as an inner zip pocket, cell phone pocket, pen pocket, and key snap. Made of sumptuous leather, it comes with croc embossed leather trim and a cotton canvas interior. Bello, bello.
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The Luca Bella is availlable in black, green, white, and now red. Gina B. donates 5% of the profit from the red version to the American Heart Association. At $360, it's the most expensive bag we tried, but reasonable when you consider it doubles as your purse. Shop< a href="http://www.ginabinternational.com/collection.html">online and shipping is only $5. As her logo says, it's "Fashion that Works."


LEXIE BARNES

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Just like Gina, Lexie Barnes wanted some choices - something "fun and fresh" --so started her self-named company. Her background in performing arts shines through in the cheery designs and fabrics. I tested the 2007 laptop Echo bag (shown in the Bali Hai print) which is on sale down from $100 to $35! (The 2008 Echo bags debut in July.)

"Our bags are popular because our look is so unique," says Lexie. We offer strong, durable products in prints that are really fun and exciting. You don't see them on everyone else walking down the street. Like our customers, our bags really stand apart from the crowd."

Features: Fully padded main compartment; front zippered pocket for power supply and accessories; slim rear pocket for folders or a magazine; padded, adjustable shoulder strap, dual zipper closure, and comfy carry handles. Fits 17" MacBook Pro or 15.4" widescreen PCs. Made of laminated canvas with nylon interior.

Lightweight and stylish, it'll put a smile on your face, pamper your laptop and won't break the bank.

Next up: Giddy Up by Pinder Bags, edotsquare and the Kensington Roller.

Posted by Evan    Category: accessories | computers | contests | feature | wearables
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