by Joe Henry | November 16, 2016
You carry a lot of stuff around town -- but you want to cut a striking profile while doing it. To do that, you need the right bag.

"The Kate Spades are always classy," says Nichole Gunn, director of marketing and communications at Incentive Solutions. Among Gunn's top sellers is the Cedar Street Maise Satchel, which is a go-anywhere bag -- good for work or a weekend outing.

"In terms of aesthetic, a large trend that is continuing on through 2017 are thicker and embellished guitar straps for handbags," says Jessica Brown, Senior director of luxury goods & gift cards, Rymax Marketing Services, Inc. She notes this aesthetic in Zac Posen's holiday collection, such as in his Iconic Eartha Top Handle and Soft Top Handle -- both of which come with embellished floral or grommet straps.

But women really start to hoard their points to acquire a bag with a label like Fendi, Chloe, Chanel, or Louis Vuitton. One of the most coveted items from Incentive Solution's catalog -- offered through its Uniquely Yours program to award top employees -- is Fendi's Black Mini Peekaboo Bag (pictured here). The Peekaboo is a luxe bag, yet simple by design. Its aesthetic is to be subtly sophisticated -- a basic design made with quality materials both inside and out.

The Faye Shoulder Bag from Chloe is a little flashier, made with black leather with a suede front flap. It's also got a curb chain that attaches to the front.

But a handbag or shoulder bag isn't always enough. Sometimes, you just need a little more space, especially if you're lugging around a laptop. MCM makes luxury backpacks for women, and one of its most popular models, according to Rymax's Brown, is the Stark Medium Backpack in cognac. For a more youthful look, Brown suggests the Julian backpack from Rebecca Minkoff. "It can be worn traditionally or slung on one shoulder," Brown says. The Julian is available in numerous colors, but for the holidays, Rymax offers it in a rich, dark cherry.

For jetsetting women, there's the Henri Bendel convertible backpack -- which can be worn as either a backpack or a purse, Gunn says.
And men should also have the option of getting a great luxury backpack. In recent years, they've been making a comeback among white collar professionals.

"[Backpacks] have been growing for the past four years," says Michael Landry, vice president of special markets at Tumi. "It's all about fashion and 'hands-free' functionality. If you stood at a train station in lower Manhattan in the morning, you'd see some of the most high-powered men in America coming off the train to go to work, wearing Allen Edmonds shoes, Brioni suits and backpacks."

One of Tumi's top-sellers is the Shaw backpack from its Alpha Bravo collection, built for durability and a high level of functionality. And for a sleek, simpler aesthetic, there's the Uri Minkoff Bondi backpack.