Holiday Gift Guide: Fashionable Bags and Cases for Your Mobile Tech

We've got to carry all this tech around so we may as well carry it in something nice.
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K. T. Bradford
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We've got to carry all this tech around so we may as well carry it in something nice.

Women of style and substance should never have to settle for just any old bag when it comes to carrying their precious technology. Protecting your laptop, camera, smartphone, and tablet is important when toting them around town, and there's no reason under heaven that said protection must mean sacrificing personal style. I've found some seriously fashionable ways to carry and cover mobile tech that will appeal to all the stylin' women on your holiday gift list.

For Laptops

Ogio Hampton's Women's Tote Bag ($69)

Photo credit: Amazon

Photo credit: Amazon

On the outside, it's a normal looking tote bag. Inside there's a fleece-lined compartment for a laptop, a separate section for a tablet or eReader, and a base that provides some protection from short drops. I'm a big fan of the Raspberry color variant and love the button accents on the front. Fits laptops up to 15 inches.

Hex Sonic Backpack ($100)

Photo credit: Zappos

Photo credit: Zappos

Most of us left backpacks behind when we left school, but in cities where walking and commuting on public transportation are common, backpacks make carrying heavy laptops bearable. But with the Hex you don't have to look like you're still a student. The pattern on the canvas material has a very autumn chic feel to it and will even shake off spring rain. Fits laptops up to 17 inches.

Urban Junket t.o.t.e. {to observe the earth} Messenger/Backpack for 15 or 17 inch laptops ($147 - $167)

Photo credit: Urban Junket

Photo credit: Urban Junket

Don't want to choose between a messenger/tote or a backpack? This bag is both. Just switch up the straps depending on how you want to carry it or how heavy the load gets. It's also good for travel thanks to the luggage handle sleeve on the back.

Earth mothers will appreciate that this bag is made with eco-friendly coated canvas with a lining made from recycled plastic bottles. It comes in a dozen colors and is made for both 15 and 17-inch laptop sizes.

For Tablets

Knomo Maple Cross Body ($100)

Photo credit: Knomo

Photo credit: Knomo

For those of you out there who are efficient enough to be able to get everything done on your tablet without the need for a laptop, I salute you. I bet you're so efficient that you don't need a big bag, either. So this small cross body is perfect. It's designed to hold the 10-inch iPad Air and big enough to fit most other tablets about the same size (the Galaxy Tab S juuuust fits) as well as a few other essentials. I'm a big fan of the quilted exterior and appreciate the multiple inner pockets for keeping things organized.

Ogio Brooklyn Women's Tablet Purse ($40)

Photo credit: Ogio

Photo credit: Ogio

This bag is a bit bigger and holds about the same amount as a traditional purse while also including a special compartment for a tablet. Again, the buttons are a cute design feature. On this bag they hide an extra zippered pocket where you can stash stuff you might not want others to know you're carrying. Raspberry is my favorite color on this purse, too, though I also like the other bold, solid hues on offer.

Knomad Mini / Air / Surface ($60 - $120)

Photo credit: Knomad

Photo credit: Knomad

People who carry more than one piece of tech know the frustration of keeping all the accoutrements for these devices organized. You've got cords, A/C adapters, SD cards, and a portable battery at the least, plus all the other important stuff you have to keep track of. For people who carry their tablet everywhere, there's the Knomad portable organizer. You can keep all of the aforementioned items in the same place as the tablet, plus pens, notepads, and even your credit cards and cash. There's the Knomad Mini sized for the iPad Mini that will also fit most 7 and 8-inch Android tablets, the Knomad Air made to fit the iPad Air, and the Knomad Surface for the new Microsoft Surface that will also work for 10.1-10.5-inch Android tablets. The leather versions of each will look right at home in a briefcase, but I prefer the cotton canvas ones for the tactile feel and more attractive color choices.

Redbubble iPad Case ($43 - $60)

Photo credit: Redbubble

Photo credit: Redbubble

Though the iPad is the very essence of minimalist elegance, that doesn't match everyone's personal style. Especially if that style tends toward beautiful silkscreen t-shirts, or artistic prints. Redbubble has hundreds of cases and skins featuring a wide range of art and cute designs. And if you think someone on your list will really love a particular design, you can get it on a shirt or a tote bag, too.

For Cameras

Jill-e Compact System Camera Bag ($50) and Medium Camera Bag ($200)

Photo credit: Jill-e

Photo credit: Jill-e

Here's a truth universally acknowledged: most camera bags are ugly as hell. Not just not fashionable, but actively terrible to look at. By necessity many have to be bulky, but they don't have to ruin your whole ensemble or even look like camera bags at all. I dig all of Jill-e's purseified camera bags for men and women. My two favorites are the medium bag--good if you have a couple of lenses but not a ton of gear--and the compact system bag for those of you rocking mirrorless cameras with interchangable lenses. Both have the separation and protection you'd expect from any camera bag, just with more style.

iMo Indian Brown Leather Camera bag ($220)

Photo credit: iMo

Photo credit: iMo

I saw this handmade camera tote/cross-body messenger at a photo show and fell in love. It's for people who love a big bag and a versatile one. While perfectly suited to carrying cameras and equipment--including little pockets for SD cards--you can also toss in a laptop, or use as a general purpose purse. It comes with a strap long enough to use cross-body plus tote straps for on-the-shoulder ladies. The model here is male, but the bag is meant to be unisex. I like this color combo better than the lighter one on offer for the same price.

iMo Neoprene Straps ($29)

Photo credit: iMo

Photo credit: iMo

Another sweet item for the camera buff on your list. Not only do these straps feature fun, attractive designs (I can't resist an adorable owl), they're also more comfortable around the neck thanks to the soft, stretchy neoprene. Perfect for all the people you know wearing big DSLRs around their neck while on vacation--even if you happen to know they don't know the first thing about how to operate it outside of the Auto setting.

For Smartphones

Urban Junket Chloe Mini Crossbody ($40)

Photo credit: Urban Junket

Photo credit: Urban Junket

Now that the iPhone 6 Plus exists, even Apple fans have to admit that big phones are awesome. Those same people can now join the rest of us in bemoaning the fact that giant phones do not fit well in small pockets. This summer I gave up and bought myself a tiny cross body purse to carry my credit cards, cash, and my humongous phone. It's about as big as the Chloe and easily fits inside bigger bags if I don't feel like wearing it separately. This way my phone is always on front of me, somewhat protected, and not in as much danger of falling out when I sit.

Speck CandyShell Inked Smartphone Case for iPhone 6/5/5S

Photo credit: Speck

Photo credit: Speck

When your smartphone is out of your pocket or tiny purse it still needs protection and there's no reason why that protection shouldn't be as colorful and cute as you are. I've trusted Speck cases to save me from butterfinger disaster for years, and I've never been disappointed. The Inked case series provides drop protection that won't make your slim, sleek phone look bulky or ugly.

Nuvango Cases and Skins for Samsung Phones ($15 - $35)

Photo credit: Nuvango

Photo credit: Nuvango

Another source of cases infused with beautiful art is Nuvango, which has hundreds of art pieces and photography to choose from. It also has cases and skins for a wide variety of Samsung phones, not just the Galaxy S5 and S4.

HIDEandHIDE on Etsy ($50 - $100)

Photo credit: HIDEandHIDE

Photo credit: HIDEandHIDE

Aside from the various iPhones and Samsung Galaxys, most other smartphones aren't individually popular enough for there to be a bunch of good-looking, mass-produced cases for them. The solution to this can be found on Etsy, that bastion of handmade goodness. My favorite source is HIDEandHIDE, which makes beautiful leather combo case wallets for HTC, Sony, Nexus, and Motorola phones in addition to Samsung and Apple models.