Fashion-forward geek girls have it hard. Most laptop-bag vendors either try to pass off an ugly, bulky briefcase as a purse alternative, or they over-design and slap a floral print on a normally inoffensive backpack and call it “feminine.” Leave it to the Brits to bring us a classy, stylish, and sturdy alternative to the bulky and loud reality of women’s laptop bags.
Available, oddly, from non-U.S. online and retail Apple Stores (such as the U.K. Apple Store) but not the U.S. Apple Store, Marshall Bergman’s £175 Tahlia Leather Clutch Bag is made of Italian leather with a jacquard interior lining. It’s available in either stone leather, dusty rose leather, or black patent leather, and it’s designed to fit the 11-inch MacBook Air, the iPad, and the iPad 2. Like most beautiful, designer handbags—especially imported ones—the Tahlia doesn’t come cheap. At roughly $277 at current exchange rates, the bag is pricey, but it’s sturdy enough to protect your 11-inch Macbook Air while being chic enough to carry as your main purse—you can justify the cost as paying for two stylish bags in one.
Designed to function as both a clutch and an over-the-shoulder purse, the Tahlia Clutch has a detachable shoulder strap that fits into metal-lined holes on the body of the bag using easily removable fasteners. The exterior of the bag has an outer pocket wide enough for 8.5- by 11-inch documents, but the pocket doesn’t snap closed and it leaves a couple inches of those documents exposed at the top. The bag’s outer (front) flap is adorned with the unassuming Marshall Bergman logo and held closed by a turnlock fastener.
On the inside of the bag, two iPhone-sized pockets, two pen holders, and one elastic-topped pocket (large enough to fit the MacBook Air’s power adapter) help keep your smaller items organized. There’s also a zippered interior pocket big enough for a large wallet and a checkbook. A padded sleeve offers a good amount of protection for your iPad or 11-inch MacBook Air, and separates that device from your daily essentials.
The Tahlia is by no means a one-bag option for the kitchen-sink carrying mom, but it’s light enough on its own that the addition of your gear and necessities doesn’t make it cumbersome. And without that gear, it’s a functional purse.
[Lauren Crabbe is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter.]