Sure, you need to carry a computer. But you don't have to lug it in that homely corporate-issue black bag. Padded bags designed specifically for laptops are ablaze with color, not only the pinks that are so hot this year but also cool, sherbet-like oranges and limes.
Take the messenger-style Commute from Timbuk2 Designs (timbuk2.com). This $100 tote can accommodate most standard laptops and comes in nine color combinations. If green-and-silver or orange-and-yellow are too flamboyant for you, try the navy or deep red models. Timbuk2's coolest feature? The inside is lined with plush corduroy.
For the neon look, KaraB makes its faux-patent-leather Metro Backpack ($85) in hot pink, lime green, and robin's-egg blue. Or combine all three colors in a striped, laminated cotton canvas bag that looks as if it's ready for the beach. Matte vinyl versions come in soft yellow, pink, and blue pastels. The company is new, and distribution is limited, so try the Web site: www.karab.com.
More choices: Last year, red and tan versions of the Italian-leather Slim Triangle Brief from Lodis (lodis.com) were so popular that the company decided this year to add fun colors -- magenta, green, and blue -- in a pebble-grain finish ($195). Casauri's single-compartment laptop envelopes ($58 to $65) are handsome enough to be carried by the Museum of Modern Art's MoMA Design stores. Now there's a new portfolio model in the same colors -- pink, kiwi, red, and navy -- with plenty of extra pockets for papers, phones, and PDAs. It's $106 at casauri.com.
By Larry Armstrong