Styled by KB: Lift the weight off your shoulders with this backpack guide

Photo and story by Katey B. / Contributing Writer

With the beginning of each new school year comes the ever-changing school supply list. While those lists have certainly evolved since we first began kindergarten (could we go back to purchasing colorful crayons rather than $150 textbooks?), one item has remained: a backpack.

If you’ve already picked out a stylish new bag to carry your books for the upcoming fall semester, you know just how many different styles and brands there are to choose from. If you fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and you’re still without a hip new bag, I am here to offer you advice on fashionable yet practical alternatives to the oh-so-common, generic backpack.

Whether you’re looking to sport a well-known, popular-on-campus bag or you’re hoping to set the trend, I’ve got you covered with the list below.


If you’re planning to channel your inner Blair Waldorf or your future in fashion this semester, the Henri Bendel West 57th Backpack, $298, is a must. With 100% Saffiano leather and four colors to choose from (Black, Nine Iron/Silver, Grey Violet and Port), all eyes will be on you when you’re rocking this to class!


The Anne Klein ‘Perfect Tote Flap Satchel,’ $39.59 on sale (originally $89), is much sleeker and more professional than the name of the style, I promise. This tote/satchel hybrid is ideal for the girl on a budget who wants to show up to her internship looking like the boss. It’s also perfect for someone constantly on the go due to class and work. And you can’t beat 56% savings!

Athletic/outdoor bags

There’s a reason this type of bag has been around since the beginning of time, and it’s because they never get old. This category’s most popular, cutest brands include Patagonia, The North Face and good ol’ Adidas. If you’re interested in going straight from class to the gym or hiking trail — or you want some credibility to go with your “norts” — this is the perfect bag for you. An athletic style is also much more comfortable, resulting in a lighter load for your back.

Specific styles: Patagonia Women’s Chacabuco, $99; The North Face Borealis, $89; Adidas Daybreak, $55.


Whether you’re aiming for something professional or fun, you can’t go wrong with a tote bag. They are beyond versatile and perfect for the days you only have a couple classes on campus.

The two leading brands for durable and stylish totes this year are Vera Bradley and Longchamp. While they can be on the pricier end, they won’t break when it’s time for midterms and you have to cram it with every single textbook you own for the inevitable all-nighter at the library. Both of these brands have different size options, but the large is the one that will get you through the year.

Specific styles: Vera Bradley Vera Bohemian Blooms, on sale for $43; Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote, $145.


It can be difficult to find a satchel with enough space for your laptop and notebook, but when you do, you can’t let it go. As mentioned in this week’s “Save,” satchels are the type of bags that combine practical and professional (and are very aesthetically pleasing). I’ve been searching and searching for satchels that fit everything I need, and I keep coming back to Anne Klein. Before this summer, I had never heard of this brand, but they have everything and you can always find them on sale. But if you’re looking for a more casual option, Target always has some great finds.

Specific styles: Anne Klein Textured Two-Tone Satchel, on sale for $35.20; Target Nubuck Satchel Handbag with Foxford Trim by Merona, $34.99.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you navigate the process of finding the bag that fits you best. But remember, functionality is the most important part of a backpack. Though it’s true a backpack can help define your individuality on a crowded campus, make sure to buy the bag that will comfortably meet your needs.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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