12 backpacks that might tempt you to give up handbags

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I like a good crossbody handbag as much as the next lady, but I’m growing weary of shlepping all of my stuff that way—I’ve got too many things to carry around most days. I’ve been much more inclined to carry a backpack lately—I dig their utility, but also think there’s an I’m-too-cool-to-care-about-it-bags factor to them that I also like. This one has a subtly cool colorblock thing going on, and I like the autumnal hues.

This one, from Rag & Bone, is just so good and poppy bright.

I like the combination of cotton and leather here.

And the pops of red against the army green on this one are such a nice touch.

This one is truly big enough to be a weekender, and it has tons of handy compartments.

The croc-embossed pattern here is so luxe-looking.

This waterproof specimen from Rains is also really understatedly chic.

And here’s a leather one from Sezane that’s pretty perfectly classic.

This comes from Baggu and is such a good dark green, though I also like this animal print one.

Here’s a packable option in appealing shades of blue.

This comes in several really happy brights, and I’m partial to this cobalt-ish blue.

And finally: Madewell’s Transport Rucksack is an all-around good choice, and pretty reasonably priced, for leather.

 

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13 Thoughts on 12 backpacks that might tempt you to give up handbags
    Ilene
    3 Nov 2021
    3:18pm

    Giving a plug to my Jack Gomme backpack. Lightweight, small footprint & a subtle metallic glaze, tho they make a brighter holographic one.

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    Deborah N Flanagan
    3 Nov 2021
    8:15am

    The thing I have about backpacks is the people that “forget” they have something on their back as they walk down the aisle of a plane then turn around and swing it into my face. I don’t want to be one of those people. LOL

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    Karen
    2 Nov 2021
    3:17pm

    Love my backpack which is MZ Wallace. But I use it instead of a work tote & still carry a small cross body so that $, phone, sunglasses & keys are easy to reach. But laptop, lunch, scarfs etc so much lighter to carry on my back

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    KHD
    2 Nov 2021
    5:57pm

    My shoulder started bothering me a lot and I realized it was from wearing my bucket bag messenger-style. Even though it isn’t so heavy I think age and everything else came to roost (I’m 52). I got a Topo Mini Backpack and the shoulder pain WENT AWAY. It has several handy zip compartments making it easy to swing off and get something I need easily (Mary Alice’s complaint solved?). Because isn’t cavernous and well designed, finding things is easy. I also normally get sweaty with larger backpacks but rarely or never with this one. AND, I get compliments from many people.

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    Brianna
    2 Nov 2021
    5:11pm

    I’ve been waiting for this post! I’ve been on the hunt for a chic backpack for what feels like my whole damn life.

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    Susanna
    2 Nov 2021
    5:29pm

    Am I the only one who can no longer wear a backpack because of menopausal horrors? The weight of it on my back would lead to profuse sweating.

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    MaryAlice
    2 Nov 2021
    12:59pm

    I love the idea of backpacks but I always end up being horribly annoyed – every time I need something I have to sling the thing off my back, find a place to set it down and fish around for my wallet, glasses, keys, etc. (which I cannot keep in an outside pocket because it’s on my back and I don’t want them easily accessible to thieves) Am I the only one?
    I much prefer a zip top tote.

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      Mouse
      2 Nov 2021
      1:04pm

      I always ended up carrying them over one shoulder which pretty much defeated the purpose. Cross body seems to be the best–better?–of both worlds.

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        Eloise
        2 Nov 2021
        1:26pm

        A sad “yes” to the purpose-defeating one shoulder. A few weeks into law school, I went to the doctor (which I pretty close to never do) because my shoulder was numb. First question he asked was whether I used that shoulder to carry a backpack. Pretty sure I solved that problem by not carting as many books at once instead of using the backpack as designed to be used.

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      Elisabeth
      2 Nov 2021
      2:04pm

      You’re not the only one, I feel the same! The only time I genuinely like carrying a backpack is hiking/birding, because I’m not worried about thieves, and I don’t need to rummage in it except during breaks.

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    Eloise
    2 Nov 2021
    12:30pm

    It’ll take more than one post to tempt me to switch to a backpack but I’m bummed that the jacket pictured with the Sezane option is sold out.

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      Viajera
      3 Nov 2021
      12:51pm

      Ditto. Made a beeline for that link.

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    Dawn
    3 Nov 2021
    10:12pm

    For my new job, there are no desktops, and since I am only in the office two days a week, I need to carry my laptop back and forth. I have been using a small nylon vintage-inspired Jansport backpack for years now and have been delaying getting a laptop backpack because I don’t want to give it up! I’m thinking the Everlane one will do the job of both, and I love the colorway you show. Some other good options. Yay!!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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