Backpacks as Accessories: the Yays and Nays

by - May 17, 2012

I'm sure if you're my age or older than I am, you'll understand that backpacks were an essential that we grew up with. Shopping for a new backpack for school meant looking for features that made it the ultimate bag, whether it be having the most pockets or being the most weatherproof. Moms worried about that stuff more than we did, I'm guessing, but now that I'm becoming more of an adult and spending my own money to purchase bags, I've begun to seriously consider what makes a bag worth buying.

Rather than talking about those heavy duty backpacks that we used to cram textbooks into, today I'll be discussing the trendier looking ones. They're very chic and, depending on the material, can dress up or down an outfit.

Backpacks come in a variety of styles: casual, canvas, printed, leather, faux leather, etc. Recently, I've begun to see an increase in horizontal shaped backpacks. They resemble the shape of a messenger bag but equipped with shoulder straps. I personally really enjoy the way they look but I find that the shape and design of many of those types of backpacks make it difficult for the bag to lay nicely against my back. It could also be because the bags are usually empty prior to the purchase. Keep in mind, like anything else, prices will range!

Before I go into the pros and cons of using backpacks as an accessory piece, I will list a few examples below, just as a reference point (and also so you guys can take a look around and get some ideas for yourself!).

Peter Jensen "Rabbit Backpack" $187.87 from

Deena and Ozzy "Acid Wash Patch Backpack" $42 from Urban Outfitters

Levi's "River Rock Backpack" $150 from Nordstrom

Nillie Shop "Faux Leather Backpack" $35 from

ASOS "Leather backpack" $208.74 from Asos

Theyskens Theory "Black Leather Backpack" $575 from

The Row "Leather backpack" $3900 from

The following list isn't in order of importance, just random order!
1. Storage: for a while, big purses were "in" and one of the greatest things about them were the space inside the bag. The bad thing is that it gets too heavy to carry around if you're the type of person who likes to keep a lot of crap in their bags. The good thing about a backpack is the two straps that keep the weight balanced on your shoulders instead of weighing down just one arm. The load seems much lighter and is great for travel, shopping, school, etc.

2. Design: similar to any other bag, backpacks come in a variety of patterns, graphics, fabrics, shapes, and sizes. As an accessory piece, it can be used to add texture or tone down an outfit.

3. Adds a "School Girl Umf": not everyone is going to like this pro or agree with it but I think backpacks have a certain innocent and casual quality that differs from other purses/bags. This kind of branches off from the "Design" pro but depending on what the backpack looks like, the outfit's aura can really change.

4. Hands free!: cross body bags have this same advantage too. I used to own a shoulder bag and it was always a pain in the hole to go shopping or to school. It's nice being able to rush through a crowd without worrying that the backpack will fall off. I also imagine it'd be harder to steal a backpack than a shoulder bag.

1. Waterproof vs non: this really depends on whether or not you get a canvas or leather one. Canvas backpacks have become quite popular though so I think consumers have greater access to these types. With that said, I find it annoying to have a bag that isn't waterproof or water resistant because of the crazy weather we have here. I also like having bags I can use year round!

2. Straps: if you plan on putting a heavy load in your bag, I suggest looking for one with thicker straps. After a while, thin straps will hurt your shoulders and make it uncomfortable to wear. I also worry a lot about the straps falling off, especially if the bag is heavy and weighs down. I've had it happen before! Broken straps :( and most are sewn in at the top, so they aren't 100% secure.

3. Open and Close: sometimes, it's not super convenient to get things out of the bag, just because of how the bag is usually worn. It's a whole process of taking both straps off, balancing the bag on your knees, rummaging for what you need, closing it, and putting it back on again. With a cross body bag or shoulder bag, reaching it for what you need to get is much easier.

4. Position: this is more of a concern in other countries but because the backpack is worn on the back, you can't really monitor what goes on. It could just be my paranoia but in a crowded area, it's difficult to detect when someone reaches into your bag or front pocket of the backpack. Must be cautious in those situations!

...and that's about it! Those are my opinions/tips about backpacks. I'm still on the search for a nice faux leather one for everyday use so please leave some suggestions if you have any! Thanks!

Until next time,
{kiss kiss}

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