Even though it’s been a solid decade since I went off to college, this time of year makes me nostalgic for back-to-school shopping, no matter how many grey hairs I’ve recently started producing. (Spoiler alert: a significant number of grey hairs.) As you might expect, I have some thoughts on how to pick exactly the right bag for all your college needs, as well as some suggestions of what’s out there right now that fits the bill.
Your (or your daughters’) experiences may vary, but my college career required a ton of walking on a very large, hilly campus, so the first thing to think about when picking a bag for a new or returning college student is its weight; coated canvas or lighter-weight leathers are ideal, and forgo bags with lots of extra pockets unless you really need them, because the extra material adds up quickly.
Second, the bag has to be big enough to hold the requisite college student stuff–I only chose bags that I thought would fit a notebook, a textbook and a slim laptop or tablet. If you’re going to be hauling around two giant organic chemistry books, your problems are bigger than any solutions I can provide. On, like, several levels.
I’ve also only selected bags that can serve a young woman (or man–carry what you want!) well in the event of an internship or job interview; those sometimes pop up last-minute in school, and making a solid impression on someone that early in your career can quite literally change your entire life.
Lastly, I’m not trying get all Marie Antoinette up in here. Although we are primarily an emporium of information on stupefyingly expensive handbags, I know that college is a time of tight budgets for most people, and even most fashion lovers. While most of the bags below cannot be accurately described as inexpensive, I’ve kept them all below $550, with many options far under that price.