As far as school bags go, I think my experience in college was pretty typical of what happens at most universities, especially those that tended toward preppiness – the fashion-conscious girls carried either Longchamp or Herve Chapelier totes in bright colors, and everyone else carried backpacks. The Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote didn’t yet exist during my days at school, although I’d assume it’s pretty popular now as well, in all of its various incarnations. I was a Herve Chapelier girl, mostly because the straps were flat and more comfortable on my shoulder if I needed to lug my laptop; I still have a few of those old, beaten-up totes in my closet, in case I should need them. They’re nostalgia pieces for me, and I can’t bring myself to throw them away.

If I had to pick a school bag now, though, I’d do things a little differently. Not only is the contemporary market full of large, casual, attractive tote and backpack options, but Longchamp now makes Le Pliage totes far more interesting than the red version favored on my campus. (You know, school colors.) Below, we’ve assembled 10 to get you started on your search for the perfect college bag, whether you’re buying one for yourself or looking for a gift to give your daughter, niece or little sister. By our calculations, all should have room for your regular purse contents, plus a small laptop or tablet and a textbook. Unless you’re taking, like, organic chemistry. Then just get a Northface and call it a day. Your shoulders will thank you.


Longchamp Le Pliage Velvet Printed Top Handle Bag
$395 via Saks

Longchamp Le Pliage Velvet Printed Top Handle Bag

Clare Vivier Simple Tote
$368 via ShopBop

Clare Vivier Simple Tote

Botkier Wanderlust East-West Shopper
$195 via Bloomingdale’s

Botkier Wanderlust East-West Shopper Tote

Vince Camuto Coco Snake Tote
$198 via Bloomingdale’s

Vince Camuto Coco Snake Tote

Milly Tribal Canvas Tote
$245 via Bloomingdale’s

Milly Tribal Canvas Tote

Adidas by Stella McCartney Leopard Print Taffeta Tote
$150 via Net-a-Porter

Adidas by Stella McCartney Leopard Print Taffeta Bag

Rebecca Minkoff MAB Leather Tote
$295 via Nordstrom

Rebecca Minkoff MAB Leather Tote

Marc by Marc Jacobs Natural Selection Tote
$448 via Nordstrom

Marc by Marc Jacobs Natural Selection Tote

MICHAEL Michael Kors Selma Studded Tote
$428 via Michael Kors

MICHAEL Michael Kors Large Selma Studded Tote

Madewell Leather Rucksack
$248 via ShopBop

Madewell Leather Rucksack
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Cherryorchard
Cherryorchard
9 years ago

Only one backpack? And a boring one, at that…

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