I want to love backpacks—I really do. At any given moment, I am carting around at least one laptop, one sweatshirt, maybe an extra pair of shoes, and a bottle of Perrier, but I tend to carry my stuff in the least convenient way possible. Lately I’ve been carrying my large Chloé Marcie, but using a canvas tote bag to do the grunt work of holding the laptops and assorted power cords I need to have with me at all times. I have many large purses for this express purpose, but there are few that can fit everything, and even fewer I feel comfortable overloading with the chaotic randomness that is my belongings.
There is an easy solution to this problem, of course, and it’s called a backpack. But I hate backpacks. Carrying a backpack always makes me feel like a mule, and I’ve never liked how it looks. However, the canvas tote I got for free from my internet service provider is getting tattered, and I might need to suck it up and get a nice backpack.
Of course Prada makes a wonderful backpack, but the legendary nylon mini backpack that I want won’t hold much either. I’m learning to accept that the backpack I need in my life is going to be more Cheryl Strayed in Wild than Cher Horowitz in Clueless, but I still need to know: is there a way to make a backpack look good? The celebrities I see carrying backpacks are always holding them by the top handle or dangling them precariously off one shoulder like the cool kids in high school used to do. This looks great, but it’s not something I can replicate as I carry my life home from work while walking on a sheet of ice and being pelted by sleet (this is a true story that happened to me today).
Deep in my heart I fundamentally disagree with carrying a sack on my back, but I hope to change this belief by finding a really nice backpack so I can look cool as I walk upon the ice in the sleet. If nothing else, it will cushion my fall if I slip...
Senreve backpacks are great because I don’t need to commit to the idea of a backpack since they can be worn a bunch of different ways.
Senreve Maestra Bag
This Prada nylon backpack looks like it could fit some stuff. Not a lot of stuff, but some, nonetheless.
Prada Nylon Studded Backpack
Oh hey it’s Prada again and look how cool this backpack looks because it only has one shoulder strap. Absolutely not practical and absolutely on my wishlist.
Prada One-Shoulder Backpack
I do love a good Adidas backpack, and this one is a serious contender:
Adidas Originals Backpack
This Chloé Faye backpack would not cut it for me, but it’s the first backpack I’ve seen that looks great when someone’s actually wearing it.
Chloé Faye Backpack
Update: I have fallen down an internet hole full of websites dedicated to reviewing backpacks. I landed on the page of an “award-winning” “modular pack system” that you can design yourself. I added a laptop module to the bag and also some sort of silver buckle, but the backpack still looked weird and just really green and waxy. I now owe $443 to something called Mission Workshop. Design your own backpack—I mean modular pack system here.
Ok excuse me this is the most beautiful backpack I have ever seen. After that whole modular pack system debacle this Burberry backpack is an ocean in the desert of laptop modules. This one even looks good when it's being worn correctly:
Burberry The Rucksack
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We must pay our respects to the classic FJÄLLRÄVEN bags. They are so ugly that they’re actually sort of cool, and they’re now available as mini backpacks because everything in this timeline is shrinking.
FJÄLLRÄVEN Kånken No. 2 Backpack
Louis Vuitton’s Palm Springs backpack looks like it can hold some laptops:
Louis Vuitton’s Palm Springs Backpack
...and then there’s this too, which isn't elegant but looks quite roomy:
Fendi Bag Bugs Backpack
I love this Moschino Space Teddy bag for its subtlety and sophistication. But in all seriousness, I’m tempted.
Moschino Space Teddy bag
To find a single functional backpack at Givenchy I had to search in their men’s section, but when I did, I was rewarded with a treasure trove of functional backpacks. My favorite is this one, which conveniently folds up into a tiny square so you can carry a secret backpack surprise with you everywhere.
Givenchy 4G Packaway Backpack
Hold up - I just remembered that the Chanel Graffiti backpack exists. The New York Post declared it the “it bag” of the summer in 2014, and it still looks great. This is definitively the coolest backpack I have ever seen, and that concludes my investigation. I am pleased to announce that yes, backpacks can look good.
Chanel Graffiti Backpack
PS: please send me your backpack recommendations in the comments below. I am still looking.