Updated! Fashion Backpacks Are Back and Better Than Ever

Woman wearing brown leather backpack

Is it true? Has the backpack made a comeback? This utilitarian and practical carryall in its modern, zippered incarnation dates back all the way to the turn of the 20th century, though humans have been carrying stuff on their backs for literally thousands of years.

As far as the backpack as fashion accessory, we only have to look as far back as the early 90s when this hands-free handbag was all the rage. Remember Prada’s mini nylon version? Or the girls from Clueless matching their mini packs to their over-the-knee socks? Back then, it was the smaller the better.

The Chic and Grown-Up Backpack

Nowadays, the backpack trend has officially returned (as all trends eventually do) but in a more practical (there’s that word again!), medium size.

This is a great thing for fashion enthusiasts — an affordable accessory to add to the mix. You can breathe easy knowing your core closet remains the same, while you’re nodding to what’s cool and contemporary in the practical accessory game.

No matter your aesthetic — and whether it stays the same or changes on the daily — there’s a backpack to suit it. Slide into one or both straps to carry laptops, your lunch, a change of clothes, or just the essentials with ease.

Fashion backpacks are a preferred accessory of off-duty models, and we can certainly see why. A fashionable and functional way to channel our inner Kendall or Gigi? We’re down!

Styling a Fashion Backpack

You just throw it on and go, right? Yes, sort of. Backpacks are fairly easy to wear, as long as you remember these two guidelines.

1. Size is key.

The mini pack went out of style 20 years ago. And a giant packpack gives the impression that you’re a professional wanderer in search of a train station. Medium size is the best for pulling off this look while maintaining your style cred

2. High fashion over high school.

Solids in leather, canvas or a very light-weight Prada-esque nylon (think parachute material) or of-the-moment prints like nautical or florals will keep you right on trend. And please, no patches.

Best Fashion Backpacks: Our Picks

Swap your satchel or crossbody bag for any one of these roomy fashion packs and revel in an inexpensive, failproof way to stay on trend.

Melissa

Melissa is creative communications professional with 9+ years of experience writing for the beauty and fashion industries.