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When the backpack started resurfacing a couple of years ago, the trend was still up for debate. It wasn’t really a fresh sight to see a modern undertaking of past trends – in this case, the IT bag of the 90s, but there was something special about this one that enabled it to quickly gain a cult following. This fashion revival spread and took over the runways, streets and Instagram posts of celebrities and bag lovers alike. And season after the season, the backpack remained strong, proving its staying power. Now, we can consider it as a staple piece of accessory for the modern fashionista.

If you haven’t had much experience with this trend, you might find it a bit overwhelming to choose a backpack style. Because of its huge popularity, there are now dozens and dozens of styles available on the market. With a little bit of effort and some research, you are well on your way to find the perfect backpack to suit your style.

Hopefully, our little guide here will help make your decisions easier!

1. Budget

Coach Canyon Quilt Mini Turnlock Rucksack in Exotic Embossed Leather

Coach Canyon Quilt Mini Turnlock Rucksack in Exotic Embossed Leather

How much are you willing to spend when trying out a trend? Styles like the tote and shoulder bag are true classics – the kinds that remain ageless year after year. Trends, on the other hand, can still fluctuate and suddenly become unwearable the next season.

If you are trying out a trend, it might not be the smartest idea to spend too much on a piece that you’re not really sure of yet. If budget is an issue, go for mid-level designers like Coach, Marc Jacobs and Vince Camuto. These are all well-established brands that offer a nice variety of backpack styles.

Don’t cross out entry level designer brands and unpopular bag labels on your list. You’d be surprised to know that there are countless of ultra stylish bags you can get for $50 (or even less!). Check out sites like Shoe Dazzle and Just Fab for affordable finds.

2. Size

Backpacks no longer have to be big and bulky. They now come in a multitude of sizes – from spacious travel bags to micro-sized renditions. When picking the size, consider how you will be using the bag. Is it for school, travel or for everyday use?

Medium-sized backpacks are the most popular because they provide spacious interiors without being too unsightly and awkward like the old-fashioned 90’s back-to-school options. More modern options include the mini backpack – a popular style, which is often a micro version of a bigger, well-loved model. Minis are very hip and trendy but have limited storage capacity, so they may not be the best option if you’re the type of girl who carries her whole closet when going out.

3. Style

Having a good understanding of your aesthetic can help you choose what kind of backpack style to go for. Take a good look at the pieces in your closet and get a feel of what kind of style you gravitate to. Do you love dressy outfits or are you more of a casual girl?

Sophisticated and Polished

Some women dislike backpacks because of the risk of looking a little too girly and immature. For the ladies who prefer sophisticated totes and polished looks, this can be a bit intimidating. To keep your style sophisticated, go for classic-looking backpacks from high-end designers like The Row and Chanel. There’s nothing more sophisticated than rich, luscious leather or that beloved quilted leather finish that we all know and love.

The Row Backpack in Black

The Row Leather Backpack in Black, $3,900 available at Net-a-Porter

Chanel Gabrielle Small Backpack in Black and White

Chanel Gabrielle Small Backpack in Black and White at Chanel

Fresh and Edgy

Up for something with a little more punch? Go for pieces that are fresh and fun if you have fashion bravado. The more modern renditions of the backpack showcase various embellishments like sequins, customizable patches and edgy studs. Holographic and brightly colored finishes are also popular among the young crowd.

See by Chloe Andy Mini Backpack in Pearl Beige

See by Chloe Andy Mini Backpack, $230 available at Shopbop

Les Petits Joueurs Baby Mick Panda Backpack in Light Blue

Les Petits Joueurs Baby Mick Panda Backpack, $720 available at Shopbop

Casual Chic

Love to dress in comfortable but stylish casual chic clothing? This look can easily be elevated with a backpack that exhibits the same comfortable style. Mid-range designer bags like Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Michael Kors all have great offerings that are both practical and fashionable.

Kate Spade Jackson Street Merry Convertible Leather Backpack in Black Leather

Kate Spade Jackson Street Merry Convertible Leather Backpack, $249 available at Nordstrom

4. Comfort

Comfort should never take a backseat for style. While we are all guilty of occasionally picking style over comfort, this is not a good idea when purchasing backpacks, or any bag in general. An ill-fitting bag with uncomfortable straps can cause shoulder and back problems, especially if you like to carry a lot of essentials in your bag.

Avoid this dilemma by choosing a backpack with adjustable and comfortable straps. Reversible straps and top handle straps are stylish and also offer more practical ways of carrying the bag. If your shoulder and back gets tired of the weight, shift to the bag-on-hand stance for a cool and preppy vibe.

5. Versatility

Consider the wearability of the bag, especially if you are going to splurge. Can it be easily paired with the majority of the clothes inside your closet or will it only look good with a few? A versatile bag should have the elements of a multi-functional accessory that can withstand the transition from season to season. Pick neutral colors and toned down details over excessively embellished pieces. Remember that a classic black or tan-colored bag is far more versatile than a furry or sequined number, which can also look like a cheap novelty purse.

Gucci GG Marmont Matelassé Quilted Leather Backpack in Porcelain Rose

Gucci GG Marmont Matelassé Quilted Leather Backpack in Porcelain Rose, $1,890 available at Nordstrom

How to Wear the Backpack

When you have chosen the bag that’s suitable to your style and taste, it’s time to upgrade your wardrobe (and Instagram feed) with this trendy piece. Here are some stylish ways to carry a backpack:

Classic

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Two straps on your back is a classic way of carrying a backpack. This is healthiest on your back and shoulders, as it evenly distributes the weight on your torso. With the bag secured on your back, you also get that added luxury of being hands-free.

One Shoulder

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Like the cool kid in school, the one-shoulder carry style expresses an effortlessly hip vibe for the chic fashionista. This is best paired with casual outfits on your off-duty days and fashionable OOTD ensembles.

Hand Carried

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Popular among the fashion bloggers and influencers on social media, carrying the backpack on one hand is a surefire way of elevating your look from ordinary to runway-worthy. Choose pieces with the top handle design to pull off this style.

Sling

A post shared by Stephanie Arant (@shhtephs) on

There’s a fairly new trend of carrying backpacks and even fanny packs as a sling bag. However, this only works on mini backpacks with reversible or multi-strap designs. If you are bold enough to rock the unconventional, this is the perfect accessory to spruce up a boring outfit.

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