backpack alternatives for the stylish college girl

For the last three years, my black Northface backpack was my best friend. I couldn’t be found on campus without it. My backpack carried all of my school, work, and life necessities, and it was easy to lug around when I had to walk around campus all day. I brought it from class, to the Daily Iowan newsroom, to Noodles for lunch, and even to reporting on the scene for a TV story.

A classic, black backpack will probably never go out of style on a college campus. I loved my Northface Jester because it made me look sporty, but at the same time studious. I never even thought of replacing it with a shoulder bag because 1) regular bags/totes can’t carry everything I need, and 2) everyone in college carries a backpack (if not, they carry a Longchamp, and I didn’t really want to do that, either). A backpack just made sense…

…until I found a new best friend, the Madewell Transport Tote.



I had my eye on this beauty for only a week before giving in and buying it — personalized monogram and all. I haven’t looked back since. While I did love my backpack for a long time, and it held up great throughout my first three years of college, here is why I ultimately decided to replace it:

  1. A simple, yet elegant tote made me feel like I could dress up to class and look normal. With a backpack, I felt like I had to dress sporty or casual to match the large accessory on my back.
  2. It actually DOES carry all my necessities.
  3. I started going straight from class to the office of my new job. I wanted to feel more professional as I walked into the building. Since my co-workers are all older and sophisticated, I felt a little young and out of place strolling in with a backpack.
  4. I’m pretty sure lawyers don’t carry backpacks, so I thought I’d start adjusting to the legal life early.

I’m obviously a big advocate for the Madewell Transport Tote, but here are some other great backpack alternatives to carry on campus (that will probably fit your textbooks and a laptop):

Tory Burch ‘Robinson’ Double Zip Tote, $575; NORDSTROM.COM

(A personal favorite!)

Michael Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Multifunction Saffiano Leather Tote, $298;


Cedar Street Medium Harmony Bag, $298;


ASOS Structured Shopper Bag With Removable Clutch, $38;



Balenciaga Flap Satchel Bag, $2,025;


Smythson Panama N/S Tote, $995;


Saint Laurent Leather Tote, $3,290;


Do you have a favorite tote (or backpack) for campus? Comment below!

6 thoughts on “backpack alternatives for the stylish college girl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s