Our Favorite Fashion Backpacks for Under $250

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless

If you told us that the ’90s would be back in fashion, we wouldn’t have a doubt about it — after all, like all things, fashion is cyclical, right? But if you were to tell us that the backpack, perhaps the bag that defined the ’90s, would be back, steamrolling past all totes, bucket bags and satchels right onto the runways of the Row, Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim? We would be hard pressed to believe it until we saw it for our own eyes — and then we did. Yes, the backpack is back and it’s here with a vengeance. It’s taking no prisoners and swallowing up the summertime bag trend like nothing else. We’ve spotted them on the backs of chic fashion bloggers and New York’s downtown set (they prefer Chanel’s quilted backpacks or Proenza Schouler’s PS Backpack) as well as overseas at the Milan shows.

What made the backpack so popular still holds true: the utility and convenience of hands-free living and the ability to take just about anything anywhere without straining one shoulder. So instead of saying “As if!” to the trend, we’re embracing it whole heartedly, just like one of our fashion icons, Clueless‘ Cher Horowitz, did. As Queen B of the ’90s, who are we to go against her fashion choices? In an era of Contempo Casuals and Christian Dior, what Cher wore was holy writ. Here are our favorite backpacks for under $250.

LeSportsac Backpack - Voyager

LeSportsac Backpack – Voyager

If we had to find something that would fit in Cher’s electronic closet, the Le Sportsac Backpack – Voyager ($148) would be it. The metallic finish and rounded shape look like something straight out of the movie (see above). The backpack features a roomy interior secured by a drawstring closure as well as a snap-fastened flap. The faux-python fabric is sure to be able to take a beating, so go ahead and toss it in the back of your Jeep for impromptu driving lessons or a quick trip to the mall. Cher’s may have been tiny, but today, backpacks are back to normal size, making them perfect for toting laptops and daily essentials.

Available at Bloomingdale’s.

Aimee Kestenberg Tamitha Backpack

Aimee Kestenberg Tamitha Backpack

Nostalgia aside, the backpacks that we see on the Fashion Week runways are more similar to this Aimee Kestenberg Tamitha Backpack ($228) than a nylon rucksack. Done up in luxe leather and boasting bold hardware, this is something that would fit in among the ranks of Alexander Wang and the Row, only without the quad-digit price tag. It’s smaller than your usual school bag, but it’s great for toting around your daily necessities (it’s even got a great exterior pocket on back for your cell phone). Sleek and clean, this is what the modern backpack is all about.

Available at Nordstrom.

Rebecca Minkoff MAB Backpack

Rebecca Minkoff MAB Backpack

If there’s a designer that’s got her finger on the pulse of what’s cool and now, it’s Rebecca Minkoff. From bags to cool jackets and now shoes and jewelry, she’s got the downtown look down to a science (it’s usually something like bag + chunky necklace + handful of rings + leather accent jacket = instant cool). The Rebecca Minkoff MAB Backpack ($195) is a great summertime music festival companion. It’ll hold plenty of water (stay hydrated, festival fans!) along with your outerwear for evening shows and maybe a change of clothes for after your mid-day dip in the pool. It’s got signature Minkoff details such as long tassels and a dogleash clasp, and thanks to its coated canvas exterior, it can take a few beatings and still look great.

Available at Bloomingdale’s.

Topshop Smart Backpack

Topshop Smart Backpack

For something a little more grown up (and let’s face it, a little closer to the Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang designs), the Topshop Smart Backpack ($76) is a cheap and chic choice. It’s faux leather (but at just $76 dollars, you can’t expect it to be nappa), but that means you won’t have to baby it if you’re caught in a surprise spring shower. The small size combined with minimal embellishment and straightforward black design mean this is great for girls who are more about dressing like they shop at Theory and Helmut Lang than Free People or Anthropologie. Inside, you’ll find organizational pockets a’plenty and a roomy interior that’ll have you toting in style.

Available at Nordstrom.

Cambridge Satchel Company Portrait Backpack

Cambridge Satchel Company Portrait Backpack

Ok, so we’re going to admit that this is a tad over our set budget, but the Cambridge Satchel Company Portrait Backpack ($275) carries heritage and craftsmanship along with a great design. You probably recognize a few details from the original Cambridge Satchel, such as the double buckles, hardy leather and attention to detail, but this remixes the design just a bit to create a fresh portrait shape. It’s perfect for carrying and iPad or a netbook and like all other styles from the Cambridge Satchel Co., it’s ready for a monogram so you can have yours stand out from the rest.

Available at the Cambridge Satchel Company.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Domo Arigato Backpack

Marc by Marc Jacobs Domo Arigato Backpack

For the guys out there that want to get in on the trend, a great way to strap on a backpack is with the Marc by Marc Jacobs Domo Arigato Backpack ($198). It’s still got the fashion pedigree of our other choices and let’s just say it possesses more than just a passing resemblance to a backpack we spied from Givenchy. Being all black makes this a stealthy choice, and it’s big enough to stow everything you need for an overnight trip. Gold zippers and leather accents add to the backpack’s luxe styling. Girls will appreciate the roomy interior, too, and the fact that at just under $200, it’s priced below most MbMJ purses.

Available at Nordstrom.

Shop our favorite backpacks:

Images courtesy Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, The Cambridge Satchel Company and Paramount

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Author:Fashion Trends Daily Staff

Fashion Trends Daily Editors deliver the scoop on fashion, beauty, celebrity and runway trends.

One Response to “Our Favorite Fashion Backpacks for Under $250”

  1. March 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    These are really nice bags!i especially like the one from Aimee