So, you're well into your first semester at college (or maybe returning), and finally starting to get the lay of the land – and have figured out just what you need to have on hand every day. Finding backpacks for college that effortlessly balance your style with practicality can be a bit tricky, but well worth the hunt. High school probably kept you weighed down with stacks upon stacks of books and papers, whereas your college load is likely a bit lighter. Whether you have one or five classes on a given day, you probably have some down time in between and only have to deal with a few staples at a time: laptop, textbook, notebook, pen, plus all the usual purse suspects. You definitely need space, but nothing crazy. Finding the perfect backpack can be daunting (it truly becomes an extension of your person), but finding one you love will both simplify your life and make you feel totally put-together — even at an 8 a.m. recitation.
It's just like Bianca Stratford said, "I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack." While you're probably not looking to splurge too hard on something that will live half of its life on the floor of a lecture hall, a go-to that complements your personal vibe is absolutely essential. And lucky for you, backpacks are totally back in style. These 17 picks are perfect for college, and will have you feeling way more like campus-ready Karlie Kloss than a kid waiting for the school bus — with plenty of room for all your stuff.
This is almost too chic to be a backpack, but I'm into it. Your roomies will be begging to borrow this one.
Denim truly goes with everything, and that applies to accessories too. Subtle tonal color blocking lends just the right amount of interest.
This wine-red bag is just as sturdy as it is cute. Plus, it can do double-duty on outdoor adventures.
Minimalist styling allows this bag to effortlessly balance form and function.
Who said plaid has to be preppy? This will add just the polished grunge vibe you're looking for — and burgundy looks great with all neutrals.
Roomy, classic, and just what you need. This will also make a great carry-on when you fly home for the holidays.
Simple, sleek, and just the right size.
Taking #MyCalvins a step further... and I'm not mad.
This will literally go with everything, age beautifully, and never go out of style.
This abstract take on camo will add the perfect pop of print to your black-on-black looks.
Navy is a great alternative to black, and this quilting lends interest without being overbearing.
This is one of those bags that only gets better with age. And the bucket style is on-trend by not too trendy.
This bold hue looks totally sophisticated with subtle, luxe details and an understated silhouette.
Like your favorite black leather purse, but bigger.
A subtle biker edge gives this luxe backpack a little something extra. And it has pockets for everything.
This pack is a little smaller, but perfect for those days when all you need is your iPad or a notebook.
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