DRESSING ON THE SIDE
Backpacks, Fill ‘Em High
By Maureen Mancini Amaturo
If it’s wearable, there’s a trend attached. No surprise that even something as fundamental as a backpack has of-the-moment styles to stuff in school lockers this September. The sophisticated among the student body will be carrying black, quilted versions – Chanel but not – or black, faux patent leather. For the express-myself crowd, there are a whole slew of non-neutrals pushing navy, beige, and brown aside.
The trendiest choices for this school year are: color-block, impractical white with an embroidered pop of color, bright-colored solids, especially orange or neon pink, metallics, watercolor prints, tie-dye, camo, and the biggest backpack trend, fun prints – puppies, sharks, black-and-white checks (remember Cheap Trick?) and florals. By far, the boldest backpacks of all – and the ones least likely to be left on a bus – are the holographic and color-changing-sequin styles.
While on the hunt for back-to-school backpacks, the extensive styles available will have you wanting one to call your very own. And that’s okay. Trendy backpacks for chic-at-heart adults are actually a thing. Men ditched briefcases for backpacks years ago, and women, who were quick to adopt wearing sneakers to the office, are now embracing the backpack, too. Some of the reasons sales of women’s backpacks are up 28% in the past year, according to retail research, are: 1) Consumers, even fashionistas, are more into functionality these days. 2) Corporate culture is more casual, so backpacks are replacing briefcases and totes. 3) Women are loving the hands-free advantage of backpack vs. handbag. 4) Backpacks put less strain on shoulders and spine. See? Fashion can be practical. Sometimes.
To be clear, this fall backpacks are going mainstream and way off campus. You’ll see them worn with business and bohemian looks, sophisticated styles and streetwear, dresses, suits, and well, everything. In a class all their own, women’s backpack styles echo some of the trendiest trends for fall. Here are a few of the spotlight styles that will have you looking smart.
- Croc/Moc Croc. Huge fall trend. Grab one with a high-sheen to up the luxe.
- Sleek shapes and geometric shapes, especially in soft tones, like blush. Geometric shape is a big trend for fall handbags, too. You get an A+ if you can find a trapezoid or perfect square instead of the typical rectangle.
- Mini-backpacks. Echoing the mini-handbag trend.
- Chain details. Chains, especially chunky ones, will be a big jewelry trend and are just as important in handbags and other accessories. Rose gold hardware will take your backpack to the head of the class.
- Patent leather, real or faux, quilted or smooth, especially in black. This is the little black dress of backpacks.
- Soft suede, especially in a color other than neutral. Some of the runway versions are in periwinkle or powder blue, and the bolder versions – shades of green, especially Kelly green – stole the fall shows.
- Convertible backpacks that can be worn as handbags, too, and totes that convert to backpacks. Just a tug on a strap, and you have the best of both worlds. The leather versions are très chic.
- Graphic prints, especially designer logo prints, i.e., Burberry, Fendi. So practical, but so posh.
- Pebbled finish, leather or faux leather. Texture is always a fall focus, but this finish is a year-round classic.
- Quilted denim, especially with embellishments like studs or spikes.