Picking the Perfect School Bag

Heading back to school? Here’s a guide for picking out the perfect bag for school. Whether you’re in the mood to save or splurge I’ve pulled options for different kinds of totes and backpacks.
Nylon Totes | If you’re a girl on the go, nylon totes are great for “throwing and going.” These totes work whether you’re super organized or would rather throw everything in last minute. Nylon is a great fabric because it cleans easily and holds up well throughout the year.
SAVE: Lauren Ralph Lauren Wooten Tote, (on sale!) $80
Backpacks | Yes, yes… I admit, backpacks aren’t super fashionable. But they are seriously the best for super heavy loads. If you’re lugging heavy textbooks, binders, and a laptop around backpacks are a must. In my opinion, it’s not worth it to have a sore back (or worse an actual injury) in order to look cute around campus. And… backbacks can be cute!
Canvas Totes | Canvas totes are classic and über durable. They’re a little bit easier to stain, but they’re generally okay to clean and hold up well. (I had someone spill a cup of coffee on a tote and took a bit of toothbrush scrubbing to clean it.)
What’s your bag of choice?

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Puttin' On The GRITS

When I was in college, I used a Vineyard Vines tote. It was before Vineyard Vines was really well known though so I don't know that I would carry the same one today. I also had a brown Longchamp that I used as a purse. Once it started to look pretty dirty, I literally threw it in the washing machine and let it air dry- it looked good as new.

I think I'd go with the Land's End tote if I was still in school. They're affordable (especially when on sale) that you can get a new one each semester and I still use all of mine almost every weekend. Money well spent.


Thanks for this guide on picking out a cute bag for school!

I don't have to go back to school for a few more weeks so I'm super glad! Unfortunately, I still have lots of school work to do before then…procrastination is not a good thing!

I must say that the only thing I'm happy about related to school is that I'll be an upperclassmen. Whoop whoop! 🙂

I really wish that I could carry a Longchamp or a canvas tote but unfortunately for me, I'll probably have to stick to a backpack. Since I have to carry multiple bags and tons and tons of junk in each bag, backpacks seem to be my best bet.
I'll make sure to check out the bags you recommended. They look way cuter than boring old Jansport ones!
Even if I don't get a cute bag, I really wanted to get it monogrammed! Monograms are so amazing and I don't have anything with one on it yet. I need to fix that ASAP!

Have a lovely day Carly (and anyone else who might see this)!

The Ace of Hearts


I love bags and really like buying things for school… so I have to show you my backpack!,!lgE7G0QNHM3BPDy0DQ8kg~~60_35.JPG&w=300&h=300&ei=c20jUNWYKqT_4QS0rYCoBw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=638&vpy=352&dur=740&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=85&ty=121&sig=115658977002607358343&page=2&tbnh=170&tbnw=150&start=16&ndsp=25&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:16,i:132

(Sorry for the bad english, I'm Italian ^^ but I'm in love with your blog)

Katherine Diane

I love longchamp totes, but I carry way too many things and have to walk way too far to class to use them. I stick to a simple black North Face backpack, but it holds so much! 🙂


I remember in college I had a few bags + a book bag that I would trade out depending on my work load, how long I would be on campus, and the weather! I loved my longchamp for days when I wasn't too busy–but then I noticed a small hole in mine and that stopped quickly! I loved using my college collection VV tote!


When I first saw this, I thought you said "grade school" and I was thinking how LUCKY you were to have kate spade bags in elementary school hahaha!


The past few years I have been using a leather kate spade bag, but this year all of my classes are crammed into two days a week so I had to get a larger bag so I purchased the kate spade play hooky bag from earlier this year to use this fall. I love it, I currently use it for summer classes and it is the perfect size for school.

Cardigans and Chai

I've always wanted to get an LL Bean tote, I have no idea why. They're just classic, and I feel like I wouldn't be THAT upset if I ended up busting a pen all over it. The North Face backpacks are great when you have a lot to carry (I have one that has stood up to 5+ years of school loads), but it always makes me feel like a kid to carry a backpack. Great picks!

Kellie Battaglia

As I am from the land of LL Bean, I am glad to see you included their canvas tote. However, also wish you had included their backpacks. I do 90% of my kids back to school shopping in Freeport, Maine and as a result, we have owned both North Face backpacks, LL Bean back packs, and Keltys. Beans by far has not only the best choices (small for preschoolers/kindergarten to XL for high school/college), but also the best guarantee. I brought a 3 year old backpack to the store to get a zipper pull replaced. The customer service rep noticed a small hole in the bottom of the pack and wound up replacing the entire pack!

Megan G.

When I went to college I rocked the North Face backpack every day. I liked to pretend I was going hiking as I walked across campus. Totally joking though. 🙂 I love how you found cheap knock offs for WAY cheaper than the originals!! I should've bought something more fashionable when I was in college!


At the beginning of my junior year in high school (last year) I talked my mom into getting me a North Face backpack as an early birthday present. I got a light pink and gray one and I actually love it! Since it was pretty expensive, I'll probably be taking it with me to college. I've tried regular bags at school, but my heavy course load usually requires lots of textbooks, therefore backpacks are my best bet! In elementary school I had a monogrammed LL Bean backpack and that was a great one too!

xx, Taylor


I have all of the splurge pieces here and I honestly think they were all worth it! Great alternatives, though.

Julia D.

I really love the look of nylon bags. I actually use a Lulu bag (similar to their current Daily Gym bag) which has stood the test of time for about five years now and has TONS of pockets. I love it. The only reason that sort of bag has been practical for me is because my schedule and proximity to class has allowed me the time to go home between classes, which would be something I do even if I didn't have to. I love that you include bags for all kinds of use and a variety of price options. Definitely makes it easy for those looking to make the right choice for them.


If i wasn't taking so many courses that required huge books, I would pick a tote, but a backpack was my go to bag for school. I've always had a laptop for my years in college plus with huge books (seriously there need to be a rule on the weight of a book!?). I don't mind spending $ on a backpack since I want to keep it for a long time. I don't have a preference when it comes to brand. to me its all about padding, inside pockets, and strong straps.

Hannah Hogan

I go to an all girls private school where we have uniforms, so our backpacks/totes are one of the only ways we can express ourselves and our style. We have a large workload, so I need a backpack. I bought a black northface backpack and took it to a local boutique and had them monogram it for me. I got a soft pink vine monogram and I love it.It makes my backpack so cute, and not nearly as "manly/guyish", while being very dependable. If you are in highschool, I would highly suggest a backpack!