17 Stylish Backpacks To Fulfill Your Every Wanderlust Dream And Then Get You Back To School

Who says you need to be going back to school to get a new and stylish backpack? No matter what your age, the end of summer (I don't care about the autumnal equinox, once August hits, it's really all over) and the coming of fall will forever signify one thing: Back to school season. But just because you aren't headed to class doesn't mean that now isn't the perfect time to score a brand new backpack. In fact, there seems like no better time to indulge in a bit of school-age nostalgia, considering it's during this season when backpacks truly abound.

Of course, if you're not headed back to school, there are certain backpacks it'd probably be best to avoid; although if you're not headed to school, you probably wouldn't be drawn to them anyway. First off, take it from someone who is 5'1" — the wrong backpack on even the most well-meaning of wearers can make anyone look like a teenager the second it gets slung over a shoulder. Essentially, with a backpack, things can go from fashion forward to just entirely unprofessional really quick.

But again, chances are these types of backpacks most likely aren't the ones someone who no longer needs to go to school is drawn to in the first place. So for any post-grad yearning for a new backpack this September, here are some of the most ideal options — pencils and paper (and exam anxiety) not included.

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Hershel City Backpack In White Rubber

Over the past five years or so, Hershel has really taken over the backpack scene. Adding a subtle spin on a classic shape with this all-white “City” rucksack, the Canadian company provides a perfectly sleek yet equally as functional alternative to the stereotypically clunky backpack.

Hershel City Backpack in White Rubber, $50, Herschel

Madewell Transport Rucksack In True Black

This Madewell bag is the perfect black leather rucksack, surely (and deservedly) destined to become a staple in any wardrobe. Plus, for those more into earthy neutrals, the rucksack also comes in brown.

Madewell Transport Rucksack in Ture Black, $198, Madewell

Nila Anthony Backpack

A bright pop of color, this backpack serves as a vibrant accent piece sure to add a bit of fun to any grown up ensemble.

Nila Anthony Perforated Faux Leather Backpack, $52, Nordstrom

Coach Turnlock Tie Rucksack

In the midst of a total image overhaul, Coach has proven that it can still produce quality leather goods. Forgoing the quintessential “C” print for beautiful, unbranded, blue leather, this backpack demonstrates just how far the brand has come.

Coach Turnlock Tie Rucksack, $495, Coach

Kate Spade Molly Nylon Backpack

Of course Kate Spade, queen of all things quirky, would have a great grown up backpack. Accented with bright red lining, this black and white striped bag does not disappoint, serving up that perfect Kate Spade mix of whimsical maturity.

Kate Spade Molly Nylon Backpack, $228, Nordstrom

State Bags Bedford Backpack

A company that gives a backpack full of supplies to an American child in need for every bag purchased, State bags presents itself as an easy company to support. With undeniably cool bags like this neon green “Bedford” backpack, however, it makes it even easier.

State Bags Bedford Backpack, $75, State Bags

Alexander Wang Prisma Skeletal Backpack

In keeping with its street style ethos, it comes as no surprise that Alexander Wang produces some great grown up backpacks. With sturdy straps (the biggest issue with grown up backpacks seems to be that each refuses to make a strap wider than a half inch) and quality leather, this all black bag would definitely survive in a world outside of the classroom.

Alexander Wang Prisma Skeletal Backpack, $345, Opening Ceremony

Coach Campus Backpack In Wild Beast

On the pricier side of things, this backpack is definitely a splurge, but clearly well made and covered in cheetah print, it is undeniably cool.

Coach Campus Backpack in Wild Beast, $550, Coach

Loeffler Randall Mini Backpack

Compact and comfortable bags like this Loeffler Randall piece are definitely what come to mind when thinking of “grown up” backpacks — and for good reason. In a neutral brown leather and inconspicuous shape, each would go well with nearly anything.

Loeffler Randal Mini Backpack, $395, Bloomingdales

Neff Daily Backpack

What’s keeping you from wearing this all over tie dye Neff backpack? Just because you want a “grown up” backpack doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun.

Neff Daily Backpack, $33, Pacsun

Eastpak Pak'R Backpack

All the French exchange students at my high school wore Eastpak backpacks, so naturally I’ve equated the company with effortless cool ever since. Thankfully, with its classic shape and no frills grey color, this backpack certainly upholds that theory.

Eastpak Pak’R Backpack, $55, amazon

Mansur Gavriel Canvas Backpack

Delicate and functional, a subdued two tone leather backpack like this one from Mansur Gavriel acts as great transition piece for anyone seemingly too afraid to forego the comfort of a more traditional bag.

Mansur Gavriel Canvas Backpack, $575, Opening Ceremony

Marc By Marc Jacobs Domo Arigato Packrat

Vibrantly red-orange in color and covered in contrasting zippers, this bag is definitely more than an accent piece. This backpack requires some financial commitment, but IMHO, it certainly seems worth it.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Domo Arigato Packrat, $198, Bloomingdales

Herschel Heritage Backpack

I couldn’t help but include another Herschel on this list. The brand knows how to make a classic backpack, and the simple silhouette, color, and leather accents make this bag an ideal option for anyone in want of function unwilling to sacrifice some semblance of fashion.

Herschel Heritage Backpack in Bridle Rubber, $55, Herschel

Rebecca Minkoff Line Quilted Julian Backpack

Less of a backpack and more of a bucket bag, this off white Rebecca Minkoff makes for another great alternative to those looking for an everyday backpack but who remain hesitant for going all out backpack in shape.

Rebecca Minkoff Line Quilted Julian Backpack, $218, Nordstrom

Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Backpack

A classic backpack from a company with classic bags, this Longchamp backpack just makes sense. A perfect translation of the Longchamp totes into backpack form, it will most certainly go with anything, and will most likely remain in good quality for ages.

Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Backpack, $415, Nordstrom

Jansport Superbreak Backpack In Junk Food

Ironic or not, fashion and food are having a moment and this Jansport serves up an affordable and functional way to embrace such an absurd but undeniably fun trend.

Jansport Superbreak Backpack in Junk Food, $35, Jansport