Talk about nostalgia—backpackshave returned just in time for back-to-school preparation. The typical school accessory grows up and steals the spotlight from our favorite handbags

These casual bags are made for quick, easy access and convenient carrying, freeing the wearer’s hands for other tasks. They can be worn over two shoulders or you can swing the straps over only one.  Many of the designs also have a top handle to carry as a traditional handbag. Here are some things to look for when shopping for your new backpack!

Material

There are several materials to choose from when looking for the right backpack. The most common designs include leather, canvas and denim. However, other materials such as suede, nylon and satin are also available. The choices are endless!

Pattern and Color

A safe bet is choosing neutral colors because the bag will be easy to pair with everything else in your closet. The simplest way to go neutral is with backpacks made out of leather or canvas. But if you like to live on the trendy side, go with bright, bold colors or a fun pattern.  The tribal print that’s currently in style looks great on a backpack. Stripes are also in, and this canvas bag would be a great addition to your closet.  If you can’t decide between a bold or casual look, get more than one bag, and you can have a backpack for every outfit!

Strap Design

When investigating different designs for your stylish new bag, be sure to choose the appropriate strap design. If you tend to carry a lot in your bag (who doesn’t!?), look for a backpack with broader straps. Bags with narrow straps will be uncomfortable because of the pressure from all the weight. Some backpack designs offer padding for extra support. Durability and adjustability are also very important when looking at strap design. Having a cute bag won’t matter if the straps break after a few uses, so make sure they are made to last.

Pockets

The biggest advantages to backpacks are pockets, pockets and more pockets! Many bags offer both interior and exterior compartments for all of your possessions. They allow you to organize all of your belongings. This is really useful when you need to get to something small in a short amount of time. You don’t want to be the person in line, taking ages to find your credit card or wallet do you? We didn’t think so!

Durability and Maintenance

The stronger the bag, the longer it will last. Strength and durability really depend on the type of material you decide for your design. Machine washable fabric can be easily cleaned and it generally lasts longer. Be sure to read the bag’s care instructions before making a purchase. You don’t want your bag to require more maintenance than your car!

Handbags come in an array of shapes, styles and designs, but for a truly hands-free purse, you need a backpack. Cute, stylish and practical, this bag design is comfortable and easy to wear. If you want to see more backpacks and other back-to-school items, check out our Lifestyle Show on Thursday, Aug. 7. Happy hunting!