Ladies, It’s Time To Embrace The Work Backpack

Ladies, Embrace The Work Backpack
photo from

The debate about backpacks has raged for decades now.

Is it childish? Does it look as though you’re still in college? Will colleagues or clients write you off if they see you slinging one of those padded straps over your shoulder? Is it possible to find one that looks sophisticated?

My take? Embrace the backpack!

I’ve never been a ‘small purse’ girl. My wallet is roughly the size of a Big Mac, I (apparently) need to hang on to every receipt that’s handed to me, and while I’m SUPER into the ‘no-makeup’ look, I always have copious amounts of shiny tubes rolling around my handbag.

I’ve tried paring down. I even invested in sweet ladylike purses to force myself to take only the bare necessities: wallet, phone, concealer, and earbuds. But, over time, like a reverse Mary Poppins’, objects would accumulate within its depths, never to be seen again. To this day I find crumpled up movie tickets and expired lipgloss in abandoned purses.

Finally, I admitted it to myself. I will never be the carefree bohemian babe, swinging through the streets with the smallest of satchels, lightweight and carefree. I will forever be the belabored woman, tilting precariously to one side under the weight of her bindle stick of crap.

That is, until I re-discovered backpacks.

These aren’t the neon-colored and ninja-turtled bags of our past (although can we PLEASE bring those back?), in fact they are super attractive.

Millennial men have been rocking backpacks at work for years already, and I think it’s high time women got in on the game, don’t you?

Here are some of the top 5 sophisticated backpack brands that are totally appropriate to wear to work:

  1. Everlane
Everlane Work backpack
Photo from Everlane

While they say ‘Women’s Bags’ my favorite thing about these bad boys is that they look so gender neutral. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t attract attention to itself and goes with everything, Everlane is definitely the place to go. It also comes with a padded sleeve just for your laptop.

  1. Hershel’s
Hershel's work backpack
Photo from Hershel's

If you like bags that have a bit more personality and a few bells and whistles, then Hershel’s should be your brand. They have hundreds of options, ranging from smaller more discreet bags to the larger hiking variety for those teambuilding retreats.

  1. RawRow
Hershel's work backpack
Photo from RawRow

I’m new to this brand, but I’m already intrigued. Think of it as Judy Jetson meets Tomb Raider. Ultra modern look, but a super durable build. There’s even waxed varieties to ward of torrential rain or (more likely) when someone spills coffee.

  1. FjallRaven
Fjallraven Backpack Orange
Photo from Fjallraven

In addition to having a fun name to pronounce, Fjallraven has brightly colored and decidedly more athletic-looking bags. They come in just about any shape and size, so you’ll most assuredly be able to find something that fits your needs.

  1. Topo Designs
Topo Commuter Bag
Photo from Topo Designs

Topo has some of the most clever packs I’ve seen. While they’re color-block style is certainly nice to look at, their practicality is taken to a whole other level when you realize that one of their backpacks can turn into a messenger bag or a briefcase in a pinch.

Join me, women of the workplace, in saying ‘No!’ to sore shoulders and having to leave your running shoes at home. Instead, get an awesome backpack, and if anyone so much as looks at it funny, just know you’ll have the last laugh when they're on their third trip to the chiropractor.

Backpacks for life!

Tara has been writing for over 6 years, from stand-up comedy, to think-pieces, to political satire and blog posts. She now writes and edits for, and her door is open to any interested contributors.