Behold! The mini backpack.
You might remember this trend from the early '90s .... Well, this fall it has come back with a vengeance.
Designers like Tory Burch (whose $495 Norah bag is pictured here) and Kate Spade are offering small, luxe backpacks this season, many of which also come with shoulder straps or top handles.
My advice: Invest in this trend. I still have an understated black DKNY mini backpack from the '90s, and it has been invaluable over the years as a hands-free way to carry my gear, without resorting to the dreaded fanny pack. Now, as a mom, I'm using it more than ever.
However, the Tory Burch bag might be a tiny bit over your budget, no?
Let's check out some affordable alternatives ....
First, let's take a look at what the high-end designers are doing. This Henry cuir backpack (Barneys, $2,350) is pretty and PRICEY.
This cute Kate Spade black nylon backpack (Lord & Taylor, $225) is more budget-friendly, but still on the high side.
The price is getting better on this cool Dooney & Bourke small backpack (Macy's, $175).
And the look is still more affordable at ModCloth, where this Gentle Fawn Rebel Without a Purse Backpack (ModCloth, $92.99) can give you a James Dean-style edge.
For the money, this Lizette backpack (Fossil, $98) is one of my favorites of the group.
And I love the distressed metallic look of this Roxy Meander backpack (eBags, $52).
This O'Neill Convertible Backpack (Swell, $46) is not only a great price, but it also converts to a shoulder bag.
And if you're super-short on cash, don't fret! Check out this Merona Claire leather backpack (Target, $29.99).
While I'm not advocating the mini-backpack as a regular day bag (unless you can afford the Tory Burch version, which is lovely), it really is a fantastic bag for those of you who are beyond the diaper bag stage, but still need something hands-free in which to keep your drinks/keys/wallet/wipes/hand sanitizer/camera. Use your mini backpack on hikes, at the amusement park, at the zoo, at concerts, or wherever else you want to not have to worry about hauling around a handbag.
What do you think of the mini backpack? Do you have one? Would you carry one?