39 ways to wear a backpack at any age (adults, too!)

Backpacks are synonymous with heading back to school, but nowadays, these cute carryalls go beyond the classroom. While they’re still the most practical way for your tots and teens, a new crop of backpacks are cool enough for stylish adults, too! From quirky and cute to understated and chic, we’ve rounded up our favorites — whether you’re toting textbooks and lunch bags or lipsticks and car keys.

For young kids

For kids heading off to nursery and elementary school, a backpack is a great way to learn about ownership and responsibility. Pack their precious belongings in something that’s impossible to forget, whether it’s a too-cute shape, image from their favorite film or festive print. Here are some of our playground-ready picks.

Rampage Customizable Backpack with stickers, $40, Macy's

Rampage customizable backpack with stickers

Fashion Accessory Bazaar LED Light-Up Backpack, $48, Nordstrom

Fashion Accessory Bazaar
Fashion Accessory Bazaar 'Mojo Galaxy' LED light up backpack

Skip Hop Zoo Backpack, $22, Zappos

Skip Hop
Skip Hop Zoo Pack

MadPax Tickle Me Pink Gator Luxe, $60, Spring

Tickle Me Pink Gator Luxe Backpack

Star Wars Backpack, $20, Old Navy

Old Navy
Old Navy Star Wars Backpack

Neff Daily Backpack, $23, PacSun

Neff Daily Backpack

Star Backpack, $26, Zara

Zara Star Backpack

STATE Mini Kane Backpack, $45, Shopbop

State Mini Kane Backpack

Girls’ Tulle Backpack, $60, J.Crew

J. Crew Girls Tulle Backpack

Patterned Backpack, $18, H&M


High Sierra Curve Backpack, $25, Zappos

High Sierra
High Sierra Curve Backpack

Survey Backpack Kids, $50, Herschel Supply Co

Herschel Supply Co.
Herschel Survey Backpack

SoYoung Linen & Cotton Backpack, $40, Nordstrom

SoYoung Linen & Cotton Backpack

For teens

At this age, your teen (or tween’s) style provides a peek into their personality. Don’t be afraid to encourage individuality, while offering a friendly reminder that comfort can be important, too. After all, these packs will likely go beyond classroom hallways to after-school activities and more.

Vans Old Skool II Backpack, $35, Urban Outfitters

Vans Old Skool II Backpack

Maje Perforated Neoprene Backpack, $98, The Outnet

Maje Perforated Neoprene Backpack

Patterned Backpack, $30, H&M

H&M Patterned Backpack

Embroidered Patch Backpack, $25, Forever 21

Embroidered Patch Backpack

Asos Metallic High Shine Backpack, $49, ASOS

ASOS Metallic High Shine Backpack

Skinny Dip Pink Velvet Backpack, $68, Topshop

Skinny Dip
Skinny Dip Pink Velvet Backpack

Bayside Acid Wash Backpack, $58, Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal
Nasty Gal Bayside Acid Wash Backpack

Alexandra Mini Backpack, $88, French Connection

Alexandra Mini Backpack

STATE Kane Backpack, $60, Shopbop

STATE Kane Backpack

Circus by Sam Edelman Clear “Eyes” Backpack, $85, Macy's

Circus by Sam Edelman
Circus by Sam Edelman Clear 'Eyes' Backpack

Canvas Backpack, $38, BAGGU

Baggu Canvas Backpack

Donught Macaroon Backpack, $80, Shopbop

Doughnut Macaroon Backpack

For grown-ups

Adult backpacks are not only acceptable — they’re seriously fashionable! Sleek, chic styles rule the runways and infuse a youthful spirit into any modern wardrobe. Whether you’re running errands around town or trekking a laptop to and from work, a grownup backpack is a great choice for on-the-go adults. And you can't go wrong with a bag that leaves you hands-free.

Silence + Noise Sloane Simple Backpack, $54, Urban Outfitters

Silence + Noise
Silence + Noise Sloane Simple Backpack

Asos Laser Cut Backpack, $45, ASOS

ASOS Laser Cut Backpack

STATE Liberty Backpack, $65, Shopbop

STATE Liberty Backpack

Black Leather Look Zip Around Backpack, $60, River Island

River Island
River Island Black Leather Look Backpack

Minimal Effort Vegan Leather Backpack, $58, Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal
Nasty Gal Minimal Effort Vegan Leather Backpack

Reid Backpack, $48, Herschel Supply Co.

Herschel Supply Co.
Herschel Supply Co. Reid Backpack

BDG Velma Leather Mini Backpack, $69, Urban Outfitters

BDG Velma Leather Mini Backpack

Deux Lux NYC Backpack, $40, Bloomingdale's

Deux Lux
Deux Lux NYC Backpack

LOVE BRAVERY Mini Backpack, $24, Macy's

LOVE BRAVERY Mini Backpack

New Look Mini Faux Shearling Backpack, $31, ASOS

New Look
New Look Mini faux shearling backpack

Rigid Backpack, $40, Zara

Zara Rigid Backpack

The Dipped Mini Zip Backpack, $70, Everlane

Everlane The Dipped Mini Zip Backpack

Kyllie Small Vegan Backpack, $50, Sole Society

Sole Society
Sole Society Kyllie Small Vegan Backpack