10 backpacks for work, play and the gym

The backpack has graduated from a school essential to a wardrobe must-have. Before you borrow your younger sibling’s backpack, check out these 10 chic designs that are perfect for the office, weekend and the gym; and they score high on style too

(From left) Backpacks seen at Chanel, Ostwald Helgason and Tommy Spring Summer 2014 runways. Credit: Showbit

After years of toting everything and the sink in “It” bags, my shoulders and back were relieved to see backpacks hit the runways and filter off onto the streets. Chanel’s Spring Summer 2014 art student-inspired backpack came complete with spray-paint stencil details, bringing back memories of my friends and I “vandalising” our secondary school Eastpaks and Jansports.

The others seen in the Spring Summer 2014 shows were less of the schoolgirl variety ‒ the structured haversack seen at Ostwald Helgason was decidedly polished while the Tommy Hilfiger models swung sporty colour blocked backpacks as they strutted down the runway.

The Mini Cara Delevinge bag in monochrome camou haircalf (right) retails for $3,990 and will be available at Mulberry stores from September 2014 onwards.

Mulberry jumped on the bandwagon this season too. To make up for its no-show at London Fashion Week, the British label collaborated with model Cara Delevingne to create a three-in-one bag that can be handheld; slung on the shoulder; and worn as a backpack.

I’m thankful that this trend has reminded us that backpacks make equally strong style statements as any arm candy while saving you from the slanted shoulder syndrome. In fact, with every brand taking a spin on the backpack, there’s no excuse not to carry one to work, play and the gym. So I’ve searched for nine different styles to adopt into your wardrobe.

From left: Mismo backpack Dark Brown Nylon, $788, from Kapok; Robinson Pebbled EW backpack in light oak, price on application, from Tory Burch; Verdi backpack, $420, from Samsonite Red

When you think of it, the backpack’s actually the most ideal bag for toting your heavy laptop and files to and from the office. This Danish designed one from Mismo has a special compartment for laptops. A structured shape is most important when it comes to work-appropriate backpacks, the feminine options from Tory Burch and Samsonite Red will definitely fit right in with any ladylike office ensemble.

From left: Alexander Wang backpack, $2,370, from On Pedder; Suede mini backpack with fringing, $73.76, from ASOS; Stella McCartney backpack, price on application, from On Pedder

Mini backpacks from days of yore are back in full force and ideal for a hands-free weekend, think how easy it will be to dance at outdoor music festivals and still have all your belongings safely on your back. Fringe has been a huge trend for bags and works with a brilliant yellow like this Asos one. The bright purple trimming and unexpected chain detail offsets the laidback denim material of the Stella McCartney backpack. This Alexander Wang number heads straight to the top of our Autumn Winter wish list because red is in

From left: Alpha Bravo Baltic Cadet Cannon Backpack, $465, available from August 2014 from Tumi; Backpack, price on application, from DKNY; Wildfox polka dot drawstring backpack, $243.42, from Asos

Looking good is half the battle won when heading to the gym. Toss your workout essentials into backpacks that add some street cred to your gym look. Logos are big this season too – reach for the quilted DKNY and retro drawstring Wildfox backpacks. I like how the Tumi one can actually pass off as a present for my man and then I will “borrow” it for the gym.

For a list of Tory Burch boutique locations, go to
Find Mismo at Kapok at National Design Center, 111 Middle Road
For a list of Samsonite Red boutique locations, go to
On Pedder is at #02-10/13 Scotts Square and #02-12 Takashimaya Shopping Centre
For a list of Tumi boutique locations, go to
DKNY is at #03-02 Ion Orchard; Level 2 Isetan Orchard; Level 2 Takashimaya Department Store; and #02-43 Paragon