A few years ago, the average snob would have turned her nose up at even the mention of the word “backpack.” Now images of boys sporting North Face backpacks have been fully extinguished from our minds. But, ironically, the best backpacks of the moment are tougher than anything a hulking guy would wear. There’s nothing cooler than spotting a feminine girl who isn’t afraid to don an accessory with a seriously masculine edge. Let these backpacks add some swagger to your step, and turn up the heat with a bit of bling and a swipe of lipstick. Backpacks are all about balance – and so are you.
1) The Row Drawstring Backpack: For the tough girl who has grown up and developed an appreciation for refinement. With graphic and minimal gold-tone hardware and a lambskin-lined interior, this calfskin leather rucksack will tread seamlessly from combat boots to stiletto booties. At Barneys New York for $3,900.
2) Patrick Ervell Leather Backpack: The backpack is a bag that should always be on the metro side. If it’s girly, it’s not quite right. Patrick Ervell designed this simple style with ultimate neutrality, and the braided horsehair straps make it feel special. On La Garçonne for $667.
3) Marc by Marc Jacobs Mashed Up Henry Backpack: Sport and shine. I would treat this one like a glorified gym bag, for dashing from workouts to casual errands. The mix of shiny, coated cotton and rough, textured calfskin makes for the interest this boyish bag needs to be snob-approved. At Barneys New York for $498.
4) Madewell Railway Rucksack: A little vintage-collegiate, a little country-rustic, and a lot tomboy-tough. Wear this frugal-find as if you’ve had it for years and let it get distressed to the max. Style it with grunge-influenced glamour (read, a plaid flannel shirt and slinky leather leggings). On ShopBop for $235.
5) Alexander Wang Spring 2012 Runway Backpack: You just can’t have a tough-girl list without Alex Wang, the ultimate champion of hard-edged tomboy-chic. For his latest collection, he sent gangs of biker chicks and sexy jocks down the runway. Their bag of choice? Naturally, the killer backpack. Hard, sturdy leather; nuanced details, like sliced bands and a contrasting zipper panel; and a refreshing crossbody strap for a diagonal shape make this the top pick for resilient girls with don’t-mess-with-me style.