This hands-free, cute carry-all might just replace your trusty tote bag.


The backpack is seeing a renaissance. Once relegated to students and hiking enthusiasts, grown-up versions of this school staple abound from leather rucksack-inspired packs to understated miniature models.

While your bottomless tote bag harbors the gravitational force to suck in all manner of objects to forever be lost and traps your hair underneath the strap, a backpack can offer hands-free function and compartmentalization. You'll spend less time reaching your hand into the abyss hoping to pull out your keys, only to find a fistful of old Publix receipts and ponytail holders.

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You need not venture into the back-to-school section to find your match, and you don't have to drop a stack for a stylish one either. My favorite is the affordable $42 Drawstring Backpack from Baggu, my favorite brand for ultra-practical travel items from weekender bags to nylon pouches that come in playful prints and chic shades.

Although it's a simple canvas pack, the low-profile look makes it easy to pair with almost any everyday outfit from jeans and a t-shirt to a sundress. I put my cell phone in one of the two side pockets for quick access and keep my keys and other easy-reach items in the top pocket inside. It's also easy to pull the drawstring close and button the flap so your items are secure.

But my favorite part is how I can freely move my arms, bend over, and generally be a human without having a tote bag hit me in the face or a handbag slide down my shoulder or a crossbody strap awkwardly cut across my torso. Liberate yourselves from the tyranny of totes and still look cute? It's a win-win for us all.