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Friday Fashion: the best ways to bag your books

Many consider North Face backpacks to be the standard. Many of you probably own one. If you’re anything like myself, you were probably a little skeptical about buying a bag with such an expensive price tag. Even a simple model will cost you at least $75. To most people, especially poor college students, this seems like a ridiculous price for a backpack. But depending on your textbook load, it might be worth it.

$75 might seem like an outrageous amount of money to spend on a backpack, but plenty of people find it acceptable to spend that money on a “well-fitting” pair of jeans. If you think about it, you will use your backpack five days a week for 30 weeks, roughly three quarters (and that’s if you only use it for one year). That’s 150 days, so you’re paying about 50 cents a day for a North Face backpack. I doubt that you’ll wear your pair of designer jeans for even half that time.

It’s true that all the straps and buckles on North Faces make users look more like mountain climbers than college students, but the technology put into designing these bags makes them worth more than your typical backpack. As men and women have different body structures, straps for these bags are designed to address the gender differences.

Women’s straps are rounded to fit comfortably around the bust and rib area, while men’s straps are more vertical to fit males’ more rectangular forms.

If you still want a backpack but want to avoid the North Face price tag, try brands like L.L.Bean, Lands’ End or JanSport. They aren’t made to fit your exact measurements, but they should meet your overall needs. However, the traditional backpack style is not for everyone.

It’s pretty obvious that backpacks are not the most chic carryall. For those of you who want to stay stylish no matter what, an oversized tote bag is the way to go. These can hold everything from your laptop to your lip gloss; just try to avoid carrying more than one textbook in it. Find one made of 100 percent leather or another sturdy fabric to avoid any sort of breakage. Also, look for totes with a zipper to keep your books from getting wet in the harsh weather.

Handbag look-alikes aren’t for everyone. Another alternative to the traditional backpack is a messenger bag. These bags come in all sorts of fabrics, colors and styles. Try to find messengers with multiple compartments for your pens, iPod, wallet and keys. This style is perfect for those of us who text while we walk, because your hands remain free at all times.

Choose the style that suits you best. This means finding a bag that you like and that fits your lifestyle. If you plan on carrying heavy books and a laptop around, the tote could lead to back issues that could become health problems in the future. In this case, practicality takes priority over trendiness because pain and discomfort are never in style.

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