Back to School: The Only Bags you Really Need in College.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on August 25, 2008

As I go into my junior year at Wellesley College, and pack for my fall semester away, I can’t help but think about how best to pick and choose what clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories are traveling with me and which are staying home. Whether one is going overseas, across the country, or just across the state, anytime you can’t just drive up to your school, packing efficiently becomes an issue. Especially as airlines now charge exorbitant fees for overweight luggage or that second check-in bag due to rising fuel prices, picking and choosing what to bring is now more important than ever. Having dragged alone my entire (very modest) handbag collection across the continental United States way too many times  in the last two years, I’ve put a lot of thought into which bags I actually, really, truly need while at school.

1. The School/Work Tote.

One of the most important bags to have as a college student is a roomy tote for notebooks, pens, and smaller textbooks. Those larger brick-like monsters used in most science classes don’t travel well in anything but a backpack, but anything smaller and lighter than that should be easy to carry in a tote. Even laptops can travel very safely in a sturdy tote, though your shoulder will complain and you do need to be very careful with it. Many ambitious, busy college students will have days when they need to run straight from class to work or to an off-campus internship, which is why its twice as nice to have a bag that would be at home in both settings.

At left, the Longchamp Le Pliage tote from Nordstrom for $145. This one is a bit of a splurge and also a bit of a cliche, which you’ll find out pretty quickly upon setting foot on any Boston area college campus. However, this is for good reason as it is a very elegant, simple, and ultimately very sturdy school or work bag. At right, another option, the Hip Hip Large Hobo from Nine West, on sale for $55.

2. The Night Out Bag.

Whether for a party or dinner and a movie, there are many busy evenings when the only bag you really want to be carrying is something small enough that it only fits the bare bones: cell phone, a little bit of money, an ID, and maybe a lipgloss. As you settle into the social scene and habits that work for you, there are likely to be many awkward dorm parties, frat parties, and the like. This is where a bag that can be kept conveniently at your side at all times without restricting your movement – because dancing is fun, even if the setting occasionally results in meeting sketchy people – is especially useful.

One example is the Botkier for Target shoulder bag, pictured at left, which is only $30. For a little more of a splurge, there’s the gray Kenneth Cole Seams Right shoulder bag on sale for $90, pictured at right. Wristlets are also very good for the purpose, though I find that they are a bit awkward.

3. The Day Out Bag.

By “day” bag I just mean a sort of medium-shaped bag that is good for shopping or other daytime activities yet is not as big or bulky as the school or office tote. It’s not quite as necessary, but there are going to be outfits that don’t quite go with the one nighttime bag and occasions where the school bag just won’t do at all. I really like brown, yellow, cream, or white bags for daytime, and they’ll essentially match well with just about anything my smaller black bag won’t catch.

This B. Makowsky bag from Nordstrom is only a small splurge at $188 and is just the right color and size. It’s cute and just right for a college-aged student.


5 Responses

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  1. fashionpudding said, on August 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I like all your choices for bags, very cute 🙂

  2. bluewellesleyblue said, on August 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks :]. I did my best to find bags that weren’t too high-priced.

  3. The Week in Review. « Styleaholica said, on August 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    […] ready to get back to work! The start of school is the perfect excuse for getting a new tote bag, which is an infinitely cooler way to carry one’s books than a backpack. (Of course, if one […]

  4. The Week in Review. | Software Review Blog said, on September 6, 2008 at 1:47 am

    […] ready to get back to work! The start of school is the perfect excuse for getting a new tote bag, which is an infinitely cooler way to carry one’s books than a backpack. (Of course, if one […]

  5. […] mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and […]

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