Brown Threads: The Backpack

Sydney Fashion Week by Tommy Ton [Inspiration]

Ever wonder what college students wear to survive the temperamental New England weather in style? Not sure what to pack for college? Curious about the trends fashionable Brown students are trying out each season? Look no further! Brown Threads with Caitlin Meuser will feature weekly posts about the fashion seen on Brown University’s campus.

News Flash: the backpack is en vogue right now. If you have been using a backpack for years to lug your books to and from class, this may not seem like a new development to you. However, the new backpack is very different than your traditional “I can handle anything that you put in me” backpack. The new backpack is slouchy, small, has a flap top, and is usually made of leather or a canvas-like material. True it can’t really carry much, but it is incredibly cute.

If you, however, want a new bag for college that is actually able to carry all of your books, notepads, and accessories, there are many options for you. The most popular backpacks at Brown include Herschel, Fjallraven Kanken, Patagonia, and North Face. All of these backpacks have very different styles, so it is important that you chose the one that best fits your own personal aesthetic. Personally, I prefer the backpacks that are made of a nylon material because I think they keep my books dry in the rain and snow.

Tote bags are also popular on campus if backpacks are just not your thing. Cambridge Satchels are common, as are plain leather totes in dark brown or black. The darker the color, the less likely it is to get stained from the New England elements when you step outside. While tote bags go great with fancier outfits as compared to backpacks, they can also hurt your back if you carry too much around for a long amount of time. Many tote bags also get stained or ruined by the rain. Due to these unfortunate occurrences, I like to switch between a backpack and a tote bag depending on my mood and outfit for the day. I am of the firm belief that you can never have too many options when it comes to bags.

No matter your taste in bags, you can be sure that someone else on campus will be sporting something similar. Just make sure that the bag is comfortable to wear and holds enough of your school supplies!

If you have any questions about the fashion at Brown or what to pack for life as a college student, please email me at


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