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How to Carry Your School Stuff in Style


Contents of a purse

Face it: As amazing as life as a college girl is, we’re busy and we have a lot of stuff. Going from classes, to the library, to that study session across campus requires some serious equipment. Obviously, we need some heavy-duty bags to carry our things from place to place! But boring backpacks all the time?! No thanks!

There are plenty of adorable options out there that will help you carry your books, computer, and even your keys in style. Fashion and function! What could be better?

Ways to Carry Your Books:


Backpacks are the obvious go-to for toting heavy loads from place to place, and there are tons of cute options out there, if that’s your style.

Pick a solid color for utility, a fun pattern to brighten up your mornings, or a pack with fun features to make your trek to class more enjoyable. Backpacks provide more support and space than any of the other options on this list, so if you’ve got a lot of books and gear, or like to take your laptop with you from class to class, the classic backpack is going to be your best pick.


Product Information: Hurley Paige Merlot Viceroy Backpack, Java Blue Backpack, Vera Bradley. The North Face Vault Backpack, Hayden-Harnett Bleecker Nylon Backpack,

Tote Bags:

Tote bags are an adorable way to carry all of your things inside AND outside of class. One of the many pros of a cute tote is just that–you can use it for books on weekdays and as a purse on weekends!

Tote bags are definitely more chic than backpacks, and they can make your outfit look pulled-together and polished. If you’ve ever hit the mall or a coffee shop after class with your backpack, you know how awkward it can feel carrying it off-campus, but with a tote, you won’t have that problem!

Unfortunately, unless you have an extremely roomy tote, it’s probably not going to be able to hold as much as a backpack. Also, since totes are not as durable as backpacks, you’re going to need to watch the weight of whatever you put inside. It’s definitely a trade off, but if looking good is a top priority, totes are always a great bet.


Product Information: Croc-Print Patent Tote, Thomas Paul Coral Tote, Adrianne Satchel, Marc by Marc Jacobs Into the Wild Pretty Nylon Animal Print Tote, Bloomingdales.

Messenger Bags:

Messenger bags are a great option if you want to carry your laptop or gym clothes. Style wise, if you have a laid-back, bohemian look, it will probably be easy for you to rock a messenger bag.

Depending on how much you have to carry, you can choose from giant, luggage-style bags to small, cross-body swing packs. It’s up to you! If you want to stand out on campus, choose a messenger bag–not many ladies have them and they can be really cute!

Messenger Bags

Product Information: Lucky Brand Peace Keeper Messenger, Wildkin Girl Rodeo Messenger Bag, Lucky Brand Abbey Road, Piperlime. Hurley Autumn Mess Messenger Bag,

Ways to Carry Your Computer:

Laptop Sleeves:

Laptop sleeves are great if you plan on tucking your computer into your bag during commutes. They’ll keep your laptop covered and protected from all your other stuff.

Most laptop sleeves are minimally padded and light weight, but there are some models made of fabric-coated hard foam that will help your computer survive being dropped, kicked, or sat on. (It could happen!) Sleeves come at all price points, and in many patterns, colors, and styles. If you’re into artsy options that no one else will have, Etsy is a great place to look for sleeves.

Laptop Sleeves

Product Information: California Leash Manhattan Beach Laptop Sleeve, Case Logic PC Reversible Laptop Sleeve, Abbi New York Leopard Laptop Sleeve,

Laptop Bags:

In comparison to sleeves, laptop bags are a much more substantial way to carry and protect your laptop.

Like sleeves, they come in many different colors and patterns, but unlike sleeves, they also make transporting your computer from place to place easier. Some laptop bags even have enough room for a notebook and binder, so they’re perfect for those afternoons studying in the campus coffee shop!

Whether you want a simple style with a handle or a full-on bag with heavy-duty straps, you’ll be covered– with tons of options!


Product Information: eBags Vertical Laptop Sleeve, Juicy Couture Velour Laptop Case with Removable Strap, Nordstrom. Daisy Daisy Tall Zip Tote, Vera Bradley.

Laptop Cases and Skins:

Although technically laptop cases won’t help you in transporting your things from place to place, they’re a great option for those of you who want a little extra protection for your computer.

Most laptop cases simply snap on to your computer to protect it from dirt, stains, finger prints and scratches, while also making it look adorable! If you’re a Mac girl and have been jealous of the neon Dell or Vaio laptops, snap-on cases are the perfect way for you to get your color fix.

If snap-on cases and covers aren’t your thing but you still want to spice up your computer, try decals or skins! You’ll get the same sassy style without the bulk.


Product Information: Montauk Blue Suede Skin, Lavish Leopard Laptop Skin, Satin Touch Hard Laptop Shell,

Keys, ID, & Everything In Between!

Key Chains & Key Covers:

If you’ve lived away from home for long, you’ve probably come to realize just how many keys and cards you’ve acquired. There’s a key to get into your building, your room, even your mailbox, and they all look suspiciously similar. What’s a girl to do?!

First of all, invest in an adorable key chain to hold all of your keys, and second, try a key cover to differentiate!

Lots of schools have rules about making marks on their keys, so it’s easy to get confused about which key does what. Luckily, there are key covers–stretchy, durable shields that go over the head of your keys. Choose from animal faces, favorite characters, colors, or shapes for a fun way to easily tell your keys apart.

Key Chains and Covers

Product Information: Coach Pink OP Art Heart Locket Key Fob, Kitty Key Covers, Urban Outfitters. Peace Sign Key Fob, Juicy Couture. Freakey Key Covers,

ID Holders:

ID holders are definitely a college girl essential. Different from a regular wallet, an ID holder will do just what it sounds like–hold your ID!

These are great for those times when you only need your essentials, and don’t want to tote around all of your credit cards or money throughout the day. If you need to show your ID to people to use it, it’s best to choose an option with a clear-window, or just have a simple plastic piece that can attach to a key chain or lanyard. Mini-Skinnies, luggage tags, and coin purses are also adorable ways to keep your ID close.


Product Information: Hope garden Clip Zip ID, Vera Bradley. Bow Luggage Tag, Coach Mini Skinny, Macy’s. Metallic Zippered Coin Wallet, Forever 21.


Before I came to college, I had never used a lanyard and never thought I would need to use one! Though guys always seem to have them for keys, they just didn’t become necessary for me until college when I was faced with the need to carry and quickly find my multiple keys, ID holder, and swipe card.

Lanyards are extremely helpful–you can wear them around your neck, stuff them in your pockets, or pull them out of your backpack for easy access to your most prized possessions. Do some digging–there are adorable, girly lanyards available online if not in your campus bookstore!


Product Information: Pink Jumbo Dots Lanyard, Volcom Dollface Lanyard, Personalized Monogram Button Lanyards, Vera Bradley Lanyard,

Your thoughts?

How do you carry your stuff from place to place? Do you prefer function to fashion, or do you need a cute bag to brighten up your school days? Let us know with your comments!

Posted on on November 3, 2009 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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32 Responses to “How to Carry Your School Stuff in Style”

  1. 1
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:26 am

    i think this is a really great article! collegefashion has definitely expanded and i’m loving what i’m reading!

    personally, i prefer the tote bag. like you said, the tote bag really pulls it altogether so i don’t look like a total disaster! plus for my major/career, i want to give off the impression of being a little more professional and sophisticated. a backpack just sends you wayyyyy back to 8th grade, in my opinion. right now i’m actually looking for a new tote bag and the coach black tribeca is screaming my name :D

  2. 2
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:45 am

    You have some great picks here! I absolutely love the leopard laptop case and skin… I might have to get both! Also, those ID holders are a great idea.
    You got one thing right – we’re busy and we definitely have a lot of stuff!

  3. 3
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:54 am

    such a great article! i love it. everything’s so cute and something every college girl needs and probably wants. GOOD JOB

  4. 4
    November 3rd, 2009 at 11:06 am

    This is an awesome post! I am going to have to get a cute laptop sleeve and an ID card holder. You are bad for my wallet ;)

  5. 5
    November 3rd, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I love this post! I’ve been using a Vera Bradley tote bag, but I think I need to move on to a messenger back or a backpack soon. No one carries an umbrella here, and when it rains it funnels right into by bag!

  6. 6
    November 3rd, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Most days on campus, I carry my regular purse and use a recyclable shopping bag for my books. I love tote bags but I typically don’t use them for school since I’m afraid of putting too much weight in them. I prefer using cheap reusable bags because I won’t feel bad if I rip out the bottom (which I’ve never done.)

  7. 7
    November 3rd, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Great post! I was just thinking about getting a new school bag and this helps!

  8. 8
    November 3rd, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Best article in quite a while!
    I alter between a messenger bag in brown leather and one in an indian style fabric, since as you said, it complements a boho look perfectly.
    I find that a tote bag limits me too much – my arms are freer with a messenger bag, which also carries the weight of my ridiculous amount of books better.

  9. 9
    November 3rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Vera Bradley makes a bag specifically for laptops, but I know they have a lot of other great totes. Here’s the link:

    There’s also a mini-laptop case on there.

  10. 10
    November 3rd, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Great post! This is exactly what I’ve been starting to notice as becoming a problem for me. Thanks!

  11. 11
    November 3rd, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Nice post, thank you, there’s some really good stuff on here. I like the laptop bags.

  12. 12
    November 3rd, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I don’t typically walk around with books. My textbooks are all in the 600 page area and I’m in class from 8-5ish or 11-6ish daily…so,no way I’m carrying around textbooks.

    So I usually rock a big purse, with a few notebooks, pens, etc. =)

  13. 13
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I use a longchamp le pilage tote for my book bag and i love it!

  14. 14
    November 3rd, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I used a backpack freshman year, then moved on to cute (big) totes. I felt like I was moving up to a more grown up bag. Now for work I use a structured tote, as do most of the girls at the office.

  15. 15
    November 4th, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Thank :)

  16. 16
    November 4th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    The best ID Holder ever is the Vera Bradley one! Every year I get a new style/color and I love it and people always ask me where I got it from. It’s super easy I can leave my ID in and show people when they need to see it or when I needed to get into my dorm when I lived there I just swiped it without having to take me ID out or search for it.

  17. 17
    November 4th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I was wondering if College Fashion could do a post on fashion inspired by the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. Also if College Fashion could profile the hair from the movie too. Thanks!

  18. 18
    November 4th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I loved the pictures ! It’s a cute article besides it’s very usefull :) really to carry book without being ugly is hard for example I carry all my books myself because my hand bag can’t carry them :D

  19. 19
    November 4th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I was wondering could you do an article on what every college girl should carry with her for emergencies: make-up ones, fashion ones and real life emergencies.

  20. 20
    November 4th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    this is a good post, but zephyr did it last year….

  21. 21
    November 4th, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    So cute and useful! But I’m surprised you didn’t mention the Longchamp Le Pliage tote bag, which almost every single girl on campus here carries in all sorts of colors. It’s definitely the most ubiquitous bag on campus, and I recommend it, despite its price, because it transitions nicely into a functional yet chic bag that you can carry to the office as well.

  22. 22
    November 5th, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Io vorrei un’articolo interamente dedicato a jenny humphrey!!!!! Mi piace il suo stile!!!! Besos!!!!

  23. 23
    November 8th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Tillys has cute key covers (and cheap too!):

  24. 24
    November 11th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    To carry my junk in a tote bag because it holds everything and it’s not to mention, stylish which is a plus. I definately prefer fashion over function as shallow as that sounds but the good thing is its easy to find pieces that are both stylish and functional.

  25. 25
    December 11th, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    I would like to add another product to the mix for protecting you laptop computer. I can send you a sample if you are interested. Please let me know.



  26. 26
    March 30th, 2010 at 4:59 am

    i prefer the tote bag. like you said, the tote bag really pulls it altogether so i don’t look like a total disaster! plus for my major/career, i want to give off the impression of being a little more professional and sophisticated.

  27. 27
    July 11th, 2010 at 9:44 am

    i love everything of this site this site is filled with collest things which makes you stylish

  28. 28
    January 6th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    i like your stuff but i need close not that stuf

  29. 29
    January 12th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I love all these cute ideas!(: it seems like you’re really into vera bradley though, which i think is cute, but I don’t want to have an overload of vera bradley everything!

  30. 30
    November 21st, 2011 at 8:12 am

    L0VE IT…….

  31. 31
    August 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Awesome… moving to London so I hope everybody wears stuff like this over there …. if not i can set the new trend!!!!
    thnx soooo much 4 this!!!
    damn i love america!!!!!

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