Back to School Shopping Guide: 36 Cute & Affordable Fall Bags

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Back to School Shopping Guide Fall Bags


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Whether you're already back on campus or are still packing up all your stuff, there's one thing that every college student needs before heading to class: the perfect bag! Between all of the textbooks, school supplies and other random things required throughout the day, every college girl needs a practical, stylish and not-too-expensive bag to carry all of her essentials.

Still looking for that perfect bag to carry your textbooks in style? Scroll on down to check out our round-up of cute and affordable backpacks, totes and messenger bags for back-to-school:

Not-So Basic Backpacks

Believe it or not, backpacks are actually going to be super-trendy this season! However, we're not talking your basic, run-of-the-mill backpacks here. Ever since Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's fashion line The Row debuted a $39,000 crocodile skin backpack, luxe knapsacks have been having a major fashion moment.

Aside from being stylish, a backpack is also perfect for lugging lots of heavy items across campus. Plus, with all of the adorable backpacks in stores now, it's never been easier to find a style that fits your personal aesthetic.

Does a backpack sound like the perfect school bag for you? Stand out in a sea of JanSport and L.L. Bean with one of these stylish picks below:

Cute and Affordable Backpacks Fall 2011

Top: Zip-Front Canvas Backpack - YesStyle, Plaid Backpack - Target, Hitchhiker Convertible Bag - Nasty Gal, Baja Blanket Backpack - Urban Outfitters

Middle: Floral Canvas Backpack - ASOS, Canvassing Backpack in Uptown - ModCloth, Striped Deux Lux Backpack - Urban Outfitters, Canvas Rucksack - Urban Outfitters

Bottom: Polka Dot Backpack - VS Pink, Aztec Print Backpack - ASOS, Volcom Fright Night Backpack - Buckle, American Living Logan Backpack - JCPenney

Trendy Totes

Tote bags are always popular among college-aged girls because they're both cute and functional. The perfect tote can instantly make any outfit look über-chic and can be a great way to show off your personal style.

The only downside is that these bags aren't extremely roomy and can't handle heavy loads the same way a backpack can. On the plus side, though, a tote can work double duty as a go-to bag to carry around when you aren't in class, so you're likely to get a lot of bang for your buck!

There are tons of options out there when it comes to size, material, color and pattern, so hopefully you'll find a tote that fits your personal style below:

Cute and Affordable Tote Bags Fall 2011

Top: Madeline Tote - JCPenney, Rope Print Tote - Urban Outfitters, Wisdom by Winston Tote - ModCloth,  Linea Pelle Purple Tote - Target

Middle: Dark Elm Takeaway Tote - J. Crew, Black Floral Antique Shopper - Topshop, Hey Jute Leopard Tote - Nine West, Rachel Roy Japan Tote - Zappos Couture

Bottom: Utility Canvas Bag - Forever 21, Raspberry Shopper Tote - American Eagle Outfitters, Tribal Tote Bag - PacSun, Pocket-Front Tote - ASOS

Must-Have Messenger Bags

Messenger bags represent the middle-ground between the first two styles: they have all the practicality of a roomy backpack, with a similar style to a tote. These bags are also a classic, meaning they'll never go out of style. So, invest in a good messenger bag and you'll have a durable and stylish choice for years to come.

Looking for a cool messenger bag to carry around campus? Here are some of our favorites:

Cute and Affordable Messenger Bags Fall 2011

Top: Two-Tone Messenger Bag - Zara, Teal Flap Satchel - American Eagle Outfitters, Harajuku Lovers Fluorescent Black Bag - Zappos, Ossington Greene Messenger Bag - Endless

Middle: Vintage Canvas Medic Bag - Amazon, Edith Messenger Bag - Macy's, Buckled Messenger Bag - Zara, Berkeley Messenger Bag - Macy's

Bottom: Red Leather Messenger Bag - Zara, Black Poppy Messenger Bag - PacSun, Canvas Messenger Bag - H&M, Natural Linen Messenger Bag - Debenhams

Your thoughts?

What kind of bag do you carry to class? Would you ever wear a backpack? What do you think of the bags featured here? Which one is your favorite? Remember to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!