Street Style: Backpack Girl

If you told me 2 years ago that I'd be willingly wearing a backpack everyday, I would've immediately objected, knocked some sense into you with a sleek leather handbag, and been on my way. 

Sure, this reaction may seem a bit extreme. But me and backpacks—we go way back.

Enter, Third Grade Melina: the girl who refused to be seen in a Jansport like all the normal kids and instead pleaded with her mom to let her carry her textbooks in a trendy Dickies messenger bag. This resulted in a very lopsided little girl (with a constantly sore left shoulder) walking around the playground.

Things didn't get much better in high school. I was involved in a bunch of extracurriculars—color guard, dance team, and the occasional musical—that all required me to lug numerous costumes and equipment to and from school. And did I consider a backpack then? Nope.

Instead, I insisted on throwing all my things into a rolling storage cart that I wheeled from my car to the locker room before practice each morning. The link above is the exact cart I rolled around every day.

Conclusion: I peaked in high school.

So, fast forward to my NYC self—a slightly more put together woman (I hope!) who wouldn't get away with rolling around a storage cart to work everyday. Although to be fair, upon the recommendation of an old colleague/former New Yorker, I was this close to buying one of those grocery granny carts after seeing how far away Trader Joe's was from my apartment.

But, I digress. The point is, I moved here and spent the first year and a half still set in my non-backpack ways that had followed me since childhood.

However, I did make some initial concessions after moving. I traded in my trendy LA crossbody that only held my keys/phone/lipstick for an intimidating leather tote that somehow managed to fit my laptop, gym clothes AND a change of shoes for any given weather condition (NYC ladies: you get it). But, I was constantly fussing with my bag on the subway and suffering from chronic shoulder pain à la Third Grade Melina. 

So a couple months ago, I found the perfect black backpack from Madewell (not #sponsored...but probably should be?) I love that it's real leather, unbranded, and just large enough to fit everything I need while still encouraging me to downsize the amount of junk I'm carrying around on a daily basis.

Since giving it a try, I haven't looked back to my handbag-wearing days. Seriously...having two hands free at all times is oddly liberating and a necessity in a city where you're always on the move. Plus, I secretly love fitting in with all the other New Yorkers and their chic backpack-sneaker combos. I'm a Backpack Girl and I don't care who knows it!

Any other city girls out there recently converted to the backpack life?


Outfit Details: Backpack - Madewell // Coat - Everlane // Sweater - H&M // Leggings - Lou & Grey // Earrings - Soko // Sunglasses - Ray-Ban

Outfit Photo Credit: Bilal Zaidi