5 Ways To Rock A Chic Backpack Without Feeling Like Class Is In Session

In season two of "Laguna Beach," Lauren Conrad famously said:

Boys are like purses. You're always gonna have that one boy that you're always comfortable with and you know you'll always kind of like. That's your purse that you wear everywhere.

In this case, that bag "you wear everywhere" can be a backpack. It's functional, good for your back and if worn correctly, can be pretty stylish. A good backpack never lets you down.

I'm not talking about your monogrammed red L.L. Bean backpack with the ink-stained bottom and worn shoulder straps you wore from science lab to soccer practice. That baby, just like your awkward years, is way past its glory days. RIP.

Keep that vintage backpack from high school toward the back of your closet (it's a classic, don't throw it away), and find one a little more corporate than classroom.

1. Go hands-free in a dress

A dress already serves as a statement piece, so as long as you keep the pattern or shape of the dress simple, a backpack is the perfect accessory. And in my mind, if Karlie Kloss approves, no one else can question the look.

2. Head to the gym (or pretend you are)

While the Parisians may not agree with the "athletic chic" vibe, Americans are always down for a tennis-shoes-and-leggings ensemble – even if the gym isn't in the cards that day.

Stay away from the "just got out of SoulCycle" look by pairing an athletic backpack with a nicer sweater and your prized watch.

3. Keep it old school

These days, a Michael Kors wallet replaces your pencil box while a laptop fits where a spiral notebook used to be -- and the Jansport has never been cooler. Plus, you don't have an administrator measuring the length of your skirt, forcing you to abide by the dress code. It's all about the two-strap.

4. Add a pop of color

If you're afraid of looking like a kindergartener carrying a backpack, play it safe and wear all black. A mature color palette and a simple pair of earrings will balance the look. But remember, a backpack is supposed to be fun, so don't take it too seriously.

5. Keep it classic

If all else fails, a simple leather backpack will work with just about any outfit in your closet and seamlessly take you from day to night. A bag like this one gives you a bit more freedom with the rest of the look. Throw your iPhone, tampons, credit card and driver's license in the bag, and play around with accessories based on the colors and textures of the other pieces.

Images via Polyvore