By Tasha T.
Women are ditching their purses for a more practical toting solution. They say they’ll never return to a single shoulder bag. Enter the backpack.
Why are professional white-collar women choosing to take up a backpack? We surveyed women across a range of professions from entrepreneurs to lawyers to the fresh out of college graduate. These were the most common reasons for a switch in work day attire:
Just like the rise of athleisure and sneakers as officewear, comfort is king. Women have stopped accepting that beauty has to be painful. Some women have sustained chronic shoulder and neck injuries from lugging around heavy purses or totes -- something that chiropractors and doctors alike have confirmed can be the direct result of carrying a heavy bag on a single shoulder.
“I found my right shoulder—my purse shoulder—started to look lower than the left in the mirror. I also felt some pain from my neck down my right side because of the pressure. So, I got a cute and professional backpack. The back pain went away,” says Lisa Gillespie, a reporter in Louisville.
Going from one strap to two straps can make carrying your everyday items feel like a light breeze.
Many modern work backpacks have mesh and EVA foam padding on the straps and back panel, like the ISM Classic Backpack.
2. No More Juggling Multiple Bags
"It’s all about the convenience. Not having to worry about dropping your phone or passport as you're running through the subway or airport. Being hands-free is refreshing" says one of the women who recently switched from a tote to a backpack.
The working professional woman often carries everything she needs to make it through a day at the office, from her laptop, gym clothes, to a packed lunch. Instead of juggling multiple bags on public transportation (while walking in heels), women who have switched to a backpack have found that they no longer have to try to squeeze everything into a smaller handbag.
Say goodbye to the "Great Morning Purse Transfer", there's no more moving your wallets, keys, and notebooks from one bag to the other when you've got a backpack that can hold them all.
How many items do you carry every day? Some backpacks, like The Classic have separate compartments for storing your laptop and tech accessories.
3. Easier Time with Travel
Once you backpack its hard to go back, especially when you're getting ready for a long haul trip. For the road warriors out there, a backpack can be the ideal travel companion, especially when airlines these days are limiting carry-ons bags to either a purse or backpack. A backpack paired with a sturdy carry on luggage can be all you need for a work trip or weekend away.
Work backpacks today look professional and chic, with the same swagger as a briefcase or handbag, but are as practical as the backpack you brought to elementary school, even when they're stuffed to the brim.
4. Self Care & Feminism
The backpack is “really about self-care,” says Dana Bernson in Massachusetts. "It’s also about feminism. Women are waking up to the idea that you shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable to be taken seriously."
While Men are able to put on their outfit and get on with it (cue Jack Dorsey's disheveled look that's become a meme), Women, on the other hand, are under constant scrutiny for what they're wearing and how they appear. The backpack to many of the women interviewed is a way of saying "let's solve some real problems instead."
5. More Chic Backpack Options
Whereas even if a Woman wanted to make the switch to a backpack a few years back, there simply weren't as many options as there are today. Even luxury designer brands are getting into the mix, with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Chanel creating their own designer backpacks each season.
If you're looking for something that still looks chic, practical and isn't going to cost a few months rent, there are a range of other options. From established brands like TUMI who have nylon and leather backpacks ranging from $400 - $600 to a crop of new direct to consumer brands cutting out the middleman, there are more stylish backpack options today than ever before.
That's why at ISM we decided to create our own work backpack (we get our backpacks made at the same manufacturer as TUMI, Coach, and Longchamp). We wanted to address the problems that many working professionals faced with current bags -- shoulder pain, bag juggling, bags that are either too expensive or too bulky. Because you should be able to have your stuff and carry it too.
Here's what others are saying about our flagship backpack: