So, my partner Troy has been threatening to ditch his Tumi bag that he carries to work every day in favor of a backpack. But all I can think about is the men I see on the New York subway every morning, dressed to the nines, but with a backpack strapped to them that looks like a JanSport holdover from their high school or college days. So for Troy - aIl any other grown men who want to go the backpack route but keep it fashionable - here are three I recommend to keep you from looking like you aren't quite ready for prime time.
Get to know Matt & Nat
I saw someone with this one on the subway a few weeks ago, and it made such an impression that I looked up the makers as soon as I got home. Interestingly, these guys have been around a long time and got their start in Montreal with a commitment never to make their products from leather or other animal-based materials. They use recycled nylon, cardboard, cork, rubber - and even bicycle tires. And the result is a line of great-looking, affordable products that you can pair with shorts for a picnic in the park or a Ted Baker suit for a day at the office in Manhattan. I like "The Dean" from their Vintage Collection, but you will probably find lots of other things to interest you at their site. So head on over for great selections designed with both men and women in mind.
Let's talk about Hex
Another design with clean lines that I love for making the backpack okay for grownups is made by Hex. Their "Supply Origin Backpack" will hold both a 15" MacBook and an iPad - all in a water-resistant, waxed coating for those days when you realize once the downpour starts that you have once again left your umbrella at the office. They also offer a nice selection of laptop and iPhone cases, as well as overnight bags. And you can't beat the prices.
Herschel can supply you, but...
Ok, if you live in a city, you've seen these everywhere - the Herschel Supply Co. backpack. They're ubiquitous, and they're good-looking, well-made, and timeless. But be careful. If you're putting their line with a business suit for weekdays, you're gonna need to stay with dark colors. Otherwise, you'll look like you're headed for a weekend in the woods. I recommend their black canvas "Little America Backpack."