While you may imagine you look like Audrey Hepburn while cycling to work the likelihood is you don’t, sorry. The increasing popularity of cycling to work here in London is facing women (and men) with an increasing number of style issues. Remaining stylish whilst being forced to be practical and all within the constraints a bike dictates is no easy task.
Now I have a slight confession here, I have not been near a bike in years, this is not to say I have not done my fair share of cycling in the past, but recently you’re more likely to see me walk or take the tube than hop on a bike. This post is inspired by an issue my more sporty friends and family members have asked me about recently; finding the perfect, stylish backpack – practical enough for cycling, yet with an edge of sophistication and glamour for meetings and work.
This is a challenge; you need enough space for work clothes, for it to be easy to clean, to go with a wide variety of outfits, yet also for it to be stylish. Google “chic backpacks for cycling” and you’ll see why this is such an elusive item. The most commonly recommended is the Hershel ‘Post’. However, while the ‘Post’ is practical it definitely lacks the class to carry for the rest if the day. It may also not be the most weatherproof option.
The Hershel ‘Post’ £41.48
The other one thrown up by this simple Google search is the Cambridge Satchel Company’s backpack version of their classic satchel. Now available in portrait as well as landscape.This is getting a bit closer, but these actually don’t fit much in, nor do they look as chic as the brief here dictates. I also personally am not a fan of this backpack version – they tend to make you look like an overgrown school child.
The Cambridge Satchel Company ‘portrait backpack’ £165
Now you’ve seen the bad let’s widen the search terms and look at the good. Add in the word ‘leather’ to your Google search and this starts to churn out a bit more. Leather is essentially the key here. You want the bag to be weatherproof and stylish, the material that will give you that is a good quality leather. Then it’s a case of thinking price – bad news, to fit this brief you are going to have to invest a bit, but it will be worth it and it will last – the pounds per wear philosophy is a good one here. Then colour, black or neutral, both are timeless and will go with anything, don’t get swayed by the ‘it’ colour of the season. And finally, style features – the size has to be big enough to fit in your work clothes etc, yet not too cumbersome as this will be on your back on the commute itself, a zip fastening is safer while cycling and then features that allow it to transfer easily from the commute to that important meeting.
A good tip here is to narrow down your search and then to look on an online shopping ‘superstore’ such as Asos, Nordstrom, Lane Crawford or Shop Style. All of these will let you get a better idea of the options and once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for these are much easier to navigate. So here’s a few better options:
Kara, pebble leather backpack, £285
Rebecca Minkoff ‘Julian’ backpack £203.95
These two styles are much more the stylish professional woman than the previous two. Both are sleek,elegant, and practical. Neither are overly fussy, yet they retain some level of individuality in the way they fasten. The colour selection on both is gorgeous. My personal preference here is the Rebecca Minkoff ‘Julian’.It is a larger bag and the fastenings are more unique, it has an unusual look about it and will look amazing with a range of work clothes.
Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Mariska £343.60
Whistles Verity backpack £280
Other options are the Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Mariska or the Whistles Verity backpack. These have a more classic handbag look about them as well as being practical bags. The handle on the top of both means you can carry them as a normal bag as well. The Marc Jacobs has a more standard handbag look about it, but my favourite and actual overall winner for this brief is the Whistles Verity bag. The Verity is larger than most the others, it also comes in three different colours and there are sizing options. You will look equally stylish on a bike and going to a meeting with this bag.
The Whistles Verity therefore takes the honour of being the bag that best fulfils this elusive brief and it does it in style. You can buy this both in store and online at www.whistles.com. Little tip here, Grazia often d 25% off vouchers for Whistles so keep an eye out for those and snap up a bargain! Happy cycling to all those who do!
What is your eternal fashion dilemma? ST x
All images by courtesy of brands named.