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5 Ways to Wear ... The Mary Ruth Backpack Collection

Practical, portable, and effortlessly cool, our Mary Ruth collection proves backpacks aren’t just for kids. These versions are all grown up and ready to take you from home, to work, to the gym, or wherever the day takes you. Backpacks have the added benefit of making the morning commute a breeze, especially if you cycle or walk to work, since keeping the weight of your bag evenly distributed on both shoulders is altogether more ergonomically friendly. 

Flatlay of B.Eclectic Printed Backpack with shirt and black hat

Finished with leather and our signature Harlequin stitch, the range comes in a variety of colors and patterns featuring gorgeous florals and stylish geometric designs. Styles range from our eclectic multiprint Blue Dim style to our painterly Black Love and Black Pride designs. Up next, five ways to style a printed backpack so you can travel in style, wherever you’re headed.

(1) Modern Casual

Modern casual women's outfit with backpack

The detailed patterns on our backpacks work incredibly well with either minimal, plain clothing in block colors or neutrals. For example, tailored yet relaxed attire for when you want to look smart but not too formal. To accomplish this style, opt for something equally comfortable yet polished since a change of footwear can make all the difference and help elevate your outfit.

Instead of sneakers, try a chic leather flat such as a mule or oxford lace-up shoe to compliment one of our casual styles (such as our Army or Blue Jeans backpacks), and pair it with a simple, plain outfit. A plain tee shirt in a neutral shade fits the bill perfectly. Just add a flowy maxi skirt or a pair of wide leg pants and flats, and you have an easy, low-effort look that’s laid-back, yet polished.

(2) Dressed Up

Dressed Up Women's Backpack Outfit

When we imagine dressing up to go out, a backpack might not be the first option that springs to mind, but it’s one worth exploring. The best “dressy outfits” to go with bags from our Mary Ruth collection are simple: think block colors, neutrals or plain black outfits that won’t clash with the print on the bag. Our favorites for dressy occasions include our gorgeous green Hunter backpack, or one of our more elaborate styles such as Morocco or Mandala.

Keep the structure simple for the outfit and avoid any fussy or cluttered detailing. For instance, a slightly looser-fit dress looks modern and classy, yet not too overdone.

For summertime, choose something light and airy in poplin or linen. For winter, consider adding statement jewelry to a sweater dress worn for added warmth during those chillier evenings. As an alternative, the “jeans and a nice top” outfit is a tried-and-true classic we all have in our closets and works perfectly for occasions when you want to look like you’ve made an effort, but not too much. Add a pair of heels or fancy flats, and you’re good to go.

(3) Workwear

Women's Work Outfit Paired with Print Backpack

Wear a chic, boxfresh women’s pants suit, and you have the perfect combination: a sharp work outfit in every sense of the word: professional, yet comfortable. Another alternative for those who prefer dresses and skirts is to opt for a structured shift dress worn with flats or sneakers. Alternatively, you can wear a skirt in a length of your choosing, worn with a crisp tee shirt to balance out the volume on the lower half of your body. 

Keep the outfit pattern-free to prevent it from becoming too cluttered, and consider switching up the way you carry your backpack. You can carry it by its top handle instead to create a versatile look that works in more ways than one. 

For dress-down Fridays and workplaces where the workwear policy is a little more relaxed, you can even opt for a pair of smart jeans (a darker wash generally looks stylish and more professional). Then for balance, avoid sneakers and choose a chic block heel, or a pointed flat shoe, especially if you need to run for the bus or train.

(4) Off-Duty Chic

Off-Duty Chic Outfit with Handmade Backpack

On weekends, vacations, and whenever you want an outfit that looks comfortable but put-together, opt for a relaxed yet classy off-duty look. Make the street your catwalk and strut your stuff in cool, laidback basics.

The key to this look is not to throw on any old pair of sweatpants, and while you might be fond of that old college t-shirt, you might want to save it for sleeping in. Instead, choose high-quality basics with a little structure to them.

A selection of cotton tee shirts is a must (add a warm sweater for when the temperature drops), worn with a bottom half of your choosing. You can always wear jeans (nothing ripped, distressed or embellished), a pair of wide leg trousers, tailored sweatpants, or (if you prefer dresses and skirts), a plain maxi skirt. Wear a tailored coat or jacket to add structure and contrast to elevate the look.

Our best bags for this look include Black Love or Tribal Mask. Both printed backpacks consist of vibrant multicolor prints that will make you feel like you’re wearing a little piece of artwork everywhere you go.

(5) The School Run

A Backpack Outfit Perfect for School Dropoff and Pickup

For trips to school, the park and anywhere else you happen to be taking the kids, a backpack will keep your hands free while holding all the essentials you need, from diapers to snacks. For a simple, effortless look, choose an outfit you can pair with one of our Geo backpacks for a fun yet functional look. 

We suggest a single-piece outfit since they help to take the guesswork out of dressing, leaving you with one less thing to do on especially busy days. Consider a loose-fit dress or a jumpsuit, and opt for fabrics you won’t need to iron, such as fine-knit stretch jerseys or Tencel. 

In terms of color, your best options for this outfit style include an earthy neutral to go with your backpack or a bright color for contrast. Either option is perfect for brightening up those gloomy Monday mornings.


Which backpack outfit idea would you wear the most?

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