For years I have schlepped through airports with my laptop, makeup case, books, magazines (have ever tried to lift the September issue?), etc. all hanging from my right shoulder. I once measured their total weight to be over 40 pounds. The only tote in my closet large enough to hold all these items is my Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM, which, while allegedly capable of holding up to 200 pounds, provides the slightest of straps upon which to bear the weight. The consequence of aforementioned poundage pulling on tiny straps is deep, painful imprints embedded in my shoulder.
After one particularly long trip, I started experiencing shooting pains when I lifted my right arm and feared that I had done actual nerve damage. Fortunately the pain went away a few days later, but the next time I travelled, like a masochist, I went back to my Neverfull and repeated the same bad behavior. I was like Carrie in “La Douleur Exquise!”only I kept being hurt by Louis instead of Big. As my husband pointed out while trying to rub away the red and inflamed marks on my shoulder, this was ridiculous.
I’ve gotten over my addiction to beautiful shoes that are bad for me (check out my selection of stylish and comfortable walking shoes here), but I can’t seem to give up carrying poorly engineered designer bags. “Get a backpack!” Chris would chide every time we flew. “I would, but I forgot to bring my L.L. Bean catalogue,” I snarkily retorted as I limped fashionably to our gate.
With a big trip to Italy coming up next month, I finally decided to take his advice. I want to look chic, but I don’t want to waddle around Rome like the hunchback of St. Peters. I was pleasantly surprised by the array of chic backpacks I unearthed; it seems everyone, from Alexander Wang to Zara, has an iteration of the ergonomic style, from traditional backpacks dressed up in leather and studs to streamlined sacs with top handles that convert to double shoulder straps. Check out my backpack picks in the slideshow below.