So if you haven't noticed, I never do things just because “every other blogger is doing them.” I just do me. Hence why I’ve steered clear of the obligatory “What’s In My Bag” blog post for so long. But nowadays I get this question quite a lot, so, you ask and you shall receive.
Here’s the deal, I’m a hands-free kinda gal. I like to be mobile, light, and ready for action — and that’s why I love backpacks. Sadly, the struggle is real when it comes to finding the perfect backpack. And let’s be picky because as I learned in business school, WE DESERVE TO GET OUR NEEDS MET.
HERE’S MY LIST OF BACKPACK REQUIREMENTS:
Chic AF — This is not 2003 and I am not rocking a Jansport. I want leather. I want gold hardware. This is an accessory people. It needs to have beautiful DETAILS.
Functional — I want my backpack to keep me organized. It should have enough pockets to keep from turning into a black hole, but only the RIGHT pockets. I don’t want tons of useless extra pockets I’m never going to use. My backpack must keep my precious baby (my laptop) safe — my whole world is in there. It has to be comfortable, lightweight, and durable. I tend to throw my backpack around; I’m not a dainty flower.
Priced right — Personally, I’m all about investing money back into my business, so I can’t justify spending more than $300 on a backpack.
The problem is that most laptop-functional backpacks are (I’m sorry but…) hideous. Like, I do not want rubber material on or anywhere near my backpack.
Don’t worry though, I got us covered. Ever since I got my ISM backpack I pretty much haven’t taken it off — dorky, but true.
HERE’S WHY I LOVE IT (YES, IT MEETS ALL MY REQUIREMENTS):
Chic AF — This backpack is beautiful. It’s made with full-grain leather and no silver hardware, you get to choose black or gold! Just my style.
Functional — This backpack is pocket perfection with just a few strategically placed compartments, nothing extra. There’s a totally separate PADDED & WATERPROOF laptop compartment to protect my tech gear! (Is it weird how excited I get about that?). It’s also super sturdy and well-made (thrown-across-the-floor-tested by yours truly), and the padded straps make it super comfortable to wear and provide back support (no one likes a hunchback).
Priced right — How is a full-grain leather backpack only $235, you ask? Unlike many other luxury brands, ISM cuts out the middle-women and sells directly to the consumer.
So basically ISM is my backpack soulmate... Cute right? I treat it as such and thus refuse to fill it up with gum wrappers and old receipts. I used to fill my bag with unnecessary things. These days, I clean out my backpack at the end of every day because an unorganized bag stresses me out, and stress just doesn’t go with my outfit (or lifestyle, for that matter). For so long I thought I needed to be more organized, but now I know I just need to own less stuff by decluttering and donating things I no longer use.
I keep the contents of my ISM backpack lean, so everything in there is legit AF (if I do say so myself).
HERE’S WHAT’S IN MY BACKPACK:
Laptop + Case — I went for the 15-inch Macbook Pro because the extra 2 inches prevents me from hunching over my laptop at cafes. It’s also super powerful and can handle the 100 programs and 1000 tabs I have going at once.
Airpods — Ok so, I’ll admit it, I used to be anti-Airpods. I mean, they’re not the cutest look. But I’ve changed my tune because the functionality is just THERE. But I don't use earplugs when I’m somewhere I could potentially meet people, like coffee shops. I keep my head up, smile, and stay open because you never know who you might meet!
Chargers — Along with my laptop charger, I also carry the ISM power bank and it fits perfectly with the backpack. Although I love the vegan leather, what I love even more is the fact that it’s a literal powerhouse. It can charge your phone up to THREE TIMES (so necessary).
Wallet & Keys — I love my tiny Gigi New York wallet because I can slip it in my pocket if I need to and I get to have my initials on it.
Sunglasses — Somehow I can never have enough of these – but I keep it to just one pair at a time in my backpack. My current faves are from Raen Mason. I love the round frames and super lightweight feel.
Water Bottle — People. Please stop buying plastic water bottles. I’m serious. It’s so, so bad for our planet.
Leather Jacket — On the rare days it gets cold in LA, I have to throw one of my fave leather jackets over my crop top.
As lean as I try to keep my backpack, of course, I still have a bunch of odds and ends. I keep them in separate pouches so they don’t get lost in the abyss. Here’s what’s in the pouches:
Office Pouch: I've got a notebook & chic pen because I’m constantly taking notes. I do it on my phone too, but some things just need to be done on paper. I've also got black post-its and metallic Sharpies because I like to leave people unique notes so they always know it’s from me! And of course, business cards — I never leave home without em! You never know who you might meet.
Personal Pouch: In here I have chapstick, gum, tampons, and midol. I used to always have 100 tampons in my bag EXCEPT for when I got my period — so now I just keep them in this pouch so I can easily find them. I also have hair tools and face wipes for after workouts and while traveling. I also have crystals and peppermint essential oil to keep me calm and grounded.
Anna Wood (@brainsoverblonde), Female Empoweress and founder of Brains Over Blonde, is a career and lifestyle consultant who empowers women to claim their mind, body, and confidence to achieve their full potential. The Stanford MBA graduate, Google alumnus, entrepreneur, content creator, and Feminist, provides women the tools and strategies to help them live purpose-driven lives. This is her take on the girlboss work bag.