How To Style A Backpack For A Killer Look: Backpack Styling Guide

Knowing how to style a backpack can elevate your look significantly. For fashion lovers of all ages and styles, there are always ways to wear a backpack with finesse. Whether you are a student who uses your backpack daily or a world traveller who uses a backpack as a carry-on, you can always treat your backpack as a stylish accessory. 

Versatile, practical and trendy. Backpacks have always been a loved item in our modern world, especially when being practical is becoming more fashionable. At CabinZero, we have a wide range of beautifully designed backpacks for everyone. Before you start browsing for the perfect backpack, let's discover how to style a backpack like a pro with this useful guide.

10 Ways To Don Your Backpack In Style

Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. Wearing a backpack might seem straightforward as it usually comes with two shoulder straps. But do you know that there are many ways to wear a backpack? Being stylish is hard work so why not think outside the box and start taking an unconventional approach? Starting with how to wear your backpack, let’s start being fabulous. 

1. The Classic

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

You can’t never go wrong with this backpack style. IG: @findingbeyond

First thing first. Let's go through the basics with the traditional way to wear a backpack, which is on your back and using both shoulder straps. If you are carrying heavy items for a long period of time, this is the best way to wear your backpack. Not only your back will thank you, this way of wearing your backpack gives you a more balanced and classic look.

CabinZero’s Tips: When carrying heavy items, be sure to position your backpack correctly, not too far away from your body and evenly distributed between two straps to avoid backache.

2. In Front Of You

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Thieves and slimly hands be away. IG: @ccfoodtravel 

People often wear backpacks in front for easy access and keep an eye on their belongings. This way of wearing is highly practical in crowded places such as inside a bus or a train. Aside from the convenience and protection you get, wearing your backpack in front ensures the people standing behind you are not interfered with by your movement.

CabinZero’s Tips: Some people are not a fan of wearing a backpack in the front for different reasons including mobility, comfort and preference. It is important to stay comfortable and choose a style that fits you comfortably. 

3. Across Your BodyHow To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Just slip a strap across the rings, and you get yourself a big crossbody bag.

You see those D rings on a backpack? They are more than attachment points, as you can easily snap a stabiliser strap there to wear your backpack sling carry style. By wearing your fashionable backpack across your body, you can access your items more easily and define the shape around your waist more visibly.

CabinZero’s tips: Experiment and have fun! The key to rocking a backpack is finding a style that complements your outfit and feels comfortable for the occasion. Don't be afraid to switch things up and express your unique style with this versatile accessory.

4. Carry It Duffle Style

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Grab it from the overhead compartment and go on your merry way.

Some backpacks feature stowaway straps and side handles, allowing you to carry them sideways like a duffle (did you know that duffle also counted as a carry-on?). This backpack-carrying style is best suited for walking short distances, say from a taxi to your hotel building. When it’s time to carry your pack for longer distances again, loosen the shoulder straps and put them on as usual. 

5. Carry It As A Pouch (For Mini Packs Only)

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

A cute way to style your backpack and looks. Photo by Olha -

There are many different types of backpacks, including laptop backpacks, drawstring backpacks, tote backpacks, wheeled backpacks, and many more. If your backpack has a handle and is miniature, carry it as a handbag for a more luxurious feel.

Mini backpacks are lightweight, chic, and more spacious than traditional handbags, but they retain the same feel and style. You can mix and match them with your outfit instead of a purse. And when your hands are tired? Pop them over your shoulder to give your hands a rest.

6. Slung Over One Shoulder

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Never goes out of style. IG: @MELODYJACOB 

This is probably one of the most popular ways to wear a bag or a backpack. The one-strap, one-shoulder look gives you a laid-back vibe and casual look. Aside from the casual vibe, wearing a backpack on one shoulder can also increase mobility and give you easier access to things inside your backpack.

However, this wearing style is not recommended for heavy backpacks as it might cause shoulder pain due to the uneven distribution of weight. It’s can be said the same for travelling somewhere past 20 minutes.

7. Along With A Shoulder Bag

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

More storage is never a bad thing. Credit: Pravina Chetty

For frequent travellers, wearing a backpack and a fanny pack might be one of the most practical combinations. You can stay hand-free while staying stylish and practical, as you have both storage options. Know how to wear a cute fanny pack with a bulkier backpack on your adventure. Remember to consider how your backpack and fanny pack complement each other.

9. Perched On Your Suitcase…

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

You will need a passthrough sleeve for this style.

Most travellers only need one carry-on and one backpack. And what better way to carry both than by combining them into one? Many backpacks designed for travel have a pass-through sleeve on the back panel. You simply slide this sleeve over the telescoping handle of your upright suitcase. This is the most secure and stable method.

If your backpack does not have a pass-through sleeve, you can secure it to the suitcase handle using adjustable straps or a bungee cord. Wrap the straps around the handle and the backpack and buckle or tie them tightly.

10. … Or A Camel's Back

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

How about spicing things up a bit? IG: @passport.couple

Or on your side by the beach, in the hotel room, near a pool. While this does not fit the definition of “wearing” as it isn’t close to your body, you can put your backpack down occasionally to rest your back and shoulders. Even better, if your backpack of choice is free-standing, it won’t flop and get in other people’s way.

How To Style A Backpack For Every Day

Start elevating your style with the perfect outfits to compliment your backpack. Yes, there is a perfect combination of both fashion and practicality. There are a few basic rules when it comes to pairing your backpack with your outfits that you might consider.

For example, a colourful canvas backpack might match your everyday look better, while a leather backpack might be more fitted to your professional look. Let's explore different looks to try for each occasion.

The Professionals

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

The right backpack can fit everywhere, from the street to the meeting room. IG: @umbelentini

Add colour to your work day with a bold blazer and a minimalist backpack. Love to wear an elegant dress? You can certainly pair it with the right backpack. Opt for a square or rectangular backpack for a more professional-looking vibe. Leather, nylon, and waxed canvas are materials that give off professional and sophisticated looks.

A backpack is a great choice for professionals who are looking to hit the gym after work right away. It could be your bag for work, play, and travel all in one. You don’t have to 

Sporty Chic

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Great way to style your backpack on the go

Planning to explore the dynamic cities of Europe soon? Pair your best backpacks for European travel with a sporty look to explore every corner of this exciting continent with ease. Say yes to comfortable clothing items like basic shirts and joggers. Have a stand-out look and be ready to move with a bold-coloured and multi-functional backpack.

Smart Casual

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

A great way to achieve a polished yet practical look. IG: @kelrashedi77

T-shirts and jeans are the go-to for a casual look. Picture a white plain T-shirt, stylish yet simple pair of classic jeans and your favourite backpack. This outfit is not only comfortable but also is one of the looks that never falls out of fashion.

For everyday use, casual dresses with comfortable fabrics like cotton and denim are wonderful options. Stylish backpacks, flowy tops and relaxed-fit clothings are easy to wear while also elevating each other.

Glossy Style

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Look more fashionable by complementing your outfits with a stylish backpack. Photo by Alena Ozerova on

Nothing instantly makes an outfit more dressed-up than wearing a pair of high heels. Looking for something stylish but more comfortable? You can play with colours such as pastels, mix it up with comfortable shoes and style your hair loosely then top it up with a small backpack.

Summer Vibe

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Choose a backpack that's lightweight and comfortable for comfort in the summer heat. IG: @drinkingteawithme

Use a small, lightweight backpack with a summer dress and sandals or espadrilles. Think bright and bold hues, pastels, or fun tropical prints like palm trees or pineapples. A flowy sundress, a cute romper, or a maxi skirt and crop top bring a relaxed silhouette to your whole summer travel. This is ideal for beach outings or summer festivals.

Be Bold

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

With a little bit of creativity, you can style your backpack in a new light. IG: @kanaho_show

Get a statement piece such as a bold-looking jacket, or pair your outfit with layered accessories. To enhance your look, have a backpack with a complex design or a bold colour. Leather jackets, as well as statement pieces such as attention-grabbing necklaces and large earrings, work well for this bold look.

CabinZero’s Tips: Remember that the most important aspect of an outfit is how it makes you feel. Freely express your personality and try out different ways to match your favourite clothes and style a backpack.

How To Decorate A Backpack

What is a more fun way to style a backpack than expressing your personality through your artwork? Start transforming your favourite backpacks into your own unique piece of art. Get inspired and start to let your creativity guide you. There are so many ways to decorate your backpack. How would you let your backpack stand out?

Unleash Your Creativity With Fabric Markers

Fabric markers such as Sharpie or Crayola can be used to draw on your backpack. Textile markers are great as they can be permanent on almost all backpack materials. Aside from fabric markers, paint markers and acrylic paint can also be used to draw on backpacks. Make your own wearable art and enjoy the process. 

CabinZero's Tips: Be sure to take time to plan your design first. Sketching first is always a good idea to give you guidelines, which you can trace easily when using permanent markers. 

Your On-the-go Collection Of Favourite Backpack Pins

How To Style A Backpack | CABINZERO

Don’t they look fun? IG: @kirayvonnelim

Beautiful, cool, funny and cute. Enamel pins are made for backpacks and denims. There are many backpack pins for you to choose from, from custom-made pins to curated enamel pin collection. You can express your styles with vibrant backpack pins and simply secure them on your backpack. 

CabinZero's Tips: To ensure your stylish pins stay secured, use locking pin backs. If your backpack is made of pricey materials, use a magnet enamel pin instead to avoid damaging it with holes.

Patch Perfect

Patches are popular products for styling clothes and backpacks. They can be embroidered, woven, sublimated, or a combination of these. You can choose your preferred patch style based on your desired results and budget. Depending on the type of patch, you can sew them on, use ironing, or glue. 

CabinZero's Tips: If you want to go the extra mile and create one-of-a-kind artwork, homemade or DIY patches are for you. Hand embroidering your patch design or tracing your sketch with a sewing machine are two ways that you can try on your next project.

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise

Don't forget about the little details! Keychains, buttons, and charms can all add a touch of flair to your backpack. Mix and match different accessories to create a look that's all your own. You can make use of the D-rings and attachment points to add these cuties to your aesthetics. Just remember, there's no such thing as too much bling when it comes to backpack decoration.


1. How Can I Look Stylish With A Backpack?

There is more to styling a backpack than the traditional two-straps two-shoulders way. Wearing your backpack as a crossbody, casually wear it on one shoulder or grab it by the top handle. 

Pairing your backpack with various types of outfits to create exciting looks for different occasions. From a casual look to a sports look or a dressed-up one, simply mix and match your clothing items and try on multiple accessories. The key is to choose the right backpack for your outfit and style and to put together an outfit that complements it.

2. How Do You Style A Small Backpack?

Small backpacks are popular for obvious reasons. It can pair well with a good number of clothing items, such as dresses, heels, jeans and blazers.

Since they are more subtle, they work well with a variety of outfits without overwhelming your look. Ensure it’s the right scale for your body size to maintain balance.

As the backpack itself is a statement piece, you should keep other accessories (earrings, a watch, or a bracelet) minimal. Small backpacks look great with layered outfits, such as a t-shirt under a jumper with a denim jacket or coat. 

3. What Is The Latest Backpack Trend?

Sustainable materials such as recycled fabrics and organic cotton are among the increasingly popular materials for backpacks. Designers are working toward more sustainable materials to be used as alternatives to traditional materials like nylon and leather. Functionality and style are two key factors in every backpack design as well.

Backpacks Can Be Chic, Too

Still deciding on how to style your backpack? Whether you are having a winter outfit or a summer look, start trying different styles on and see how they grow on you. A mixture of practical and chic will surely upgrade your style.

Remember that the key to a well-dressed person is to experiment with different styles and always consider how each clothing item, as well as accessory piece, complements each other. 

What types of backpacks are your favourite ones? It is a tough job to pick since there are just so many gorgeous colours, materials and designs to choose from. In CabinZero, we love both designs and usability.  

Do you have more stunning looks to share with us? Comment below or share this article with your friends for a combined posh vibe on the next hangout. 

Chau Dao

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