by Ryan Wallace and Justin Tong

Show some national pride following the Olympics with one of these flag print backpacks.

With school right around the corner, it’s time to get organized. And although this summer you may have accessorized with a tote in your swimwear, this fall it’s time to buckle down with a backpack. The question of how to put everything you’ll need into any of the various bags out there comes up, and so the task of finding the right bag to carry all the essentials arises.

The question of the perfect bag can be answered via two methods: fashionability and functionality. But ideally, a blend of both is key.

Simple and affordable, this Herschel knapsack is the perfect accessory.

Let’s start with the classic backpack!

All throughout our academic careers, and especially in college, our two-strapped friends are practical, versatile and fashionable at once. Since some may keep their backpacks year-round colors are often not something that are up for discussion, but this season it has never been truer. Colors have been put on the backburners and statements are being made by simplistic designs, impeccable execution and innovative materials. Backpacks like those from Santiago Gonzalez, who is utilizing interesting skins like crocodile leather, and Steve Mono, who mixes and matches leathers, canvas and suede all into a single masterpiece, are stunningly simple yet make a statement.

This Santiago Gonzalez crocodile skin masterpiece is stunning!

And since these bags will have to last through not only seasons of weathering, and seasons of trends, it is essential to pick simple designs with high-quality materials.

Another large presence this season comes in the form of Mexican Baja-inspired printed knapsacks. Not only are their bright colors appealing, their prints vintage chic, but they are also perfectly practical. They are flashy, retro and inexpensive, allowing you to make a statement on a budget. Walking around campus this Fall with a heavy satchel or tote is not only out of sync with the Fall trends, but also not practical for everything you’ll need. Opt for a backpack/knapsack instead!

This fall, stores such as Topman, Mr. Porter and Urban Outfitters are playing it safe— offering neutral colors bags in canvas fabrics. Soft, yet sturdy these high-end fashion companies are playing it safe with simple designs for an affordable price.

Blending leathers, canvas and sued, this Steve Mono knapsack shows how even without color you can be bold.

It is important to point out that while a backpack is a perfect choice for the upcoming back-to-school season, it isn’t for everyone. Not all people can pull off a backpack with formal office wear. If a formal office look is what you are going for, say goodbye to your backpack and go back to the embrace of your messenger bag or a briefcase. Classic leathers and tweeds can go perfectly with the Parisian suit trends this fall. Flashes of bright color filled the runways, so simply chic accessories will allow your outfit to make the statement in the office.

Whether it’s leathers or prints, knapsacks or backpacks, this fall find the perfect blend of fashion and function and you’ll be sure to start the year off right.