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Lauren's Understated Backpack

Finally! A backpack that looks smart -- and not in a schoolgirl way.

I've long liked the idea of backpacks -- just think, with balanced weight my right shoulder might shift back up to where the left one is! -- but I've never come across one that didn't strike me as a) sloppy or b) schoolgirlish.

And then I spotted Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Holmes coming out of a show during New York Fashion Week with a Loeffler Randall black leather backpack -- and again day after day in London (where we shared a car). In a sea of look-at-me clutches and handbags, her backpack stood out for its crisp, squarish shape and understated hardware. I was surprised to see it work with a blazer and a flirty skirt as well as a black Stella McCartney-esque jumpsuit from Zara. And then there's the practicability factor: straps that allow it to be worn as a backpack or as a cross-body bag, and three internal pockets that easily separate an iPad and a novel from keys and a cell phone.

I'm sold.

Loeffler Randall "Lock" Backpack, $495, available at Bloomingdale's (20 percent off with code "FRIENDS" until 10/5) and

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