“Ladies with huge purses” is one of those annoying tropes with a grain of truth to them. At any given moment, my bag likely includes a jacket, gym clothes, at least one pair of shoes, a makeup case, a laptop charger, and miscellaneous crushed magazines. I’m never going to read that New Yorker from last May, but there’s just something comforting about having my stupid stuff with me all day. We weren’t meant to lug around the equivalent of a small piece of carry-on luggage all day, and that weight will eventually create an asymmetry that takes a toll on your shoulders and back.

There is a solution, according to Daniel Giordano, a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist who founded the Bespoke Treatments physical therapy center in NYC. Try a backpack instead of a purse to “help redistribute the weight that you are carrying equally across your back, reducing stress on your lower back and postural muscles.” Also remember that all backpacks aren’t created equal. Giordano says, “It is very important that you choose a backpack that contours snugly to your back, without restricting your arms & shoulders.” Here are some of our favorites for fall:

1Need Supply

Need Supply

This perfect summer-to-fall bag has four pockets for all those lipsticks you are definitely not leaving at home. //Need Supply, $98


herschel backpack

It wouldn’t be a story about backpacks if we didn’t include the ubiquitous Herschel. If you don’t have one already or are boycotting the idea of blending in, the Ware model offers the stability of the brand without being that backpack that everyone has. //Herschel, $54.99

3J. Crew

J. Crew
Who better to update the classic bucket bag than J. Crew? This leather version also comes in classic black and saddle. //J. Crew, $138

4rag & bone

rag & bone backpack
rag & bone
This shearling-finished mini tote from rag & bone is a splurge, but look at that dappled leather. //rag & bone, $675

5adidas Originals


This Pharell Williams + adidas Originals collab has wide straps to provide extra comfort. Plus, it would look dope on a first day of school. //Net a Porter, $70


fossil backpack

A nice combination of schmany leather with an old school silhouette from fossil. // fossil, $348

7Urban Originals

Urban Originals

Just because your shoulders are in proper alignment doesn’t mean you’re not a badass. //Nordstrom, $78


target backpack

This quilted pack is the perfect mix: casual enough for back to school, dressy enough to pair with your new fall work wardrobe. And affordable! // Target, $29.99 

Once you find your bag of choice, Giordano reminds us, “Make sure that you evenly distribute the weight in the backpack, putting the heavier items in first and balancing the weight on both sides.” Now maybe leave those extra shoes at home.