Backpack for my mommmmmmyyyyyyy
May 7, 2015 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to buy a backpack for my 58-year-old Mom for Mother's Day, so that she can comfortably and --more importantly-- stylishly carry her 13-inch macbook pro. My Mom is 5'1".

As a "desert boots and canvas army surplus backpack" kind of gal, I have an aesthetic sense that is basically polar opposite from my mother's, and so I have no idea where to go find something she might like. So help me hive mind!

Style is crucial, because my Mom would not be caught in public with some thing she deems ugly. And, because my Mom has a lot of chronic back/shoulder/hand troubles, it has to be a backpack.

My Mom is a tiny 5'1" Asian woman, and she tends to wear very long shirts and loose pants. She likes classy bone china tea cups, laced table runners, flowers, umbrellas for the sun, and portraits of young women reading books or playing pianos. Underneath all of that, though, she is pretty feisty and sometimes has a surprising sense of humor. I am attempting to paint a picture of what my mom would like, but probably not very successful.

My budget is around $150 but cheaper is highly, highly, highly acceptable too.
posted by atetrachordofthree to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My wife just got a laptop bag from STM, and while it's not really "stylish", it's lacking the gaudiness and features-over-form aesthetic that I associate with computer bags. It's also really nicely constructed and designed. I haven't seen their backpacks in person, but maybe take a look at their Aero?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:33 PM on May 7, 2015

Sherpani makes some small stylish backpacks designed for women. Maybe the Vespa?
posted by mbrubeck at 4:34 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by susandennis at 5:36 PM on May 7, 2015

Maybe one of the less flashy Vera Bradley bags?
posted by une_heure_pleine at 6:24 PM on May 7, 2015

Maybe something from LL Bean? Like this or this?
posted by mhum at 7:17 PM on May 7, 2015

I bought the more expensive version of this and I love it, love it, love it. It does not have a padded laptop sleeve but I pop my Mac in a padded cover and then into my version of this tote (which is slightly larger and has a leather bottom. I wanted that because I use it as a bike pannier).

What's great about this tote is that comes in lots of colours so it's pretty and it's only a backpack when you need it to be. Then you take it off your pack, sling the handles over your shoulder and you look like a professional person instead of a middle-aged woman (which I am) still lugging a college-style backpack around.

It won't work for truly heavy stuff. But if your mom will be putting just a laptop and purse-type stuff, it's great. (Being me, I do lug truly heavy stuff around but that's not a great idea because the straps aren't padded.) The only question is if the straps might be too long for her, so you might want to call and find out if they can be tailored if that turns out to be the case.

FYI, my husband and I bought matching day packs from this company in the early 80s and finally got rid of them 20+ years later. They were still in good shape but we'd been careless and they'd gotten stained over the years. In my experience, Fjäll Räven makes high quality stuff. Whatever you choose, I'm sure your mom will love your thoughtfulness.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:03 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I bought this backpack by Ogio based on an askmefi recommendation, and I absolutely love it. It's in near perfect condition after 6 months of intense usage, and it's very attractive as backpacks go. I actually think it's even nicer looking in person. It should be able to easily accommodate a 13 inch macbook. It's very well made. Oh, and it does have a padded laptop sleeve.

For reference, I'm 5'2", and this backpack doesn't overwhelm me size wise. I'm comfortable carrying it around for long periods of time as well.

Bonus: It's way under your price point at $77 on Amazon.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:18 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]
I have one of these, fits a 13" mbp, and is proportional to smaller bodies. I really like it though they're now super popular with kids where I live.
posted by captaincrouton at 8:38 PM on May 7, 2015

I love Topo backpacks, which are both super functional and really well designed!
posted by thebots at 10:29 PM on May 7, 2015

Knomo make stylish laptop bags that are not too bulky.
posted by wavelette at 1:13 AM on May 8, 2015

Best answer: my Mom would not be caught in public with some thing she deems ugly.
Honestly, I would not buy her a gift she has to wear without her somehow or other getting to try things and have some choice about final pick. Can you use these answers to assemble a bunch of suggestions she can choose between, and then take her shopping or order online with her approval? If not, for Crom's sake, keep the receipt.

(Similar build to your mum and I love my kids but they don't half get my taste wrong, or not understand my idea of convenience. And I also suspect them occasionally of trying to improve me.)
posted by glasseyes at 2:43 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

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