The Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack: Still Worth The Price?

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The very first time the Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack appeared on The Mom Edit, Pax was NOT impressed.

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

Everyone else, however, was. That fringed black leather backpack (or similar ones) quickly became our collective ‘mom bag’ of choice — for readers and TME editors alike. It has remained one of our top-selling pieces…which makes sense, because it’s also one of our most-used bags, even now. S still has her black-fringed backpack, I still have my white-fringed bag…and between the rest of the TME editors, we have taupe leather, silver leather, burgundy leather, denim, black nylon, camo nylon and silver nylon on rotation.

Oh yeh — we also have both the regular and mini sizes represented, too.

So. After…four years of near-constant use, here are a few reasons why we still love this bag:

10 Reasons The Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack Is Worth The Price

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

my backpack

  1. FITS ALL THE THINGS. The full-size Julian backpack is like a clown car — it fits allllll the things — yet, thanks to the shape, is still comfortable when worn. The design is, quite frankly, genius. Even the smaller mini Julian is shockingly roomy for the size.
  2. THEN EXPANDS TO FIT MORE THINGS. There’s a clasp in the front that can be unclasped, in order to make the already roomy backpack…more roomy. Ya know, for those random emergencies when you need to stuff a Teacup Chihuahua into your bag along with it’s water bowl, pet bed and squeaker toy (just kidding…kinda. I mean, I am not far off).
  3. YET COMFORTABLE TO WEAR. This is — hands-down — one of the most comfortable backpacks to wear. Even when stuffed completely full (see above) and heavy…it’s still comfy.
  4. ADJUSTABLE STRAPS. Part of the reason this backpack is so comfy to wear is because the straps are adjustable, so depending on whether someone likes to carry their backpack tight to the body or more slouchy, down their back…the straps can be tightened or loosened. I’ve worn mine both ways.
  5. LOOKS GOOD STUFFED OR EMPTY. Some bags start to lose their shape when stuffed full…others look weirdly slouchy when empty. This bag? Looks good either way.
  6. POCKETS. Perfect pockets for the stuff. I like that it’s not just one big sack, without compartments. Ya know? It has side pockets, one in the back and one inside. It enables me to separate the stuffs — the keys, the snacks, the phone, the wallet, the unnecessary quantities of little toys that “have to come because I will die without them, mamaaaaaa.”
  7. WEARS BEAUTIFULLY. The leather is huggable. Honestly. I could cuddle it…correction: I do cuddle it. Also! It smells amazing. It just feels incredibly lush, all while maintaining its very utilitarian characteristics. On that note…
  8. GOOD FOR TRAVEL. That same clasp can be clipped to the metal ring on the front (by the top handle) and can act as an “anti-theft” precaution…because it covers the front zipper. (This may not be enough in really high pick-pocket areas, but works for most travels.) The backpack also squishes down flat in a suitcase, making packing easy.
  9. COOL DETAILS. Little additions to the design make it delightful to look at and carry — tassels attached to the zippers, the zippers themselves, cool clasp and ring design in the front, the straps and buckles.
  10. WORKS FOR DAY…OR DATE NIGHT. Not only does the TME team wear this bag for everyday….it’s also snuck out on the occasional date night. Not a fancy date night, but it’s chic enough for most low-key nights out. As Scotti mentions below…if we had to choose only ONE bag to have for the rest of our lives…this is a strong contender.

A Closer Look At The Minkoff Julian Backpack

We had a few readers ask if the quality of the Julian backpack is still the same. Most of us here at TME have had ours for so many years at this point, we really weren’t sure. So. I ordered a new one to compare. I was genuinely intrigued to see if it has changed, because *gasp* GOD FORBID. If it has changed for the worse in any way Rebecca Minkoff might just have me and the entire TME team rapping at their door, along with all of you superstars who have also sworn yourselves to the brand that is The Julian Backpack…I mean, cult following at this point.

Anyway, as I was saying. I ordered a new one (I know, so hard on me. ugh.). I unpacked said new bag, looked it all over as Sherlock Holmes would a crime scene, unpacked a pallet’s worth of packing paper inside (again, CLOWN CAR BAG), tried it on, walked around, stopped and thought a little thought…and then took a whole slew of pictures. For Science!

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...
Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

The Julian Backpack, taupe (very similar taupe on eBay at the moment), other colors and patterns found on Amazon + updated options for the season are on Shopbop, this ‘Honey’ color at Rebecca Minkoff is incredible, and the ultra-classic black Julian can be found here

FYI: I have found that successful eBay shopping comes down to how you word things in their search bar. So, I found my particular backpack by typing in ‘rebecca minkoff julian taupe’ and it brought up several options.


Now, The Julian Backpack With All Of My Crap In It…

I am always amazed by how much can fit inside my Julians. I unpacked all of my stuff from one Julian and packed it all successfully into the new one…and I still had space for more STUFF. By the way, not shown is my phone and kid’s water bottle.

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...
Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

Is The New Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack Worth It?

Here’s what I think, Skeptics and Those With Questions: I don’t think the bag has changed. It appears to be made of the same stuff as the original bags. I checked the zippers, buckles, pockets, interior, leather, etc.,…and it all checks out. It feels the same to me (and I have two older ones).

The only thing left to ask…Is it worth it? Let me answer that question this way, with a song sung by Missy Eliot that goes a little bit like this…

Is it worth it? Let me work it
I put my thing (the backpack) down, flip it and reverse it
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup
Ti esrever dna ti pilf, nwod gniht ym tup
If you got a big…backpack, let me search ya
And find out how hard I gotta work ya (talking to the backpack there, by the way)

Hope that answers the question. Oh, it doesn’t really? Well…fine.

ANSWER: It’s worth the money. That and a bag of chips, my friends.

This backpack is the bag for moms (and anyone else who likes to carry stuff around with them, really).

Shop the Julian at Rebecca Minkoffor scroll down for additional links!

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...
Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

backpack – similar options found on eBay (love this taupe beige), scroll up for other links to similar options | t-shirt (wearing S) | shorts, similar here (wearing 28, but could do my normal 27, too) | sandals (TTS)


The TME Editors On Their Favorite Julian Backpack

Shana

I still have — and love — that old black-fringed backpack. The buttery-soft leather! The fringe! I’ll never get rid of it. However, I do have another Minkoff Julian that’s gotten even more wear, and that’s the smaller sized backpack (confusingly referred to as either ‘medium Julian’ OR the ‘mini Julian’), in taupe.

As my boys got older, the smaller sized backpack made more sense. Like the original, it can still be stuffed full, yet is comfortable to wear. And despite the small size, I can usually stuff a couple of windbreakers in there, or a light sweater for myself. In the winter, the bag carries hats and mittens for myself and the boys, as well as my wallet, glasses, etc. In the summer? Sunblock, our GoPro, sunglasses for everyone, maps, passports. Which brings me to another point: because of it’s smaller size, it’s easier to pack.

Lastly, I think taupe is a more versatile choice than black for wearing year-round. It looks seasonally appropriate in the summer, and adds a fresh, modern twist to an all-black look come winter. Here are a few ways I’ve worn that smaller, taupe backpack….

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

My exact backpack is now sold out, but I did find it on eBay, here and here. The search that brings up the best results is Minkoff Julian Backpack beige, or, to a lesser degree, Minkoff Julian Backpack taupe.

If you are looking for the larger fringe backpack, try Minkoff Julian Backpack fringe, but the black is pretty rare.

Don’t want to deal with eBay? The best selection is at Rebecca Minkoff. My top pick — from the new Julians — would be this medium-sized one, in a seriously gorgeous tan. I’d wear it exactly like I wear my taupe backpack…and I actually like the tan better than the taupe. Hmmm.


Laura

I adore my light gray full-sized version (sold out most places, but on eBay here medium size for $150! and here large size) for spring and summer especially, but also year-round. It’s such a great color that goes with everything. I love the soft leather of Julian backpacks because they’re so buttery and a little lighter weight. I had the black pebbled leather too and though a bit heavier, it held up beautifully (also with gold hardware here.) The largest size is my favorite because it holds all the things but is still comfortable to wear. I have had this one for years and it’s my favorite purse. The lightest weight nylon versions (on sale!) (also here at Nordstrom) are also wonderful for summer! But for a really worthwhile investment that is gorgeous, go for the leather.

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...
Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

Minkoff Julian gray | jacket (similar) | jeans | boots (similar or these)


Emily

So, once upon a time I owned the full-sized black leather version, and I used it nonstop. In fact, it breaks in SO nicely, and it was the perfect transition between diaper bag and purse — not so big that things get lost inside, but big enough for a water bottle for me + the kiddo, wallet, phone, a few snacks, a sweatshirt, sunnies, keys, notebook and pen, accumulated…stuff. (And, true to my colleagues above, I still have it, and it’s in great shape.) BUT in this new day and age, I’m finding myself reaching for a smaller bag when I’m out running errands (less rummaging and touching all the things — and often I’m alone, so there’s less need for a day’s worth of snacks), so when I spotted the medium bag in tie die denim on super sale (also here), I had to snap it up. And — no surprise — I’m thoroughly smitten.

This is by far the most impulsive purchase I’ve made since we’ve been laying low, and yet despite the trendier color scheme, I already feel like it’s a piece I’ll hang onto through the ages. Like Shana mentioned, the “medium” is still deceptively roomy. In fact, at the moment, it’s stuffed with a card case, a light sweater, Lana’s Hydroflask, a snackbox (oof, I should probably wash that out, come to think of it), miscellany (hand sanitizer, lip balm) — and I could still get away with tucking a few more things inside if needed. It’s easy to grab for bike rides around the neighborhood, too. (Hence the snackbox.) And I love how it pops with jeans and a tee. (FWIW I threw it on with the ol’ #AmazonNightgown, too, and it still worked.) Something about the scale and even the little cord pulls make it feel deliciously youthful — while not veering too far into mini-backpack territory — and, just, well…chill. And we could all use some chill right now.

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

Julian Backpack in Medium Tie Dye (also here) | tank (similar) | jeans (TTS) | flats | earrings (similar)
necklace (vintage — this is an awesome dupe though!)


Scotti

I was always obsessed with my sister’s Minkoff bag whenever she came to visit, but it wasn’t until I bought one of my own that I realized how amazing that backpack really is. When I first had Greenlea, I would cart around a HUGE diaper bag that carried all the things (new mom and all), but as I got more comfortable (and definitely by the time I had Ozzie) I switched to using this bag almost 100% of the time. It was just so much more convenient to grab and go. It fits diapers and wipes and a change of clothes (for babies, at least), as well as my wallet, keys, phone, a snack or two . . . maybe even one for the kids (ha!) . . . pretty much everything I need. It’s the perfect travel bag (you can clip it up or down if you’re worried about people being able to access the zipper) and I love that it looks just as good with jeans and Birks during the day as it does with a little black dress and heels at night. It literally is THE one bag I would pick if I could only pick one.

Is the Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack worth the price? It is the bag for moms (& anyone else who likes to carry stuff, really). Our editors weigh in...

Left: Julian Backpack (there’s a suede fringe medium backpack if you love the fringe) Good American Bombshell Shorts | Sandals (40% off with SPRING40)

Right: Julian Backpack (prices are awesome on eBay!)| Good American Bombshell Shorts | flip flops (similar and in a ton of colors) | Cardigan (similar and 60% off!)

Cheers!

-Cam (and TME team)

10 COMMENTS

  1. I love love love this bag and after 5 years with the black with gold hardware I purchased the taupe with silver a couple of months ago too. It is as high-quality and chic as bags 3x the price and perfect for moms with young kids. Its not at all frumpy! I have to note one of my favorite parts is the easily accessible zip pockets on both sides-perfect for keys, lip balm, credit card holder and sanitizer, making it almost entirely hands-free. The only bummer is that those near perfect side pockets are just too small for my iPhone X and when I drop my phone in the big section, it gets lost. Anyway, somewhat minor problem but worth noting!

  2. I have the regular size backpack in gray and the mini in a camel color. LOVE them! I did buy both on sale, as the full price is hard to swallow. Probably even worth the full price though, since I will have them forever. Beautiful quality!

  3. I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE. OMG, my journey with the Julian backpack… When I first found TME I was like, “Ew, what is that weird, blobby backpack they are all carrying?” And then Target started selling knockoffs and I was like, “Really? Ugh”. So I got the Minkoff Moto Tote instead, which I loved, but back and shoulder issues. And the Julian was kinda growing on me… So I ended up buying a plum colored one on Poshmark (same style as Laura’s grey one with the quilted sides) and loved on that hard, but I wanted something a little more neutral and found a cognac one that I *loved*…until the zipper pull came off and I started looking a little closer and I *think* I may have had a counterfeit because it was not wearing as well as I would have expected (and the tassels were weirdly mismatched and the zipper pulls weren’t attached with the right hardware.) Then along came that gorgeous olive nubuck one in the Anni sale, and I snoozed and lost and was devastated, and I stalked and stalked and when they came back in I bought it. At full price. (gulp). And it was great and I even wore it in the rain (Hello Seattle). But then, THEN, I was trawling ebay (because I will always trawl ebay for Julian’s and Weitzman OTK boots) and I saw my holy grail, cognac leather WITH FRINGE, and be still my mid 80’s Bon Jovi-loving heart. Didn’t even stop to think, just clicked Buy It Now and have been carrying it every damn day for the last year and a half and it still looks amazing. I no longer have the plum one. I’m not sure when I’ll carry the olive one next, but I am keeping it for sure.

    • Hahahaha – omg I love this comment so much. YES, girl. We are here for all of the shopping ups-and-downs. I get this. 🙂

  4. Recent convert here, though I have eyed the Julian for years. Got the nylon in pink and the medium in black. I’m the mom of a teenager so I don’t have to carry the usual mom stuff anymore but I do need to keep some medical supplies and snacks on hand, Love the nylon for quarantine because you can wipe it off, it’s really light and everything is causal right now anyway. Looking forward to the using the leather if I ever go back to the office or have a business trip. Or any trip. A plus for me is getting the weight off my shoulders after years of carrying heavy bags. I had already switched to a laptop backpack for work and I wanted a backpack purse for shopping and running around when even a light leather tote got heavy on the shoulder. Hands free is still great even when you no longer have little ones! I’m sure I will pick up the large eventually esp if I can find it in the non-pebbled leather. Keep up the good work ladies!

  5. Oh how I wish I could post one of my fave pics of my daughter and I visiting DC with our super practical, Uber fashionable Julians! The large, grey Julian was my very first TME purchase and I’ve never looked back. Totally with the price.

  6. Co-sign! I have the medium in taupe and black, along with a larger black nylon for summer. I grab these All The Time. So worth it!

  7. Thank you TME for introducing me to the Julian backpack. I have the black pebbled leather large one and love it. Heads up, Bloomingdale’s is having a July 4th sale and the sandrift (tan colored) Julian backpack is 50% off. Get it get it!

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