The very first time the Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack appeared on The Mom Edit, Pax was NOT impressed.
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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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 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 Minkoff…or scroll down for additional links!
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
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
-Cam (and TME team)