Web Original: Top 5 Back-to-School Buys

Okay, so the days of Trapper Keepers, colored pencils and plastic lunchboxes are over.

Okay, so the days of Trapper Keepers, colored pencils and plastic lunchboxes are over. But that doesn’t mean the older set (this means you, middle school, high school and college students) can’t still enjoy a sweet back-to-school spree. Check out my must-haves for this school year—they’ll make being stuck back in a classroom less painful, I swear—and then pick up the latest issue of Philly Mag to see how your school stacks up. Class dismissed.

1. The Ultimate Backpack
Sure, you can load your books around in a trusty JanSport. But why would you when you can go high-tech with Skullcandy’s Link Street Pack? This seriously tricked-out tote has a built-in battery-powered amp as well as speakers and a cell phone mic embedded in the upper straps, so you can tool around campus listening to your fave tunes or chatting—hands-free—with your pals. ($249.99 at Seidenburg Luggage, Suburban Square, 41 St. Georges Road, Ardmore, 610-642-7800, seidenburgluggage.com.)

2. The Coolest Paperclips
Because the silver ones are so played out. Fred & Friends’ bright-’n-quirky Iconoclasps clips will make your piles of homework less daunting. ($5.50 at Foster’s Homeware, 399 Market Street, 215-925-0950, shopfosters.com.)

3. The Prettiest Pen
Toss your Bics and splurge on this kaleidoscopic pen. If you’ve got to scribble down hours of notes every day, you might as well have a stylish writing implement, right? ($12.95 at Papyrus, multiple locations)

4. The Best Notebook
Sometimes, basic is better. Staples’ own 5-subject, wire-bound notebooks are sturdy and durable—not your average one-semester throwaways. Plus, they’re available in cheerful, bright colors (I’m partial to the surprisingly un-Halloween-y orange). ($7.99 for two at Staples, multiple locations.)

5. The Wittiest Post-Its
So much better than your average yellow stickies, Knock Knock’s hilariously clever sticky notes are perfect for jotting down a reminder to finish that homework assignment, go to your band practice, show up for those baseball tryouts, etc, etc. They’ll keep you organized and, better yet, thoroughly amused. ($3.25 at AIA Bookstore & Design Center, 1218 Arch Street, 866-746-7242, aiabookstore.com.)