Trending Now: The Fanny Pack (aka Bum Bags, Belt Bags, Waist Bags)

Written by Peyton Haahr
(L-R): Gucci, Sergei Grinko, Anteprima, Cividini and Sportmax. Photos: Imaxtree

It’s here, and we can’t deny it any longer. The summer months are pretty much upon us, and for most, it brings time to spend with family and friends, and time to travel. This term of tourism has become synonymous with the stereotypical tacky Hawaiian button downs and cargo pants. It’s never difficult to pick out who’s a local and whose not when they’ve got socks and sandals on. But it’s time for a high-fashion upgrade, don’t you think?

Enter: the fanny pack.

Or, in more sophisticated terms - the belt bag. The notoriously cringe worthy piece has experienced both a resurrection and a reinvention on the runways recently. The high-fashion elite have taken a stab at bringing it back, and done so in spectacular style, even going as far to create new ways of wearing it.

If you’re still doubtful, check this out.

Ever the trailblazer since its groundbreaking reboot a few years ago, Gucci led the charge with their belt bags loaded on both their men’s and women’s looks. The waist-tie bags were in their classic leathers with a chevron pattern, bearing on their front the classic Gucci logo. Some also featured their traditional pattern with additions of red and green, piling them on top of silk pants and velvet blazers - it was even layered over a sheer dress. Here, it was worn the way most people would think, around the waist, with the bag itself facing forward. The best thing about these bags was that they worked – they drew the eye inward, and can accentuate the waist and make the wearer look thinner because of the bag’s lines. When worn tighter and not slouchy or hanging, this effect is multiplied. While creative director Alessandro Michele showed these bags with lux outfits, it’s not difficult to translate these into everyday wear, especially if you’re someone who hates lugging around a big bag day after day. The size forces you to only carry the essentials, but also is hands-free, something that was pivotal to launching the backpack trend and remains a reason why it is still so popular after this many seasons.

Gucci Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Giving a master class in the versatility and wear-ability of belt bags was Balenciaga, whose bags were worn at a diagonal across the body. This switch-up of the expected way to wear it has been thoroughly seen in the street style of the fashion regulars and novices alike. It virtually erases the tacky nature of wearing it around the waist, rather serving up looks like those of the street style masters. On the runway, these bags were draped on the model’s fronts, over pastel cardigans, eye-catching jeans, and finished alongside bulky earrings. The structure of the piece made them even more interesting, and they were also patterned with the brand’s name. If this is the bag you’re going for, be prepared to swallow almost $2,000 for the piece, but this doesn’t mean this is only a piece for dressed-up eveningwear. Pull this on over tight black jeans and a fitted sweater or graphic tee, or go athleisure with high-waisted yoga pants and a crop top. Either way, try wearing it across the body, with the bag slung either on your front or back. Everyone will think you’re in “the fashion-know”, and there’s nothing tacky about that.

Balenciaga Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Finally, if you’d rather go bold and bright, Marc Jacobs has got you covered. His fanny packs were piled on a ton of looks, and in a variety of colors and patterns. The entire show was somewhat of a walking rainbow, some outfits looking skiwear inspired and other gowns dripping in sequins. Having fanny packs were frankly, not at all surprising or unwelcome in such a vibrant and eccentric display. The bags were a little larger than most, and featured color blocking, usually in colors the complemented the strong colors of the clothing. While his bags may not be as recognizable as Gucci’s or Balenciaga’s, these might be the most practical of them all. Made of a durable and heavy-duty fabric, they were the most reminiscent of the image in everyone’s heads when they thought of a fanny pack, made to travel and resist wear. These would be perfect for a high-fashion upgrade on a travel bag, and at the same time be both high quality and long lasting. These are a must-have for the fashion-forward traveler or simply the adventurous wearer who has a habit of getting stains on her clothes yet having no idea where they came from.

Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Not convinced? Not to fear. Brands like Alexander Wang, Kate Spade, even Rihanna’s Fenty runway bore belt bags on their models. Wang’s “Attica” bag has become a favorite with girls like Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber wearing them while out and about. Someone noted that “It’s ugly until Rihanna decides it’s not”, and frankly, she lived up to that when she pushed the famously ugly bag into the spotlight on her motocross inspired runway. It isn’t a trend for everyone, and it’s a tougher one to get into without spending a few hundred dollars. There are a few cheaper ones at fashion-fashion joints, as well as the high-fashion ones. Whichever you pick, don’t be afraid to take risks with it. They’re standout pieces, and immediately gift you about a million ‘cool girl’ points from the second you put them on.

Alexander Wang "Attica" Belt Bag