Fanny packs, belt bags, bum bags, hip bags — whatever name least offends, their time has come. We could say the trend dates back to Pre-Fall 2016 when Alexander Wang, fashion’s resident club kid, presented rave-ready, slouchy, at times pony hair-embellished fanny packs (worn as shoulder bags or carried across the chest, thus avoiding any dazed tourist comparisons). Belt bags also turned up at Spring 2016’s Chanel Haute Couture show, where thin, double-wrapped, metallic iterations hung from the waists of Gigi Hadid, Lindsey Wixson and more.
But that’s not the first we’ve seen of the hands-free accessory. Goldie Hawn favored the style in the 80s. Nineties moms couldn’t resist the fanny pack’s allure of convenience. Then there was that time Carrie Bradshaw wore a Gucci belt bag as she called out then-boyfriend Aidan on his passive-aggressive BS.
While Karl Lagerfeld, Wang and SJP definitely helped get the hip bag where it is today, the recent conflation of various movements — athleisure, tiny bags, utilitarianism, gender-neutral dressing, individualism by way of hard-to-find vintage pieces — has made the style an absolute must-have. This year’s hip huggers come embellished with fringe and outsize hardware. Rather than cheap (neon) polyester, designers craft satin, suede and leather versions. The silhouettes are sleek; the holders are compact. The idea is to KonMari our daily bag and give our tired limbs a break (or leave them free to hold picket signs) — not to bulk up our outfits.
Per Kendall Jenner, wear one looped into the belt of your skinnies. Our favorite look, demonstrated above by Brooklyn-based belt bag maker ASHYA (say that three times fast), involves letting your sleek hip bag peek out from underneath a tailored coat. Or do as Kith stylist Mellany Sanchez does and wear yours over your outerwear. Or go the Wang route — the choice is yours.
And speaking of choice, pick from our favorite fanny packs of the moment in the slideshow below.