Hip-Hip Hooray for the Fanny Pack

Updated on August 25, 2017

Whatever you call them — fanny packs, hip packs, bum bags, or waist gags — these ubiquitous little pouches have been ping-ponging between being the pariahs and the darlings of the fashion industry ever since they showed up in the 1980s.

We've seen them on high-fashion runways over the years. They often look like they'll be the next "big thing," but they've never really made it into the league of the major bag silhouettes, like shoulder bags, totes, backpacks, and even clutches.

What Comes to Your Mind When You Think of "Fanny Packs?"

Although, to me, the classic shape fanny pack still has the "tourist" stigma attached to it, celebrities like Kendall Jenner have recently re-invented them by wearing them in a cross-body fashion, and designers are adopting the trend, touting fanny packs as the newest "must-have" accessories.

Personally, I think the fanny pack belongs around the waist. Wearing them as cross-bodies only seems logical to me if the strap is long enough to turn it into a true mini shoulder/cross-body bag. After all, the whole idea behind them is their hands-free convenience.

Any clutch or small side bag can become a "fanny pack"
Any clutch or small side bag can become a "fanny pack"

Look Ma, No Hands!

Of course, the fanny pack can't replace a large bag, like a tote or backpack, for work or travel. There's a time and place for everything. But, surprisingly enough, even hardened "schleppaholics" are giving minimalism a chance.

A well-thought-out fanny pack can be surprisingly roomy. It's a matter of what you're willing to sacrifice. Do you really need your laptop? Then, forget a small bag. Can you manage with your phone, small wallet, keys, glasses, tissues, mints, lipstick, blush, and some other smalls? You might be a candidate for fanny pack. You'll never know if you don't try.

There's also the option of using a fanny pack together with a backpack. Especially for travel. The combination is ideal for keeping important items (like passports) at your fingertips.

Sporran-style hip-hugger.
Sporran-style hip-hugger.

Are You a Fanny Packer?

I have to admit that I only use these little waist bags for an evening out. I'm a hopeless schlepper and can't imagine myself out during the day without my backpack and everything but the kitchen sink. But there is a lot to be said for minimalism. Maybe in my next life-style.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Questions & Answers


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      • punkmarkgirl profile image

        Ashley Bergin 8 months ago from san francisco

        It just doesn't look comfortable to have this big ol' thing hanging from your waist line! But... I do agree that the "no hands" situation is a must - which is why I will always carry a crossbody bag or backpack. I've never understood why some women lug giant tote bags with a tiny handle, that they have to carry around. Looks so painstakingly inconvenient!