The fanny pack—or belt bag, to use the more fashion-forward term—hit critical mass in the ’80s. Back then, it was most often constructed in neon hues or stonewashed denim fabrics, and its target demo tended to be under 15 or over 45.
In the early aughts, the silhouette resurfaced, reimagined on the waists of Sex and the City characters Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones; however, like many of SATC‘s sartorial risks, it seems that only now, 20 years later, have real-world fashion darlings embraced the look. It was the bonafide sporty street-style smash of 2017, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down in 2018.
“Brands are giving the style a new, elevated look by using luxury materials.”
The bag’s renewed charm can be attributed to a few factors. For one, labels are delivering versions that more closely resemble Carrie’s famous Gucci fanny pack than they do those cheap gecko-print styles hiding in your dad’s closet. “Brands are bringing back the belt-bag; however, they’re giving the style a new, elevated look by using luxury materials,” says celeb stylist Alyssa Sutter. “Form is no longer sacrificed for function.” Indeed, Gucci, Alexander Wang, Prada, and other high-end labels are offering belt-bag upgrades in velvet materials, quilted textures, animal prints, and luxe leather.
Additionally, fanny packs are no longer being styled exclusively around the waist. Instead, street-style stars have been photographed rocking their belt bags in nontraditional ways. “The belt bag got a serious styling upgrade that includes wearing it crossbody,” says Sutter. “This has earned the bag a modern vibe.” Some are also wearing it around the shoulder, like a normal handbag. Old-school nylon styles—perfect for an athleisure look—can be made modern simply by wearing them anywhere but your waist.
Finally, the trend’s renewed popularity can be attributed in large part to its famous fans. “Kendall Jenner rocks this trend the best and keeps reviving it—wearing it crossbody, going vintage with LV, etc.,” says Sutter. High-wattage celebs such as Rihanna, Kourtney Kardashian, Beyoncé, and others have also publicly sported seriously enviable bags styled inventively. Want to attempt the trend without looking like you’re trying too hard?
Keep reading for 5 tips for how to wear a fanny pack from celeb stylist Alyssa Sutter.
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1. Get girlie: Pair your fanny pack with feminine styles (e.g. a skirt or dress) for a more balanced look.
2. Material matters: Look for interesting colors, prints, and fabrics like satin, velvet, or corduroy.
3. Turn it around: Wear it crossbody with the pack in the front or the back.
4. Wear it over your outwear: If you choose to wear it around your waist, wear it over your clothes. You can wear it over a jacket, or even over a jumpsuit or dress.
5. Personalize it: Add studs or patches to make your fanny pack unique to your own style.
This article was originally published on December 6, 2017; it was updated on June 15, 2018.
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