Would You Wear a Fanny Pack Belt Bag?

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As a sixth grader, I had a major fashion moment: I went on a bike ride around our Michigan suburb wearing a Hypercolor shirt, stonewashed jeans and a fanny pack. I felt so cool that I almost felt embarrassed anticipating how much people would be admiring my ensemble.

Cut to two decades later: People are now riding bikes, wearing fanny packs and actually looking cool. As you may have seen, designers have been releasing highbrow fanny packs this spring and calling them “belt bags.” And they’re weirdly appealing. Wouldn’t it be liberating to go hands free this summer? You could just bring along keys, a $20 bill and a lipstick.

Here are a few pretty ones: leather, black, convertible and striped.

Would you ever wear a fanny pack? Definitely not? Maybe yes?

P.S. 9 spring trends.

  1. Prudence Yeo says...

    I do not have the habit of wearing a belt bag but may do so if I ever go cycling long distance! It’s great that the designs these days are quite chic, so it does motivate me to wear one if needed!


  2. Danielle D. says...

    YES!!! I put that in all caps because I know I could rock it, lol.

    They make cute ones these days and it’s easy (esp. when going to flea markets/yard sales/thifting/farmers markets or working out). Usually when I wear a crossbody bag or wirstlet when running errands, but I’d wear it doing those too.

    If I live in a city where driving is the main way to get around-there isn’t even a cute walking mall or downtown area. But if I lived in an area where I can walk more, I’d wear it more.

  3. We call these bum bags in the UK. For us fanny is a derogatory word for a vagina. It’s not the kind of word you’d use in special moment with your partner, and certainly not one you’d name a bag after or say in front of a kid. I’m guessing you guys don’t have the same definition. Makes me giggle reading it being bandied about so casually. I love language.

  4. In light of this, I’m probably just going to start wearing my Little Mermaid “belt bag” from first grade if I can find it in my parents’ basement.

    • Hi VB Berulia! Thank you so much for sharing our brand : ) Love hearing that you find the belt bag life changing – which one did you get?

  5. Joanna, my friend Julie has been making fanny packs for a few years now and just this year was able to quit her day job to concentrate on her business full time. I think you’ll like her bags. Her company is called Rais Case. Check her out!

  6. I’ve had a leather “belt bag” for a few years now. Never wear it around the waist though, mostly strap it over my shoulder and wear it on my back. Then I truly feel like a boss.

  7. I love it! I actually found this sort of vintage leather “beltbag” years ago at an antique shop, not sure of it’s original purpose but it really looks quite similar those that are big now – I wore it over a cream coloured maxi and felt awesome! Like some tombraider/maid marion hybrid!

  8. Haha, nice memory. I like the idea (small is key. Post’s main image max!), buttttt does this mean I have to tuck in my shirt every day? And also wear the exact same belt every day?


  9. Ha Joanna, here we call it “kidney bag”.

    I’m divided: it would be REALLY useful (I have neck pain), but…. c’mon, a belt bag? Again??

    Can’t make a decision!

  10. I have been lusting after one for walking the dog and running around with kiddos!

  11. Yes! A 6 month old and a dog and no hands! Where is the brown one in the pic from?

  12. Ummmm…no. That’s what cross-body bags are for. Or backpacks. I work for the Fed…we have no dress code (those of us that don’t deal with the public). There are women who are still wearing the same type of fanny pack that were popular the first time around. These are also the same women that come to work wearing t-shirts, tennis shoes and stretch pants.

    I am not lumping everyone who wears a fanny pack or “belt bag” in the same group as these women, but I managed to raise 2 children without using one. Just say no. :-)

  13. God no. I will stick to a regular purse. Even the trendy ones look silly to me.

  14. YES!!! I wore a fanny pack last summer because its so convenient. My friends teased me, but now i can show them that i was ahead of the trend. BOOM!

  15. @hanna, laughing out loud at your comment. and i agree with the commenters that this is an “american tourist” cliche, along with baggy khakis, big white sneakers and a baseball cap. style it up!

  16. Joanna, I totally had a Hypercolor shirt, hot pink fanny pack that I used on every family trip. I packed about 8 mixed tapes in it, my yellow sports walkman, and whatever else I just “needed” in case I got bored :)

  17. Yes! And I think they’re coming back every so often (maybe 8 years ago?) I had an Eddie Bauer hiking type fanny pack that was great, and it converted into a shoulder bag. It really took the weight off of your shoulders. I love the idea of being handsfree, especially with little ones to run after.

  18. I love wearing my fanny packs!! I first started wearing them four years ago and when people teased me, I told them that I was single-handedly going to bring back the fanny pack. Looks like I did my job :)

    Fanny packs are convenient, and more ergonomic than purses, which pull down on one shoulder and eventually wreak havoc on your posture.

    Also extremely handy for training & walking dogs (easy access to poop bags and treats all while keeping one hand on the leash and one hand free for treats).

  19. Love the brown fanny pack in your main photo! Super chic. Where is that one from?? Thx!

  20. I’ve got one stylish fanny pack that I’ve received from my aunt Gosia who designs/makes them in Poland. I’ve been too afraid to wear in the US as it seems they have a bad rep here. Also, interesting fact, in Poland they call them “nerki” which translates to kindneys. Definitely sounds better than a “fanny pack”.

  21. In my world, they’re called action satchels and I’ve been using a cool black leather one I thrifted for years :)

  22. Love the brown fanny pack in your main photo! Super chic. Where is that one from?? Thx!

  23. Was just giggling the other day about how the fanny pack aka belt bag made it’s was into my ensemble it was 1991 or 92 .. I had three in diapers .. & I had put my purse on top of my very cool suburban with faux wood grain down the side .. Yes .. It was gone .. By the time I had done this twice it was all about the fanny pack for this mommy. Ha ha .. Ha. .. XoOx mo

  24. I’d definitely wear one of the cool belted bags — and they double as a belt! The 80s big nylon fannypacks are a big no, no, though.

  25. In france we call it a “banana” or “banana bag” ! Even the word is childish…

  26. ‘Fanny pack’ will never fail to make me laugh. Here in Britain, the word ‘fanny’ means something very different…

  27. I certainly would! Great for travelling.

  28. i’m kind of addicted to carrying way too much with me. i don’t know if i could do it lol

    xo, allie

  29. Eek I completely second unfurled’s comment. I’m thinking maybe don’t wear this one if you are heading to Europe. It is definitely one of the (friendly) cliches we have about Americans ;-) Or I suppose you could wear it with bright white sneakers and a baseball cap and just style it out!

  30. They were super big here last year in Copenhagen. All of the teenage girls wore them across their chest rather than around their hips. It was very cute, but seemed to be a quick fad. :-)

  31. Yes, I would TOTALLY wear one! And I’m so glad these are coming back. Think how much easier your life could be–so freeing. Dancing on the dance floor without having to worry about your belongings. Frolicking in the streets. A sporadic run through the park. Ok, I’m getting carried away. But, this is a major YES.

  32. LP says...

    OH EM GEE!
    I just ordered a cheap one from China on eBay because I’m trying it out for the kids! I had no idea these were trending. NONE! Ahead of my time!

    @Hanna Gartland
    I am now cool! I mean, I thought I was cool already but now it’s official!

    I love that comment!

    I think for kids and outings they’re ultra handy. Imagine…they can carry their own water bottle, their own little snack, their pocket change and the items they seems to collect and accumulate while out. My kids are 9 and 7 and I am certain they will love them. And I’m pretty sure hubby and I will love having this pouch for all our little life’s necessities while we are out exploring as a family.

    The leather and posh fanny packs look fab, but how realistic are some of them? They seem slim.

    And who cares what we look like? Imagine no shoulder pain and discomfort. Amen to being 41 and entering my free thinking-let loose stage!

  33. Ha! JUST yesterday I googled ‘fanny pack’. I feared what photos might pop up. :) But, seriously, I’m on the hunt (thinking what to do with my wallet and phone this summer at the park with my boys), so thanks for doing some research for me.

  34. i love these comments. the debates are making me laugh out loud.

  35. I work in TV and have to wear a walkie talkie at work and swear by these. I got a cute one at Target a few years back and constantly get compliments on it! Mine is black faux leather with three over-sized gold zippers. It is the handiest way to have my cell phone, pens, chapstick, and money on me and not have to fill my pants pockets. I even wear it to the Farmers Market where I always need my hands free. LOVE THEM!!!

  36. PS – My husband has one for fishing and calls it a “hip sack”. Maybe a new name would make it cool? Get it? HIP sack?! (sorry) “Belt bag” just isn’t doin’ it for me.

  37. I truly wished for one DAILY when my little on was still strapped to my chest every waking moment. I would say – out loud – “What I really need is a fanny pack!!!”

    Thank god for stylish options for #2 (some day)!

  38. For me, it’s a no! I think they’re cute and make total sense but I carry my extra weight around my middle and a fanny pack would basically highlight an area Id rather not highlight! Haha! But for all you svelte gals out there I say go for it!! And can you carry my keys too!?

  39. NOOOOOOOOO! They’re all horrible! :S

  40. I went through a phase of watching Burn Notice, and loved Fiona’s belt bag. Still wish I would have picked up a similar one in a thrift store…

  41. NO!!!! In five years the belt bag will be regrettable again. And not to mention, they draw unnecessary attention to an area where lots of us have an extra pound or two. If you need hands free, what about a sleek crossbody???

  42. Last summer, as a photo assistant, I needed to be hands-free and on my feet, but also constantly have access to a few key pieces. Enter: the fanny pack. I got so addicted to the feeling of not having to hold anything or have a bag on my shoulder that I started wearing my super geeky, not-stylish-at-all fanny pack on my days off, too. Perhaps I’m ready for an upgrade…

  43. Absolutely! With an active kiddo and lots of adventures in the city and the park, I’d love to have my hands (and shoulders) free. I’ve always thought fanny packs should make a comeback… Come on, they’re not that bad looking!

  44. Yes, I would wear one! I have to take an asthma inhaler everywhere so I.D. Money, lip gloss, and the inhaler! SOLD!!

  45. I did it in 1990-1991, and it lasted maybe a month before I started carrying a purse (I was 7/8 at the time). This is the one trend that makes me cringe over its return. Some things should just stay in the past.

  46. i bought a leather fanny pack from a thrift store a few years back and its been my favourite purse since. i don’t wear it around my waist but over the shoulder, clasped pretty loose. if i need anything i just roll it over and take whatever i need. and i can dance without it knocking anyone out. i feel like the sheriff of coolsville whenever i wear it

  47. One of the girls i play roller derby with wears one, and it’s SO punk rock. It’s leather and she just looks like a total bad ass wearing it. I actually looked around of one like hers, because at all the parties, she’s the girl NOT looking for a place to put her stuff or remembering where she put her keys. I’ve seen some really cool ones, so I’ll probably get one before the summer :)

  48. FYI I just bought a fanny pack AND a pair of TEVAS. What is happening??

  49. I do wear one and I love it! I’ve worn them for a long time now, and my sister got me a really cute Michael Kors one a few years ago that I love. I think you can totally hip it up (no pun intended!) Carrie Bradshaw did it too! I would definitely wear that camel one.

  50. Nope, never used them the first time around. It seemed like all the “dorky” people wore them (I don’t mean to offend anyone)in my area and I can’t get over that. I either stuff everything in my pockets or use a small crossbody bag. They also aren’t very flattering unless you are thin.

  51. no. no no no. nope. can’t do it! if I were young enough to have missed the fanny pack trend of the 80s and early 90s I might have a different opinion. but I just can’t! I know too much!

  52. I think I’d rather wear a hyper color shirt, and that’s saying something. Who thoughts shirt that broadcasts your, ah, regional temperature was a good idea?

  53. I already am! FANtastic for moms because it gets you hands free. And perfect as an xtra handbag you can actually keep on while seated on a plane! I’ve had my favourite from Decadent Copenhagen for years in grey leather- and it can be worn just like any normal little handbag as well- perfect for dual purposes. They still make them, just in a different version than mine here:

  54. Ok, childish moment here…
    I’m Australian and in Australia fanny is actually a slang term for vagina. So, in the 90s when fanny packs (or bum bags as we called them) were all the rage hearing the American name for them on tv would send everyone I knew into fits of laughter. At the time my friends and I had no idea that fanny meant “butt” in America. I remember having conversations about how much more sense the name “fanny pack” made seeing as you wear it on your front rather than on your back as the name “bum bag” would suggest! And don’t get me started on how rude we thought that line about Fran Drescher being “out on her fanny” in the opening credits to The Nanny was! Ah, just to prove that I haven’t grown up, I’m giggling right now as I type this! :)

  55. I think they are a great idea for mom’s, never to forget your wallet or phone at the park again! My friend (two mom’s) just started a company selling these beautiful.

  56. Definitely would. With kids, I have found across-the-body purses to be a necessity; I feel like the right fanny pack would be even better!

  57. In the last few years I have crossed into the not caring what people think of me stage of my life… so yes, I love fanny packs :) super convenient. I last used mine as a cash belt at our garage sale!

  58. haha, my 4 yr old refers to my new leather purse as a fanny pack, because I carried around a denim fanny pack in lieu of purse for as long as she can remember!

  59. PLEASE tell me that this trend will merge with the Birkenstock fad. Ugly is the new pretty, right?

  60. First thought, NO WAY. Then I thought, that’s been closed minded and you do bring up some good points, so I looked at your links. Final thought, NOPE, no way, can’t do it.

  61. I’m a bit on edge when it comes to fanny packs. Ive never thought they looked particularly cool. HOWEVER, they are super practical and I wouldnt mind wearing one for travelling or a festival.. But here in scandinavia, or Denmark it has been a trend for the past 2-3 years to wear them like this:

    And it is EVERY summer I see this everywhere (including my younger siblings) and its not my cuppa’ tea :P But all to each own.

  62. Nope. I think if you’re old enough to have worn it the first time, then you have to leave it to “the kids”. (Can’t believe I just wrote that, I’m only 36!) But I just can’t with these.
    P.S. Not to be too graphic, but especially when worn in the front, don’t they kind of look like (or accentuate) a FUPA??

  63. Love this post Joanna!!! Can you please share the link to find the pouch from the post image? Love it! Thanks!

  64. I’m all in. I bought a very worn-in leather one at a yard sale last summer. It has “Bugatti” embossed on it and something about it just said, “I’m cool. You should bring me back.” Weird thing is, people love it! Everyone is like, “I really like your… fanny pack?” like they can’t believe what they are saying.

    But seriously… these things are damn handy. Like a tool belt for everyday life!

  65. um yes, I love this. I don’t always have pockets/ they aren’t usually big enough, but I love the feeling of walking around without a bag on my arm, it is surprisingly freeing.

  66. I’m into it. Not sure why fanny packs/belt bags were ever so reviled (and I’m not just talking my middle school version.) They are so practical and, depending on the brand, can be absolutely nice-looking, in my opinion.

  67. I’ll bet if it had a cooler name, rather than ‘fanny pack’, that some people may feel more accepting of it. I think there are times when this is a great option, rather than a purse.

  68. @kate, I KNOW. {insert old lady emoji here.}

  69. @love lis, i kind of want a neon one now!

  70. Having lived abroad, these packs are what American tourists are known best for. Even living back at home, I just can’t do it.

  71. jova, you’re right — small crossbody bags can do the trick without seeing so fannypack-y. :)

  72. @patricia, your comment made me laugh out loud.

  73. Nope! My rule is if I wore the trend the first time around, it’s a no go the second.

  74. I wouldn’t but that’s just because I have my Hip Appeal hip wrap – it’s perfect for exercise, going to concerts, travel, etc. Can fit your ID, money, phone, even a passport! It’s yoga-pants material so it’s soft, comfortable and doesn’t add a lot of bulk. I purchased mine for a long trip around Europe but use it at home for long walks or the state fair. :) You can check out the product here:

  75. I have an old fanny pack that I bring to football games/anywhere else that you can no longer bring a purse into. It’s so convenient!

  76. Those bags are actually cute! Like you, when I first read fanny pack, all I could think of was those crazy neon bags everyone used to wear. Haha! You’re right, it would be nice to go hands free this summer and maybe squish a diaper or two and head to a nearby playground!

  77. I’ve always been a fan of the fanny pack- Personally advocate for wearing it “seatbelt” style…

  78. What’s embarrassing is that most of the kiddies wearing these have never heard of a “fanny pack.” When did we get so old?!

  79. How funny! It always comes down to fashion vs function, doesn’t it?

    I think I’ll wait on the sidelines until those more fashionable than me make the final call (but I’ll secretly be rooting for them!)

    -Lindsay from Dearest Darling

  80. I lived in Chile for a while and fanny packs are very popular. They are called bananos and you can get them everywhere. Definitely a requirement for fitting in as a chilena. I have a very cool brightly embroidered one that I have been tempted to break out again even though I am back in the states! It’s so nice to have everything strapped on safely and not have to worry about where your bag is.

  81. I have been hoping the fanny pack would come back for years! It is just not fair that men get to walk around hands-free all the time and women are stuck lugging around purses. I am 100% for the “belt bag,” especially if it is brown leather!

  82. Yes yes yes yes yes! We need to rehabilitate this. The Clare V one is the coolest. The Herschel one is too big. American Apparel has neat little ones that are an inexpensive way to test the water.

  83. That’s why I only carry a little purse that I wear across. Hands free and can only carry essentials :)

  84. not sure i could go back to a ‘belt bag’…I’ll stick to my crossbody bag since i carry way to much stuff anyway. Or if needed i’ll use my backpack instead when i’m super active with my two little ones.

  85. Holy Schneike! I bought a bright yellow fanny pack from American Apparel after my son was born so that I could go on a walk with him in the carrier and (since our carrier doesn’t have a pocket) not have to bring his backpack. I am now cool! I mean, I thought I was cool already but now it’s official!

    On that note, I LOVE the description of being so proud you’re embarrassed. I still also feel that sometimes :)

  86. I would definitely wear one, So practical! I even tried getting back into this several years ago but was still suffering from the fanny pack stigma I suppose.

  87. I absolutely would wear one!! I can think of so many places they would come in handy! On a long walk, the playground (as soon as my toddler is potty trained and can carry her own snacks maybe), a really crowded bar so you don’t have to hold your handbag the whole time and a backpack purse might get dipped into by the person behind you…I love the leather ones.

  88. I would totally wear one of those! so much easier at the right times!

  89. It’s just…not right.

  90. Noooooo! They are all horrible!!!

  91. timely post. I just bought one from urban outfitters. three kids, one usually wrapped on my back, needed hands free. <3

  92. no :) i think this might be one of those trends that A) look better on instagram than in real life B) if you did it before when you were younger, you should not do again (and I don’t say that about many things) I think we will look back on this and realize it was a mistake. “Hey, remember in ’15 when we use to wear those belt bags?!? What was up with THAT?” just my thoughts.

  93. Yes! I love them fro active days and vacations. I wore one in college and love it. Also great for shopping!