Tuesday, August 16, 2022

When someone says that “fanny packs are cool again,” one has to wonder if the word “again” should be used. In fact, many people would question whether “fanny packs” and “cool” should even be used in the same sentence. But if New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul can have comeback tours, it stands to reason that other ‘90s-style icons will return as well. (Nineties heartthrob Jared Leto has been spotted wearing his fanny pack numerous times over the past two decades.) So, put your hair into a scrunchie, and let’s get fanny packing.

While the classic overstuffed-backpack-on-a-belt look is obviously part of the trend, fashion has spared those who find this accessory offensive and offers alternative looks for those who wish for hands-free shopping. As a concept, the fanny pack makes total sense: No need to worry about putting a bag down somewhere and forgetting about it. Purses can distribute weight unevenly and leave wearers with back pains and one-sided shoulder aches. Practically speaking, fanny packs are a win.

But so much in life is not only about the practical aspect. From a fashion standpoint, these accessories are often the subject of “fashion don’t” photo spreads. Rather than “who wore it best?” these might be mocked in a “who wore it at all?” feature.

Leave it to high-end designers—and celebrities—to make fanny packs, well, actually cool. Here are a few new and exciting ways to wear them, whether they are called fanny packs, belt packs or bum bags.

Alexander Wang boasts fanny packs in their classic shape, but made with edgy materials—think reptile skins and leather. Salvatore Ferragamo uses this style, and even makes men’s fanny packs. This is a great alternative to the “murse” (man purse) or dad diaper bag. The guys’ fanny pack is like Batman’s utility belt, but in couture.

Chanel continues to maintain its signature style with sleek, chic fanny packs. Rather than a big, bulky contraption, the Chanel fanny pack looks like a wristlet that is worn around the waist (“beltlet” might be an appropriate term!). Michael Kors makes thin and understated fanny packs; some styles have only enough room for a wallet, phone and small items.

Designer Ruti Horn may not be as well-known as some of the other brands, but she has made a name for herself in the designer world. She has designed a line of accessories known as “The Hex,” named after the hexagonal shape of her bags. This fashion line is a collection of “luxe leather multifunctional bags that combines fashion and function.” With the comeback of fanny packs, she designed The Hex for belts. Its chic look with iridescent leather materials makes wearers rethink their preconceived opinions of fanny packs. The name “fanny pack” seems less sophisticated than the design looks, and is almost insulting to this stylish accessory.

In case these designer options are out of the price budget for any Jewish Link readers, rest assured: department stores such as Macy’s have multiple options for under $100.

Regardless of the name used, options exist for the style-conscious but practical shopper. So, enjoy hands-free shopping, and find the belt accessory for your lifestyle and for a thoroughly au courant look.

By Jenny Gans


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