The Fashion Fanny Pack - Living Life with a Belt Bag


Imagine, for a moment, that you are in a peaceful place.

A meadow, perhaps, covered in wildflowers. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. (Is it April 25th?) A light breeze ruffles the grass. It’s quiet, save for little birds collecting their midday meal. You’re seated on a flat, sun-warmed rock. Your eyes are closed.

You take a few breaths.

Feeling centered?

Next, I’m going to whisper something to you. When I do, respond with whatever comes to mind first.

“fanny packs”

Let me guess. Did those two words inspire visions of loud tourists in bulky cargo shorts and hefty white sneakers? Are they trampling your meadow, while slowly yell-talking “WHERE. IS. EL. BAÑO?” or “IS. THERE. RANCH. POR. FAVOR?” even though you’re in France? Are you feeling significantly less peaceful?

Fanny packs, forever now, have been the untouchable fashion rule. For the entirety of my life, they’ve never been considered stylish, or suave, or elegant. Instead, they’ve been ugly, dowdy, or utilitarian. They are the hallmark of the tacky tourist, clutching their passport and dining only at McDonalds.

And, yet, here we are in 2019, where up is down and down is up, and fanny packs are stylish.

Sorry, excuse me, belt bags. (Because “fanny pack” sounds ugly, dowdy, and utilitarian.)

Though I don’t consider myself a tacky tourist, I have to admit, I’m kind of into them. These belt bags aren’t the nylon mesh monstrosities of the past. Many are compact and, dare I say… svelte.

It’s Explorer Month. What better time to break the unbreakable fashion rule? To go down the fashion-path less traveled? So, this week, I tested out living with a belt bag. No travel. No white tennis shoes. Just me, three normal days in Seattle, and a fanny pack.

Here’s how it shook out.




THE EVENT: Late lunch and a cocktail on the patio of Ciudad in Georgetown, followed by exploring a new park. (I want to visit every park in Seattle! Are you a Seattleite? Which park is your favorite?)

THE OUTFIT: Green floral dress from my Fashom box + woven slides + belt bag

THE EXPERIENCE: There aren’t enough holes in the strap of this bag to sit at my natural waist, so it hung diagonally, like a cowboy’s holster. I didn’t entirely mind.

It took a few tries to nail the placement so I wouldn’t smack my arm against the bag as I walked. Once that was achieved, I enjoyed the novelty of the bag. At the restaurant, I didn’t have to attempt to hang it off my chair’s rounded back. I didn’t have to hold it. When I needed lip balm (always), it was easily accessible.




THE EVENT: Bicycle shopping, then a wander through the Farmers Market

THE OUTFIT: Everlane denim + Everlane white tank (recognize a theme?) + Not-Everlane, thrifted, chambray button-up + woven slides + belt bag

THE EXPERIENCE: This was my first time wearing the belt bag as a true belt, on denim, in belt loops. Though it was more secure, it also became less convenient. I couldn’t adjust the bag at will, so it was more often in the way. I wasn’t upset. I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t, however, as carefree as Sunday.



THE EVENT: Seeing West Side Story at the 5th Avenue Theater with Christian

THE OUTFIT: White, bell-sleeved, midi dress + turquoise platforms + turquoise gem necklace + belt bag

THE EXPERIENCE: My previous belt bag escapades had been casual. I wanted to test out the bag for a night out.

I didn’t love it. If the bag could have been worn at my true waist, it could have worked better. As it was, the holster-vibe didn’t suit the event, nor the voluminous dress. I felt unflattered and bulky and round.

On a positive note, in this outfit, I felt like Frankie (a la Grace and Frankie) if she had been a pioneer on the Oregon Trail. I was into that.



the verdict

I don’t get this craze. The belt bag was less convenient than my regular small purse - not by drastic margins, mind you, but it wasn’t the utilitarian breeze I anticipated it to be. The bag couldn’t fit much, so I really had to consolidate. When it was full, I felt lopsided.

Will I use the bag, again? Perhaps. It does add some panache to an outfit. Will it become my go-to bag? No, it won’t.

How do you feel about the belt bag trend? Would you have worn it differently than I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with another fashion experiment!