Ditch the sling, it’s time to go hands-free with a fanny pack. It’s on-trend, and we have experts confirm it.
Call it a belt bag, bum bag or fanny pack, but the strapped pouch worn around the waist is a good way to carry essentials. The bags went out of fashion after the 90s, but with some re-imagination and encouragement from Bollywood stars, they are back on-trend. From Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, and Deepika Padukone to Ranveer Singh, Shilpa Shetty and even Kajol, the fanny pack seems to be a hit among crowds, both younger and older, male and female alike.
Designer Payal Singhal, who incorporated fanny packs in her recent runway collection, feels that it came out of necessity. “I hate dupattas, I hate carrying a purse, so I thought why can’t we wear a fanny pack to an Indian wedding? That was my whole idea. We usually use a fanny pack when we are travelling or for work, when you want to quickly access things. And even at a wedding, when you’re dancing and having fun, you want to be hands-free. That’s where it came from,” says the designer, who paired lehengas with embroidered fanny packs.
A small bag with enough space for essentials —mobile, cash and keys, fanny packs are a convenient alternative to bulky handbags. Celebrity stylist Eshaa Amiin feels that it’s the convenience that’s making fanny packs popular, but it’s also the sleek styles that help put together various outfits. “The fact that they come in so many different variations — they come in print, they come in metallic, leather, solid colours — which makes it a versatile bag. During the day you can wear a normal leather fanny pack, and wear a printed one while going for brunch. Then at night, you can carry a metallic gold or silver, depending on what you’re wearing. I feel like it’s become so versatile; it works with everything, and that’s the reason both men and women have started using them,” says the stylist. She notes the fact that it’s attached to your hips, which means you don’t have to worry about leaving your bag behind.
Meanwhile, designer Narendra Kumar believes that the resurgence of the fanny pack is part of a larger trend. “I think the fanny pack gives a youthful demeanour to the person carrying it. It is not about the trend of the bag, but the larger trend of looking young. Combining the bag with sneakers and wearing them with different things shows that we are young and contemporary. There’s an element of the street and that’s what it is about,” he explains.
When asked about styling, Eshaa opines that one can pull off a fanny pack with a lehenga if they go for a bohemian look. “Imagine you are a nice embroidered lehenga, very Rajasthani thread work, and you carry a fanny with it. I think it totally works; you can wear it with leather boots and a biker jacket too. It’s just about how you style it,” she says. For daily wear, the stylist suggests pairing a printed fanny pack with a maxi dress or palazzo pants.
The waist bag can even be incorporated into men’s traditional attire, but you’ll have to look away from a closed sherwani. “The sherwani needs to be layered over something. You need to have a kurta inside, on which you can wear an open sherwani, and pair it with a fanny pack,” Narendra explains.