The Pack is Back: More Than Grannies Can Wear Fannies

When
I was eight, my family went to Disney World for a week during summer vacation. My mom had just married my step-dad, and as a bonding experience we all went to
Florida after they had gotten back from their honeymoon. I was super excited to try all the rides—especially Space Mountain—and to get as many character
signatures in my autograph book as possible.

My
excitement turned to mortification when my step-dad pulled out a beat-up black nylon fanny pack and strapped the sucker across his waist on our first day in the park. I was no looker in
the fourth grade, but even I knew that fanny packs were uncool—a relic from
the ’80s that only people like Urkel would wear in public.

Everyone
in the fashion world knows that trends continually pop back up after months
or decades underground. It appears that the fanny pack has been resurrected from the realm of nerds and parents who relish embarrassing their children to
the world of ultra-cool, chic and must-have. A quick rebranding—you can now
find fanny packs going under the moniker of belt, waist or canvas bag—and the use of luxury materials such as calfskin leather have made the fanny pack an on-trend
and must-have item. 

Even
though the pack has been given a chic makeover, I was still unconvinced about its wearability. So, as any wise person would do, I turned to Google for help
in deciding whether the fanny pack was actually back.

I decided that simplicity was
best, so I typed in “celebrities and fanny packs.” I figured that if good-looking people with tons of money can’t pull off the pack, then it was best that
I forgo this trend for another.

Lo and behold, the internet has a lot to say on
the bag. There is even a Tumblr blog dedicated solely to celebrities wearing
fanny packs.

The blog itself is a bit out of date, but there is a picture of
Rihanna with the caption “people who look cool even while wearing a fanny
pack.” Although the blog is more dedicated to pointing out the fanny pack’s lack of cool, they did make an astute point: If anyone can pull off a fanny
pack, it would be the fashion maverick herself. Rihanna could make anything look
fresh off the runway.

A more recent article on Yahoo spotlighted several
celebrities who were trying to help the pack make its comeback. I would say a
shirtless Jared Leto wearing a pack on the beach is not a bad picture.
Apparently, Leto even sells custom-made fanny packs on his website.

Sarah
Jessica Parker recently rocked a black leather Chanel fanny pack on the red
carpet. She would have made Carrie Bradshaw proud—we all know Carrie was not
one to shy away from bold fashion statements. Parker actually looked amazing, and the fanny pack blended well with the overall outfit choice instead
of sticking out like a sore thumb.

Although
I don’t have to worry about embarrassing myself or looking ‘uncool’ while
wearing one, I’m not sure that I would invest in a belt bag or fanny pack. It’s not
that I don’t love a good comeback—I do—but I’m not sure that even supple
leather can get me to wear a bag around my waist. It seems too risky.

My fellow
5C student and style enthusiast, Melissa Chambers PO ‘15, had some wise words
to say on the matter. 

“Wearing a fanny pack in 2015 is a risk,” she said. “However, it’s a good one because it makes you stand out. Standing out and being
an individual is what fashion and
personal style is all about.” 

It’s hard to disagree with Melissa—clothes and
accessories are meant to make you feel good, and they help to express who you are
without words. They’re meant to help you make an impression, so if a ‘waist bag’ helps enhance your personal style, you should take the
risk.

Finding
the right bag can be tricky, but first things first: Don’t search Google for
fanny packs; you won’t find anything good under this search term.

A waist or belt
bag is the way to go when searching for your newest accessory. ASOS, NastyGal,
Urban Outfitters, and Intermix—if you’re really fancy, Gucci, too—all have nice
selections in waist belts that come in a variety of materials, sizes and
styles (yes, you can have different styles and designs for a fanny pack!). Even
Jansport, a traditional backpack maker, has joined in on this trend.

I still
wouldn’t buy a waist bag in any other material besides leather, but if anyone
finds a cool nylon or canvas one, I’m open to suggestions. Happy pack-exploring, 5C students.

Chabrina Bruno PO ’15 is a religious studies major with a minor in studio art. She loves to collect vintage clothing and jewelry. 

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