Pouch Perfect: Fanny Packs are the New It-Bag

Liv Chai
Fanny packs are a hands-free bag that are coming back into style. Even Kendall Jenner and A$AP Rocky have been toting this trend lately.

Fanny packs once brought to mind Hawaiian shirt-bearing, map-toting tourists, but now they’ve become the new it-bag for celebrities like Kendall Jenner and A$AP Rocky. The small pouches, which traditionally sit above one’s hips, are handy and practical — qualities that usually don’t indicate a fashionable find. The next anti-fashion fashion trend, fanny packs offer a hands-free, care-free and debatably style-free alternative to carrying a handbag.

But let’s appreciate the fanny pack’s history before tearing it apart — or praising its existence. The fanny pack originated in 15th century France and was known as a chateleine. In the 1980s, the accessory became mainstream when Chanel introduced its dainty version of a fanny pack, fashioned with lush leather and classy quilted gold and black straps. After a strut down the runway, the fanny pack became the ultimate dad accessory in the ‘90s. A “Seinfeld” episode showed the trickle-down nature of couture trends when Jerry told George, “It looks like your belt is digesting a small animal.”

Maybe it’s their cool Parisian origin, but fanny packs have always found their way back to runways, display windows and public figures. Whether gracefully placed over the shoulder, classically hugging the waist or maybe even held like a handbag, a fanny pack provides a unique style of storage. It is practical and cute — even chic. The accessory’s various style combinations demonstrate how versatile it can be. From Alexander Wang to the Gucci Dionysus fanny pack — although in its suede and silver snake clasp glory, it exists under the pseudonym “belt bag” — fanny packs have evolved through the ages. But this handy pack’s distinctive style fits perfectly in the wardrobe of any student in New York City, where fashion is worn fearlessly.

Stern freshman Heena Kothari said it best.

“It’s the city, no one cares,” Kothari said.  

But if that’s the case, would students be willing to wear fanny packs outside the comfort of a music festival?

CAS freshman Dalia Karrar is indifferent to them. While she acknowledged that they are portable and efficient, she also said that their reputation for being a dad-fashion statement shouldn’t deter people from embracing the look.

“We all die anyway, no one’s going to remember so don’t be embarrassed and rock them,” Karrar said.

Meanwhile, Stern freshman Cristina Llacer admitted that she would never go out in a fanny pack, but as a fan of rapper Rich Chigga — whose signature look is a dad outfit topped with a fanny pack — she defended the practical pouches.

“Without fanny packs, we wouldn’t have Rich Chigga,” Llacer said.

We are left to wonder whether these tiny, hip-hugging bags deserve the hate — they hold just enough to keep your hands free and relieve you from straps digging into your shoulders. The fanny pack is undeniably ranked with totes, purses and even backpacks with the added bonus of its functionality.

Email Liv Chai at [email protected]

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