How to Wear a Fanny Pack

I’m well aware that fanny packs have a controversial past. Considered cheugy by many trendsetters, most have considered that waist-buckle bags were a dying fad. 

In the beginning, they were associated with mom and dad fashion. It’s synonymous with garage sale cashiers, Hawaiian shirt tourism, and 1998 Toyota Siennas. In short, the fanny pack was intrinsic to retro culture but never in a glamorous way. 

Since fashion has the power to revive specific trends, it should be no surprise that fanny packs are making a comeback. Y2K and ’90s style is in full-force this season, so you should expect an onslaught of cheesy crazes. 

From bucket hats to brightly colored sweater vests, the controversial FP is no exception. If you’re one to follow fads, you’re probably wondering how to wear a fanny pack. 

It’s time to indulge in some late 80s and 90s glory. Here, we’ll show you how to wear a fanny pack using 10 different outfit ideas. From Princess Diana-inspired looks to avant-garde streetwear, you can take care knowing that each OOTD is refreshingly new. 

What is a Fanny Pack?

In short, a fanny pack is a type of bag. Compared to the traditional crossbody and clutch, this style of purse comes with a waist belt for hands-free carrying. Of course, some trendsetters opt to fashion their FPs like a one-shoulder backpack. 

It usually features an oval or trapezoid-shaped exterior. They’re commonly worn as a more comfortable alternative, as fanny packs aren’t known to alter your posture. 

History of Fanny Packs

Despite its cheugy association, fanny packs are considered one of the oldest accessories in history. Some experts state that waist-belt bags were first worn 5,000 years ago in 3400 to 3100 BC. Ötzi, or most canonically known as Iceman, fashioned a leather FP to hold tools and food. 

Beyond the prehistoric age, civilizations located in Egypt and Scotland adopted this style of purse. Naturally, it would undergo many reinventions and names—such as the chatelaine bag sported in the Victorian and Middle ages. Wow, with a rich history like that, I feel like we owe a fanny pack an overdue apology. 

Of course, some historians would scoff at the idea that the fanny pack was invented thousands of years ago. Most attribute the true FP to Melba Stone, an Australian woman who created the first bumbag in 1962. Nevertheless, the purse continued to skyrocket in popularity, as European skiers, tourists, and party-goers alike sported this waist-belt purse. 

Unfortunately, fashion has a way of severing certain trends, as the fanny pack was deemed out-of-style during the 2000s and 2010s. With that being said, we’re seeing a resurgence of FPs worn by several celebrities and influencers. 

When to Wear a Fanny Pack

Before we teach you how to wear a fanny pack, it’s best to address when it’s appropriate to fashion them. The traditional FP is part of casual wear, as they’re usually worn with jeans, loungewear sets, and crop tops. Obviously, there’s no such thing as a fancy fanny pack outfit. You can’t pair a full-length ball gown or a tuxedo suit with a waist-belt bag. 

You can definitely wear them to brunch spots, park walks, and casual dates. Like most purses, fanny packs are designed to be seasonless, as you’re free to wear them from winter to summer. 

How to Wear a Fanny Pack

Fanny packs require a bit of styling know-how. There’s a fine line between retro finesse and vintage cheese. Of course, it’s fine if you want to cop that Prince of Bel-Air aesthetic, but I’m assuming that you’re looking for a modern-day equivalent.

For those in need of some OOTD inspo, we’ll show you how to wear a fanny pack by showcasing 10 outfit ideas. 

10 Outfit Ideas with Fanny Packs

The fanny pack will forever be synonymous with lazy-day fashion. It’s the go-to look for those who can’t be bothered to flex their Gucci or Chanel. Obviously, the best way to imbue that ‘ugh, whatever’ vibe is to opt for a loungewear set. 

Seemingly inspired by Princess Diana, this super cozy fanny pack style outfit features a monochrome ensemble. It comes with an oversized cropped sweater and matching elasticated shorts. We recommend topping the look off with a baseball cap and chunky white sneakers. 

Looking for a pop of color? If so, why not make the fanny pack your statement piece? For instance, this stylish outfit comes with light wash denim, a sheer cropped turtleneck, a brown trenchcoat, and a bright red Supreme FP on the front. 

It’s definitely a more subtle version than the hypebeast aesthetic, as this OOTD only features one branded garment. If you’re wondering how to wear a fanny pack crossbody, this is how to do it. 

While we’re on the topic of Supreme, this menswear outfit offers a darker take on the Hypebeast look. The all-black ensemble creates a sort of background for the bright red fanny pack. 

Thankfully, it’s not just a plain sheet of charcoal, as the outfit plays around with different textures, patterns, and hues. For instance, the oversized hoodie imbues a matte shade, while the pinstripe pants do wonders in adding contrast. It’s a great look to consider if you’re on the hunt for mens fanny pack fashion. 

In the mood for something more dapper? If so, this stunning outfit is reminiscent of vintage bookstores, cobblestone streets, and local coffee shops. The brown button-down jacket and the cream-colored pants help to imbue those earthy tones. 

The black fanny pack, the hat, and the matching pair of shoes work seamlessly to tie the whole outfit together. Without it, the OOTD would be a mismatched set of clay hues. This is the ideal “how to wear a fanny pack” guy’s outfit. 

Grunge, edgy, and Sk8ter Boi chic, this male fanny pack ensemble hits all the right notes when it comes to alternative fashion. This outfit features a striped long sleeve, a black graphic tee, and a pair of distressed jeans. 

The bright red shoes paired with the green FP help to add some color to the final look. I’m pretty sure that the rouge headphones were an afterthought. Regardless, it blends well with the rest of the OOTD. 

Backpacks are rarely seen at fashion week. With that being said, you still need a durable way to hold your necessities. Instead of opting for just one fanny pack, why not add a utility belt? This semi-controversial fit is slightly utilitarian in design, as it features an exaggerated olive blazer, denim cargo pants, and silver heeled booties. 

The number of bags helps to add some visual interest. Plus, they’re highly practical for storing your phone, wallet, and other types of valuables. This is how to wear a fanny pack for those looking to make a statement. 

If you can’t figure out how to wear a fanny pack across your chest, we suggest opting for the good ol’ waist method instead. This bright red FP acts as a signature belt when paired with a black hoodie and a bright pink ruffled skirt. 

If anything, this OOTD is considered a transition between loungewear and maximalism: two core aesthetics at opposite sides of the fashion spectrum. The fanny pack works to marry the two styles together. Without it, the outfit runs this risk of looking cheugy. 

For those plugging ‘girls how to wear a fanny pack’ into the Google search engine, I’m sure that one out of 10 outfits will feature a classic jumpsuit. This outfit is no exception, as it showcases a relaxed silhouette speckled with dainty stars. 

Built with front pockets, wide-legged bottoms, and an open-collar, this OOTD is exclusively reserved for when you’re feeling extra. Of course, the bright pink fanny pack helps to embody that whimsical vibe offered by the print. 

The best way to get some style inspo is to see how celebrities are wearing them. In this paparazzi pic, ASAP Rocky is ‘rocking’ an orange fleece zip-up, a bright red puffer, matching pants, and a Balenciaga male fanny pack.

It’s all about color coordination here, as this outfit plays around with vibrant warm hues. The black accents provided by the sweatshirt and the coat help bolden the ensemble. For shoes, we suggest swapping your regular pair of black sneakers with white shoes instead. 

This outfit is giving me subtle Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson vibes due to the turtleneck—but in a cool, retro way. Layered with a collared pink-button up and black pants, this classy ensemble can help you look like an international hipster student. 

It’s a more subtle way of how to wear a fanny pack, as the bag seems to blend with the trousers. With that being said, the white accents offered by the showers and the brand logo help to brighten up the dark hues. 

What Type of Fanny Packs Can You Get?

The traditional fanny pack will always feature a bum-bag design with a strap attachment. But, if you’re looking to jazz things up a little, there are hundreds of unique designs to choose from. 

For instance, there’s the iconic Supreme FP and the bulky Balenciaga carry-on. Of course, you don’t have to opt for the designer approach, but it’s something to consider if you’re looking to make a statement. 

To help our readers figure out how to wear a fanny pack, we thought it best to feature some common styles that are trending this season:

  • Hypebeast: This includes Supreme, Yeezy, and Off White. If you’re looking to flex on your ex, we recommend a branded fanny pack. 
  • Leather bags: In the mood for something more elegant? If so, leather can help imbue that sophisticated vibe. We suggest investing in a Gucci or a Chanel fanny pack. 
  • Multicolor: Given that fanny packs were all the rage in the 90s, it should be no surprise that many FPs are designed with retro colors.
  • Monochrome: Considered the go-to option for many trendsetters, one-color fanny packs help to mitigate outfit clashing. Naturally, most fashionistas prefer blacks, whites, and creams. 
  • Oval or square shapes: Most attribute the traditional fanny pack to the trapezoid bag. Nowadays, influencers are fashioning ‘avant-garde’ silhouettes to stay ahead of the fashion game. 

How to Choose The Best Fanny Pack

Most bags bear the grunt of everyday living. They’re the first to show wear and tear by scuff marks, loose stitching, and signs of stretching. With that being said, it’s a definite red flag if defects start to show in the first three days. 

Disposable fashion is so yesterday—which is why it’s important to settle for a durable, timeless design that’ll stay in your closet forever. This requires judging a fanny pack based on three criteria: price, quality, and material. 

A good fanny pack should be made out of leather, canvas, and cotton. Oftentimes, some brands will offer synthetic fabrics such as PU leather and polyester. They aren’t necessarily bad fabrics, but it doesn’t provide that same sumptuous feel that genuine textiles have. 

FPs should be thick in construction, as thin knock-offs are in danger of seam rips and holes. Integrated features are essential as well. A high-quality fanny pack should come with pockets, zippers, and an adjustable buckle. 

Depending on the material and brand, a fanny pack can retail from $10 to $1,000. Obviously, it’s important to account for your budget and how often you’ll wear it. 

How to Style a Fanny Pack

So, have you figured out how to wear a fanny pack? If not, no worries. Compared to the average crossbody bag and clutch, the traditional FP requires a certain level of creativity to style. We’ll share some fashion tips for readers to consider. 

  • The waist look: the common way to wear a fanny pack is to attach it like a belt. Aside from additional accessorizing, this styling tip can also accentuate your waist. 
  • The crossbody look: Not a fan of carrying things around your waist? Try the crossbody approach instead. This involves slinging your FP like a one-shoulder knapsack. You can opt to wear it on the front or back. 
  • The utility belt: Fanny packs and utility belts work as well as butter and bread. It’s a great look to consider if you’re a fan of utilitarian or techwear designs. 
  • High-waisted silhouettes: This includes jeans, shorts, joggers, and skirts. For those who choose to wear their fanny packs on their waist, we suggest wearing ribcage silhouettes to provide the illusion of longer legs. 
  • Graphic tees: FPs are intrinsic to skater culture. Obviously, the easiest way to answer the ‘how to wear a fanny pack’ question is to wear a printed shirt. 

Fashion Tips to Avoid With a Fanny Pack

For those who finally determined how to wear a fanny pack, it’s time to address some fashion faux pas. Believe me, there’s a reason why FPs were considered cheugy decades ago—and it’s because of these styling sins. If you want to avoid looking like a 90s dad, here are some tips to avoid:

  • Low-waisted pants: Believe me, nothing’s uglier than pairing your fanny pack with low-waisted jeans. This bodes especially true for those who want to wear their FPs like a belt. 
  • Untucked t-shirts or pants: If you choose to wear your fanny pack on the waist, do yourself a favor and French-tuck your top. Failure to do so will offer a strange illusion of a super long torso.
  • Fanny packs with odd gimmicks and designs: You should stay away from cringy quotes, bedazzled sequins, and food-shaped FPs, trust me. 
  • Dad cargo shorts: Nothing screams backyard barbeque than a pair of khaki bottoms with a fanny pack. Bonus points if you wear a baseball cap and a collared shirt as well.
  • Formalwear: we covered this in a previous segment, but we urge you—don’t top your prom look with a fanny pack.

How To Take Care Of a Fanny Pack

Compared to a Hermes Birkin, fanny packs shouldn’t involve a high level of care of maintenance—right? It’s a 50/50 answer, as you still need to clean and store your FPs properly. 

Professional help is often unneeded with these types of bags, but again, designer purses usually require insider expertise. For those who can’t be bothered to visit their local cleaner, here are some ways to take care of their fanny pack at home. 

  • Remove surface-level debris with a brush: You can accomplish this with horsehair bristles, a toothbrush, or a microfiber cloth. 
  • Stay away from water: Like all bags, fanny packs can easily get damaged during thunderstorms and blizzards. 
  • Handwash: Most fanny packs aren’t machine-friendly. In this case, it’s best to use lukewarm water and mild detergent to help clean your bag. 
  • Air dry: Throwing your fanny pack in the dryer machine increases the risk of shrinking.
  • Use conditioner for leather-based fanny packs: To maintain the shine and softness of your fanny pack, it’s important to rub down your bag with a quality shoe conditioner. 

Best Places to Buy Fanny Packs

Once you know how to wear a fanny pack, it’s time to go out and buy one. Below, we’ll share some reputable stores to shop at:

  • Zumiez 
  • Lululemon 
  • Herschel
  • Patagonia 
  • Supreme 
  • Balenciaga 
  • Nordstrom 

Final Thoughts

There’s a good chance that fanny packs will become a passing trend. Who knows? Maybe in the future years, they’ll be deemed ugly again. But, for the time being, take this as an opportunity to dive head-first in the FP fad. 

There’s something about its cheesy, retro vibe that speaks to this generation. If anything, the fanny pack reminds us of the good ol’ days: a pre-COVID time where all we cared about was MTV culture. 

Hopefully, you’re one step closer to figuring out how to wear a fanny pack. From biker shorts to high-waisted denim, there’s certainly no shortage of looks to choose from. 

More fashion inspo is just around the corner. Check out some of our other articles:

How To Wear A Watch

How To Wear A Thong

How To Wear A Square Scarf

How To Wear A Blanket Scarf

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