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Before I set out to write this, I could never have imagined what sort of depraved individual would ever willingly wear a fanny pack besides those horrible ironic American Apparel kids in my Silverlake hood who pair them with shiny gold leggings and Cosby sweaters.
Then my friend Mitra randomly asked me where she could get a chic one to hold dog treats, and I died.
But Mitra is the owner of 2 pretty seriously high-strung dogs, so it’s a matter of life and death for her to have dog treats (a.k.a. good behavior motivators) on hand FAST whenever she is out in public with them. Just yesterday I texted her to see what she was doing and she wrote back, "Sitting in my parked car, hiding from my dogs!"
I get asked to find some pretty stupid shit pretty regularly at work (like a lifejacket for a cat or a small hoodie and baseball cap for a beaver) but a stylish fanny pack just might be the hardest thing I have ever had to hunt down.
Full disclosure: I wear a Le Sportsac fanny pack at work sometimes when I am covering set. Every costumer does, it's sort of an occupational hazard. I always call it my “tool belt” or my “waist pack,” but who am I kidding -- it's a legit fanny pack. Also I think “fanny” means female genitalia in the U.K. I mean, um, look it up.
Until we pass an amendment to the United States Constitution which states that, "All dresses shall be manufactured with pockets," I am gonna need somewhere to put my iPhone and my lip gloss while I'm working, OK? The “belt bag” is a fact of life for some of us.
You know who loves a good fanny pack? Professional wrestlers. There's even a Tumblr dedicated to them. There is just no better validator of a trend in this day and age than Mr. Hulk Hogan, as I'm sure you will agree.
My first instinct was to troll the Barney’s and Neiman’s websites while looking for a bag for Mitra, thinking they would have the ne plus ultra fancy version of Le Pack de Fanny. I personally subscribe to the theory of "If it has a logo on it, it rules." (I am loathe to re-visit PURSEGATE 2012on this, the last day of the year, but it's the truth.)
This is the classic logo “belt bag” by Gucci, available at Neiman Marcus. I could most definitely get behind it, because I am slutty for designer stuff, but I definitely wouldn’t pay $530.00 just to put dog treats in it.
If you are a fanny pack purist, American Apparel is still keepin’ it real, unabashedly pushing the OG fanny pack style. I just don't love the "one giant compartment" style of fanny pack. Part of the bliss in wearing a fanny pack is having neat little divided compartments for all your junk to be sorted and organized. If I want to dig around in a giant, unfettered sea of cat food receipts and lipsticks that have lost their caps, I'll just look inside my own disgusting regular old purse.
I always say that there are no rules in fashion, but there are actually a few guidelines you probably should follow if you want to rock a fanny pack and not end up looking like one of the "People of Wal-Mart" or a NASCAR fan. (I am a sometime Wal-Mart shopper and a lifetime Dale Earnhardt fan, for the record.)
1) Wear it slung low, low, low on your hips, and cocked to the side in front of you.
Never over your actual fanny! Placement is everything. And a fanny pack worn like it's growing out of your fanny is a giant zit on the face of humanity.
This way the pack takes on the feeling of a really cool belt that, OH, HI, just happens to conveniently hold your keys, ID and tampons.
Happy Cow is my favorite spot to find really unique, groovy hip packs. I have given them as gifts to tons of costumers who have worked with me. Happy Cow is based in Australia but they ship worldwide, and I've always gotten everything I ordered from them snap crackle pop, no problems.
2) When in doubt, always bet on black.
I subscribe to the “all black everything” school of thought, especially if we are talking fanny packs. Because a black fanny pack worn with a black dress renders the pack invisible, right? NINJA SUPERPOWERS.
3) Avoid packs that are shiny, sequined, or otherwise "ironic."
Unless you want to look like this idiot tourist:
If you really must be a shiny, glittery fanny packer, you might as well get a vintage 80s one from the queen of NYC street style herself, the legendary Patricia Field.
4) Look for packs that can be worn a bunch of different ways.
The straps on the Fahmnia bag above can be snapped on and off, so it can be worn pretty much any way you can manage to attach it to yourself. Fahmina herself is a Los Angeles based designer who works exclusively with 100% pre-consumer factory leather scraps, making her products 100% green and totally sustainable.
She also makes them with some luscious fringe!
Now that I've written almost 900 words about fuggin' fanny packs, I may actually try wearing one of the dozen I own for work out in public. I am always fretting that there is nowhere to set my giant, expensive handbag down while I'm holding a drink and glad-handing at a party.
I'm on Twitter -- tweet me your fashion questions: @IveyAlison.