The Rise and Fall of Bum Bags

How did the once dorky trend go from rags to riches?

Credit: Jennifer Padilla

Bum bags are arguably the most polarising bag in the accessory community. They’ve come a long way from being thrown in the bargain bins at Urban Outfitters.The hands-free bag has been a symbol for dorkiness among tourists and dads for the past several years, but they’re back as brands like Fendi, Zara and Balenciaga showcase the once unfashionable trend on their shelves.

Bum bags date back to the Copper Age when a 5300-year-old frozen human body’s wardrobe was shown to be wearing “belt bags” made of leather and fur. Time magazine’s October 26, 1992 cover story reported the discovery of the human, Otzi the Iceman, wearing “a leather pouch resembling a small version of the ‘fanny packs’ worn by tourists today.” That’s right. People were already sporting the trend, granted it was for a more practical use in hunting and gathering. 

The United Kingdom first coined “bum bag” in the 1950s, but the bag is now more popularly known as a fanny pack. However, it wasn’t until the ‘80s when the trend gained some footing. Bum bags started popping up in its true form: nylon, neon-coloured and purely worn around the waist. They were being sported based on functionality rather than a fashion statement. Around the same time, tourism had significantly risen in popular cities, such as New York and Japan, and bum bags were simply being used for practical travel purposes.

By the ‘90s, the trend had shifted into athleisure wear, with women wearing their Kelly Kapowski biker shorts and fitted crop tops. Not to mention the iconic Dwayne the Rock Johnson outfit back in 1996 of the wrestler sporting a black turtleneck, light wash denim and an ever so tiny black patent bum bag.

Somewhere along the way, bum bags became “dorkier” and “dad like” rather than fashionable.

Fashion writer for the LA based website Good + Well Erin Bunch wrote an article titled: “How to wear a fanny pack without looking like your dad”. She says for a while, the trend was embarrassing to sport. She remembers seeing her mum and dad wearing the bags around their waist on family vacations during the ‘90s.

While the trend still got its bad rap in the media, Karl Lagerfeld created quilted black lambskin fanny packs for Chanel in 1994, while Louis Vuitton also started gracing fanny packs in runway shows. While designers started to join in on the bum bag fad, there was an irony that came with the look.

In her article, Bunch says it was the nylon material and utilitarian use that made the look so dated in the ‘80s, which is why the fad had faded. Bunch changed her opinion though during the early 2000’s, when she saw Carrie Bradshaw wearing a Gucci bum bag with a black crop top and striped skirt on an episode of Sex and the City.

“That was the first time I saw one and thought it was styled pretty cool,” Bunch says.“They came back in 2017 when I wrote that article because ‘it girls’ like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid were starting to wear them.”

Stylist and fashion blogger Jennifer Padilla frequently wears her studded leather Zara bum bag with her street and chic style on her Instagram feed. She remembers when she first saw fashion influencer and Youtuber Brittany Xavier sporting a red blazer and a Fendi bum bag cinched in at the waist. It inspired Padilla to purchase a bum bag of her own. She says as an ‘80s baby, she remembers when bum bags were simply made of nylon, cheesy neon colours and a zipper across the top.

 “I remember even as a kid seeing fanny packs when I was growing up and thinking ‘Oh that’s ugly,’” the stylist said. “I think it’s about how they were styled back then. People would wear them with baggy pants or even overalls with the one strap hanging, but I mean look at all these couture high fashion brands rocking these pieces.”

For Padilla, the trend went from ugly to couture because the materials were evolving as brands such as Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga started showing them in a chicer design in 2015 fashion runways. The other reason she feels the trend has evolved is because more women and men started wearing them across the chest.

Bunch agrees that it all comes down to the way they’re being worn, along with the people who sport fanny packs today.

“I feel like today, trends don’t come in and out of fashion like they used to so intensely. Personal style is dictated through different ways now,” Bunch says. “It used to be strictly the runways that said what was in fashion, and nowadays it’s influencers and social media as well, so there’s so many more voices and style has become a lot more eclectic as a result.”

To see them go from a practical bag to carry sunscreen in to the accessory piece of 2018 is quite a statement. Now fashion buyers seem them in every iteration of brand from Topshop’s neon green bum bag to Nasty Gal’s silver studded black version of the bag. When you see Rihanna sporting a coral-coloured power suit with a matching cinched in fanny pack, it’s hard not to want to rock one too. So here’s to the fanny pack comeback!

How to Rock Your Fanny Pack

Over the Shoulders: People have been sporting their bum bags over the shoulders, and it virtually works with any look. The over the shoulder look is for street wear everyday looks. If you’re keeping it casual with sweatpants, you can keep your look minimalistic with a matching sweatshirt and a bright coloured bum bag. You can also wear it with a simple denim jean and t-shirt for a more low key look. For someone with a more athletic built or pear shape, this is the way to wear it to accentuate the top half of your body.

Keep it Classic: If you’re apple shaped, this will be the most flattering way to wear the bum bag, and it works the best for BBQ’s, amusement parks, or just a fun summer day out. The classic nylon bag is nothing to be ashamed of as you can rock it with distressed jeans and an open bomber jacket for some more edge. You can also wear it more formally if it’s slung over a long floral skirt and an oversized fuzzy jumper.

Cinch it in: If you have an hourglass figure and want to call attention to your waist rather than your hips, try purchasing a bum bag that belts at the waist. This is the sleekest way to rock a bum bag especially if it’s a boxier shape. You can rock it like Rihanna by wearing a satin blazer and smart pair of trousers, or you can keep it more casual with a simple A-line dress.

Special thanks to Jennifer Padilla and Erin Bunch for the interviews and photos for my article! You can follow Jennifer here and Erin here.

The Fosters Fashion

Here’s some more Fosters fashion. I really liked Callie’s striped tee with the red piping, and her distressed pullover. Also, how cute was Mariana’s cat sweatshirt? It’s perfect for lounging around. Most of the clothing was sold out, but Callie’s top can be purchased on Shopbop, and I left the link below her photo.

Also here’s my latest review: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/the-fosters-review-new-york/

T by Alexander Wang Drop Needle Merino Jersey Crop Sweater worn by Maia Mitchell on The Fosters
Callie’s pullover

Truly Madly Deeply Jewel Stripe Ringer Tee worn by Maia Mitchell on The Fosters

Wildfox 'Fox Toile' Graphic Hoodie worn by Cierra Ramirez on The Fosters

Thanks to WornOnTV for the photo and details. Check out the website for more television clothing.

PLL Fashion 7×07

 

There was a won of fashion from the last PLL episode, so here are my thoughts on the fashion. Also, you can check out my review right here: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/pretty-little-liars-season-7-episode-7-review-original-gangsters/

Forever 21 ‘Contemporary Open-Shoulder Top’ – $14.90

I loved this off the shoulder top for Emily. It’s super effortless and I love the choker and loose waves giving an easygoing summer vibe. And this top is super affordable too.

Topshop ‘Embroidered Jacquard Jacket’ – $59.99

This Topshop jacket is super pretty for Aria. I love how architectural this jacket is with its boxy structure.

H&M ‘Merino Wool Sweater’ – no longer available

Yvonne wore a super low key sweater, and I love how casual and cute it is. The sheer front has such a delicate scenery pattern, which I like a lot.

Topshop ‘Striped Hybrid Jumper’ – $80.00

This one piece jumper is very Spencer. It’s classic, simple and Troian always rocks these types of preppy looks.

Zara ‘Patchwork Leather Mini Skirt’ – $69.90

Aria is known for her main staple, which are leather jackets, but she opts for an interesting Zara skirt. I love the patchwork with the different muted colors.

Topshop ‘Gingham Ruffle Shirt’ – $60.00

Hanna surprised me with this textured top. This top has a lot going on with the flowers and the gingham print and the ruffles, but Hanna pairs it with a classic jacket. It made for a fun outfit with a sharp look.

Forever 21 ‘Galaxy Print Athletic Jacket’ – no longer available

So when Emily and Pam were on their run, I noticed how cute this jacket was. It’s sold out, but who knew Forever 21 had such great affordable athletic wear.

Stella McCartney ‘Jeweled Sateen Top’ – $326.00

This jeweled top is super pretty. I love how random the colors and shapes are because the top is so simple. It really works here. Thanks to PLL Closet on Tumblr for the photos and details on the clothing from the episode.

The Fosters Fashion: Callie’s Blouse

Here’s my review on the episode. I’ve been enjoying recapping the show and appreciate anyone who watches to check it out here: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/the-fosters-review-now-for-then/

So Callie wore this really cute top from The Fosters the other day, and I found the details on her Topshop blouse at WornOnTV. What I’m still searching for is Courtney’s romper that she wore from the episode.

Topshop Ladder Stitch Scarf Print Tee worn by Maia Mitchell on The Fosters
Callie’s Top

PLL Fashion 7×05

PLL came back with another solid episode and amazing fashion from the episode. Here’s my review of the episode:https://mytrendingstories.com/article/pretty-little-liars-season-7-episode-5-review-along-comes-mary/

Sandro ‘Chunky Knit Zip Back Cropped Sweater’ – $65.00I loved this Sandro crop top from Spencer. It was very nicely paired with wide legged trousers from Zara. I love how it’s ribbed inward and that it was loosely worn.

Levi’s ‘Striped Roll-Tab Shirt’ – $34.99I was loving Emily’s style in this episode. This slouchy pin striped shirt looked comfy and also a little edgy with Emily’s loose waves and leather pants.

Topshop ‘Chevron Print Mini Skirt’ – no longer available– Aria looked incredible in her Topshop skirt  and her off the shoulder top. It was perfectly worn with her long necklace. She really nailed the sleek look for this episode.

Topshop ‘Oversized Biker Jacket’ – $110.00– This was my favorite piece from the episode because I’ve actually been looking for a leather jacket like this one. She wore it with her cute button down for a classic look.

And a huge thanks to PLL Closet for providing the photos and the awesome work she does finding the details for the clothes.

 

 

The Fosters Fashion: Mariana’s Preppy Look

The Fosters returned last night with a solid episode. Here’s my review: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/the-fosters-review-trust/

 

Topshop Plaid Kilt Miniskirt worn by Cierra Ramirez on The Fosters
Mariana’s skirt

I liked how preppy Mariana’s look was in last night’s episode. It was a nice change from her usual flirty and fun looks. The skirt is super cute, and the Anthropolgie cardigan and collared shirt made it look very put together. I put the link below the picture.

Thanks to WornOnTV for having the details on her skirt, along with the photo provided.

Girl Meets Upstate Fashion

Girl Meets World came back with Girl Meets Upstate, and I really enjoyed the episode. Here’s my review on the episode: https://mytrendingstories.com/article/girl-meets-world-review-shawn-and-maya-find-themselves/

As far as the fashion, even though Riley and Maya wore similar outfits, I liked different pieces more. Here’s what I liked from each of their outfits.

Free People Shrunken Sequin Vest worn by Sabrina Carpenter on Girl Meets World
Free People Vest

For Maya, I really liked this maroon vest. The sequined pattern and velvet is a lot for a vest, but Maya pairs it with a more understated lace up top to balance it out. Sabrina Carpenter always adds a more boho vibe compared to Riley’s more preppy feel with her red lace up top.

Topshop Lace-Up Short Sleeve Crop Top worn by Rowan Blanchard on Girl Meets World
Topshop Lace up Top

Thank you to Worn on TV for having the details and photos for Riley and Maya’s clothes. Check out the website for more television fashion: https://wornontv.net/

The Fosters Fashion

Season 4 of The Fosters kicked off with an intense episode. However, PLL isn’t the only show with awesome fashion on Freeform. I loved Callie’s and Mariana’s outfits in the episode and went to WornOnTV for the details on their clothing.

ASOS High Neck Top With Open Back In Check worn by Maia Mitchell on The Fosters
Callie’s Top

I love how Mariana’s flirty girly style contrasts with Callie’s more conservative and preppy style. I really liked this boxy crop top for Callie, mainly because of the back of the top. It’s a nice surprise, and it’s also on sale for $18 if you want it! I left the link below the photo.

Topshop Eraser Stripe Crop Top worn by Cierra Ramirez on The Fosters
Mariana’s Crop top

I really liked that Mariana wore this crop top with jeans instead  of the skirt for a more casual look. I also love the idea of making a peplum effect with a loose top underneath. Her wedges from Nordstrom were also super cute and tied the outfit together. I’m not a wedge person, but if I were to wear a pair, I’d get these ones.

Tonight’s another intense episode and I’m excited to see what happens next.

 

Pretty Little Liars Fashion Recap

I binged the rest of this season of Pretty Little Liars, so I decided to have a season recap of their fashion. I really love Aria, Hanna and Emily’s styles this season. I also love Spencer but her style is definitely different from my own. I think I have one outfit of hers and it’s a flashback.

Follow PLL Closet on Tumblr. I was able to find the Liar’s outfits here, and I really love her work. She has all the details for their clothing so check it out. http://pllcloset.tumblr.com/

I love this lace shirt. From afar, it looked like a print. She wore this top with short shorts, so I think they balanced each other out. 

Paul & Joe Sister ‘Adagio Top’ – $222.00 (similar)

I’m loving Emily’s style. It’s definitely surprising to see her in dresses and vests once in a while. She’s also wearing a lot of leather. This vest is really cute to wear with dresses or tanks for the spring.

Topshop ‘Sleeveless Faux Leather Biker Jacket’ – $90.00

Even though Hanna was miserable at her shower, I thought she looked glowing in this dress.

Naeem Khan ‘Mixed Lace Strapless Dress’ – no longer available

I love that Emily wore this relaxed little dress. It’s cute, casual and her style has a “girl next door” quality to it, whereas the other girls dress more professionally and elegant.

Equipment ‘Lucida Dress’ in Star Print – $268.00

I’m a huge fan of Rompers, especially the ones with billowing sleeves. It’s very boho chic. 

Chaser ‘Burnout Velvet Romper’ – $198.00

Spencer wore this dress in a flashback, but I loved how unexpected it was. Spencer is so used to looking structured, so it’s nice to see a change.

For Love & Lemons ‘Vika Mini Dress’ – $237.00

This dress is not something  I’d see Aria wearing, but I actually really loved how she looked in it. I love the black overlay on the top. It has a romantic feel so it was appropriate for her parent’s wedding.

Sandro ‘Rozen Dress’ – $510.00

I loved this print. Aria wore mostly prints all season and it really worked for her style. She definitely toned it down from her edgy style in the previous seasons.

Topshop ‘Scarf Print Placement Tee’ – $68.00

PLL Fashion 6×08

I was so glad we got some sort of “gathering,” because it’s always exciting to see the girl’s individual styles through dresses. I’m excited to see their prom dresses next week too. Here were my favorite looks from the episode.

Sidecca ‘Ballerina Print Cami Dress’ – no longer available

I’m so glad Aria wore this adorable dress instead of the gray and white plaid one she showed Emily earlier in the episode. This green dress is more fun.The straps were unique and the pattern is so whimsical and artsy, which is a nice change from Aria’s edgy style.

Zara ‘Gathered Seam Dress’ – $79.90

This dress is very Spencer. It has a very classic feel to its silhouette, but I like that a belt was added. The yellow and green print is also very artsy and fitting for the event.

Topshop ‘D-Ring High Neck Playsuit’ – $95.00

This is one of my favorite necklines. It’s very modern and the white really pops. I love that Hanna wore a leather jacket with this playsuit.

For more PLL Fashion Follow PLLCloset on Tumblr: http://pllcloset.tumblr.com/