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What are Belt Bags and How Do You Wear One?

What are Belt Bags and How Do You Wear One?

 The SENREVE woman is multifaceted and she needs a versatile purse that can stick with her through all aspects of her life whether it’s to grab on her way out to get groceries, to clutch at an evening soiree, or to carry all her essentials while on vacation. That’s why, since the very beginning, some of our bestsellers have been the Aria Belt Bag and Coda Belt Bag

It’s not just a belt bag, you can convert it to a crossbody with our chain strap, use it as a clutch, or simply remove the belt and accessorize your outfit. 

Each bag is hand-made with quality Italian leather that’s durable, scratch-resistant, and water-resistant, and the interior is lined with elegantly soft microsuede to keep your essentials snug and safe. 

Read on to learn more about the history of belt bags, the pros and cons, and whether you should get your hands on one for yourself.

History of the Belt Bag

The belt bag has been around since 3400 BCE. This most primitive form of handbag was made of simple leather and was fastened around the waist of Ötzi, aka the Iceman, when his mummified remains were found in the Alps between Austria and Germany. 

In more recent history, the belt bag began to rise in popularity but was not yet a fashion designer favorite in the 1980’s. At this point they were most commonly made of nylon and were synonymous with tourism or other style-challenged individuals--you know, the classic Hawaiian-shirt/denim shorts combo? 

This was the case until Chanel released the first designer fanny pack in 1994. With other designers like Gucci and Louis Vuitton quickly jumping into the fanny pack ring, it was expected that its popularity would climb. But, that wasn’t the case, as the fashion accessory soon became one of irony with vintage flair rather than an actual trend. 

Perhaps surprisingly, in the mid-90s, the bag was actually more commonly utilized by skateboarders, who found the pouch convenient for storing keys and wallets while cruising down the street. This group is also said to be the first to turn the fanny pack into a cross-body bag, as well. 

Fast forward to the early 2000’s, where brands began to once again recreate the fanny pack, but this time with improved functionality and design. 

The belt bag now goes by many names, including fanny pack, waist pack, waist bag, bum bag,  moon bag and belly bag. The more traditional name “fanny pack” comes from British culture, where the pack is more commonly worn at your back, or fanny, rather than in the front as it is in the United States. Consistently through history, you’ve seen the belt bag as a small, fabric pouch, most commonly worn around the midsection, at your belt line. The strap wraps around the body, sitting above the hips. Belt bags now come in a variety of colors, materials, and styles ranging from the contemporary faux fur or black leather belt bag, to a more retro denim, to even more retro leopard print, making the styling of a belt bag look easy to personalize based on the occasion, time of year, and even your carrying needs. 

Take our SENREVE belt bags for example. We've designed them with the modern-day woman in mind, who needs an accessory that can take her from the work day to happy hour while reflecting her own personal, timeless style.

How Do You Wear One?

A staple of the 1990’s, the belt bag has been resurrected and updated to meet the style demands of modern times. A trending fascination and nostalgia with all things 90’s street style is the main culprit catapulting their comeback. The best part? Not only do belt bags carry a trendy, retro vibe, they also offer hands-free utility and convenience, keeping all of your items easily accessible and protected. There are now so many styles of belt bags that, no matter the activity, there is certainly a style to fit the occasion.

Pros and Cons of Belt Bag

Pros: 

  • It’s easy to wear. Once you put the bag on, it requires little adjustment throughout the day. Our SENREVE leather and chain straps are all completely adjustable. If you're wearing it crossbody, you can adjust it close to the chest, or hanging off the hip -- whatever works best with your outfit!
  • It’s convenient. What’s better than carrying a purse with all of your important items? Carrying those items in a hands-free, easy access fanny pack. 
  • They are safe. Wearing a belt bag at the front of your body is a great way to keep personal items close to you at all times while making you less susceptible to pick-pocketing or purse hijacking, especially when traveling in high traffic areas where you can easily tuck that belt bag under a sweatshirt for even more security. 
  • They offer enormous flexibility. With myriad design, color, style, materials, adjustability, and even functionality, there is a belt bag for all fashionistas and for every occasion throughout all times of the year. They can even be carried like handbags or slung like a shoulder bag! Our SENREVE belt bags have the added versatility of removing the leather strap completely, so now you can have a clutch and a leather belt!"

Cons:

  • They can become heavy, causing lower back pain. Depending on what you’re carrying in your belt bag, the weight can become uncomfortable after long periods of wear, straining your lower back. The best way to use a belt bag is to keep it light and only include important items. If you must carry more, we recommend wearing the belt bag in a different style like a shoulder bag, which is where SENREVE bags shine with the ability to transform as you need them to. SENREVE bags have extendable straps that allow you to wear it crossbody or over-the-shoulder for when you have a little extra cargo.
  • They are almost ubiquitously trendy, but not quite. Not everyone has caught onto the nostalgia train of resurrecting the1990’s. That said, if you do choose to wear a belt bag, you may risk running into the occasional commentary of impersonating a 1990’s fitness instructor, which is why SENREVE’s belt bags are made with timelessness in mind, giving you the classic belt bag look with a modern sophistication. Coming in a variety of colors, some of our customer favorites are the classic Noir and Chestnut colors, so you can’t go wrong there. If you want to be daring and trendy (and risk commentary of impersonating a 90s fitness instructor), go for the Fuchsia or Lemon!
  • Unless you are buying a higher-end belt bag, you’ll find yourself with something cheaper and less sustainable. This means they can wear out quickly, or worse, tear or rip during use, but our SENREVE belt bags are made with quality Italian craftsmanship, and the Italian factories we work with have a diligent quality control process to ensure the bag you receive is ready for whatever life throws your way. Our leather is scratch- and water-resistant, so take it out wherever you go!

Ways to Wear a Belt Bag

1. More traditionally: around the waist, with the pocket casually off-center in the front, is the most common way to wear a belt bag. This is an easy look and works for a night out or for a quick trip to the grocery store. It’s chic and can add an extra layer of sophistication and style. 
2. Also common: around the waist, but with the pouch facing the back, instead. Some fanny packs come equipped with more storage space and even water bottle holders, making them perfect for a hike or long walk when a larger bag isn’t necessary.  
3. For a more relaxed, casual look, try throwing it over your shoulder instead. Most belt bags come with adjustable straps, making it easy to lengthen and throw over your shoulder where it can double as a regular purse. 
4. As a crossbody bag on your back. Same as the over-the-shoulder look--lengthen the strap, but then buckle the belt bag diagonally across your body, with the pouch resting on the middle of your back. This look is perfect for jogging or paired with your favorite Sunday athleisure. 
5. As a clutch. Bonus: Our SENREVE bags allow you to remove the belt fully, so you consider it a new belt addition to your wardrobe too!

      For more inspiration, considering these fanny pack pairing ideas: 

      • As a wrap for a long trench coat placed a little higher at the waistline
      • As a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Match your color pop based on the season. Choose yellows or greens for the summer and reds or blues during fall. 
      • As a sleek, crossbody bag to pair with your blazer or turtleneck when you step out for lunch. This is especially useful if you are used to carrying a larger computer bag. 
      • As the final touch to your jumpsuit. Use this opportunity to play with colors and patterns. Remember - not everything has to “match” perfectly! 
      • As a crossbody bag with your weekend athletic wear. You’ll love how hands-free walking to brunch is when you aren’t carrying a wallet or purse 

      But, don’t let this list limit your style! Use the fanny pack however you want to maximize it for personalization or utility. Keep in mind that flexibility means the belt bag can be used for everything from hiking to nights out.

      Who are Belt Bags Good for?

      It might sound cliché, but belt-bags really are good for everyone and anyone who is looking for a convenient, hands-free way to carry any important items, ranging from your wallet and keys, to your face mask and hand sanitizer. 

      Truly, the fanny pack can become whatever you need it to be. Whether you need some extra storage or you’re looking to make a bold statement, there is most certainly a SENREVE color, style, and design that will fit your need. 

      When selecting the belt bag that’s right for you, be sure to keep in mind what you’ll be using the pack for. Is it meant for a night out? Or to create some extra carrying space on your next hike? In this case, leather would be a better look for a night out, whereas nylon or another easily flexible material would be best for hiking. Although, you might be surprised - we love to bring our belt bag out on our hiking trips! 

      Similarly, it’s important to keep the size of the belt bag in mind. Some offer a smaller, sleeker design that lays flatter against the waist and hips, where others come with larger pouches for carrying larger items. Double-check the size before you purchase, and if in-store shopping is an option, always try the belt-bag on before you buy! 

      If you have any questions, our SENREVE customer service team is always available to help you, whether you’re shopping online or you have a chance to visit us in-store or at a pop-up location.

      Final Verdict: Should You Get a Belt Bag?

      The low-maintenance, functional design of the belt-bag is reason enough for us to say that everyone should own one. But if that isn’t enough for you, consider how hip you will look rocking an accessory that dates back to 5000 BCE. In our opinion, the once uncool fanny pack has made a bold, well-deserved comeback.

      Shop SENREVE belt bags here and find the perfect one for you.

      Sources: 

      1. https://garage.vice.com/en_us/article/pa5d8g/fanny-packs-history

      2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_pack

      3. https://glowsly.com/fanny-packs-fashion-trend



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