Of all the 90s fashion trends to be revived, why this one? Whether you call it a bum bag or a fanny pack (and neither sounds attractive), this accessory was probably in your wardrobe at one stage and you did actually wear one.
It was functional. It was popular. It was unflattering, but it serve a useful purpose. The problem is that the more useful an item is, the less likely it will stay fashionable.
As bum bags disappeared, armband pockets appeared instead. So did cross-body bags, which were a favourite of mine. Sash-bags came along, too. But despite so many attempts, there hasn’t been any version that’s become timeless, as well as fashionable and functional.
Well, the bum bag is back – flatter and without a belt.
There are a whole host of reasons why the latest hand-free bag will also be a short term trend.
First, it’s still a bum bag. It’s not new or particularly attractive. It’s a small, shiny utility belt. Function will always take priority, which means that will not be able to endlessly adapt to the latest fashion trends. It has to be essentially the same design forever more. It’s difficult to express oneself with a fashion accessory if it will always look like everybody else’s, just in a different colour.
Second, it will always have a limited use. Bags go with everything except exercise. Pouches go with one activity at a time. Heading to the office, then a quick gym class before dinner with the folks requires a few more items in a woman’s toolkit than a pouch can provide.
But the main reason is that the reason it exists is capitalism. We need to be unsatisfied in order to buy something else. If hands-free bags like the pouch become too popular, then suddenly we’ll be flooded with ads telling us that we could be happier if we carried a brush in our bag for unexpected dates or business opportunities. We’d have fewer wrinkles if we drank more water (so we should buy a fancy water bottle). We could be living happily ever after if we’d not been so lazy and we carried things in a real bag, not some silly little pouch like your grandmother had once upon a time.
It sounds like I’m totally bagging out the bum bag, but to tell you the truth I would try this new version. I am lazy. I often go places where a bag just feels like more effort than it’s worth. And most of my jeans have stupidly tiny pockets that won’t fit my phone.
But I wonder how they will make it fashionable outside of joggers and festival fans.