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Item of the week: the belt bag

By Rachel Douglass


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Karl Lagerfeld, Ted Baker and Desigual. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

What it is:

The belt bag as a concept has many origin stories. Also known as a ‘fanny pack’, the piece’s first appearance, however, is typically considered to have been about 5,000 years ago and was discovered on the body of a mummified Ötzi. Fast forward to the 80s and, following a string of various uses, it finally became a commercialised product, offering users functionality and, only sometimes, style. It wasn’t until the mid-90s when the look finally became a fashion hit in its own right, bolstered by Karl Lagerfeld, who created his own take on the bag for Chanel.
Timberland. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Why you’ll want it:

The belt bag is a continuation of the outerwear trend, which has seen rising demand post-pandemic as consumers look to stretch their legs and experience the great outdoors. This has naturally had a knock on effect in fashion itself, seeing the fanny pack seep into the luxury category through more refined, elevated iterations for the trend-led consumer who is looking for a stylish yet functional bag type. And its two-way use certainly delivers on these demands, providing an adaptive wardrobe addition that now comes in a wider span of materials, patterns and shapes.
Adidas. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Where we’ve seen it:

As the leather and accessories categories continue to bolster fashion houses’ financials, it is clear that belt bags are among the pieces that designers are banking on to cater to this demand. The likes of Givenchy and Dion Lee adopted the look with multi-layered pockets and zip-up sections, bulking out bags that spanned the wearer’s entire waistline. At Rains and Proenza Schouler, however, styles were more subtle, with minimalist bags attached to a pared down belt. While Craig Green offered up multi-functional, cross-body bags that could also act as belts, Fendi took this concept to the next level. Its wide-set interpretation came in the form of an upscale crafting belt, with hooks and holders for all manners of tools.
Burberry. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

How to style it:

To bring the belt bag into a more fashion-forward arena, pair a leather iteration of the piece with tailored trousers, adding to the waist and therefore utilising both of the bag’s functions. This can be tied together with a loose-fit, short-sleeved shirt and sleek leather shoes for an outfit that can work well both formally and in a more casual setting. If the belt bag comes in a playful print or experimental materials, add it to a streetwear-inspired look, pairing with cargo pants or wide-legged trousers and a printed hoodie or t-shirt, alongside a set of sneakers.
Madewell. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.
Functionality would seemingly take the reins when it comes to the belt bag, however with its increased adoption in designer collections, it is clear that this two-use accessory no longer falls into simply the outerwear category. Despite the sometimes avant garde upgrades, however, the look has sustained its useful purpose and therefore continues to appeal to the masses.
Palladium. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.
Item of the Week