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How to Wear a Belt Bag Properly

Wearing belt bags is a bit tricky as it can make or break one's outfit. Here are the various ways on how to wear a belt bag properly and how it should be matched with the right ensemble.

Woman wearing a black belt bag.

I can’t say out loud what I am feeling right now. Belt bags? That’s what they’re calling “fanny packs” (or hip sack) nowadays? It makes me laugh. I do appreciate, however, any opportunity to incorporate them into my wardrobe if I could find a way to make them look right.

3 Ways to Wear Belt Bags

Adjustable brown leather belt bag

From my perspective, the way people wear belt bags strikes me as “ridiculous.” I get the concept, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference to me if you wear them in these three recommended ways or not. I thought they’re made for just wearing around the waist, not other parts of the body. That’s why.

Even the ones worn around the waist appalled me for as long as I can remember. I even experimented with making my own because I can’t stand the way most belt bags look – no matter how you wear them. To me, wearing them around the waist is the only way to wear them, but how exactly?

Since I’m not the only one here, I figure I also have to present additional options. Apparently, belt bags are worn in other places than around the waist, but I start with wearing them around the waist.

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1. Around your Waist

Women's Number Six Belt Bag - Camel

Source: Lyst

I found a new twist on the belt back that’s much different from what I remember. It offers me hope after what I grew up with in the 1980s and 1990s. A rounded, streamlined version of what I used to wear around the waist complements a figure more than what I used to wear. It’s made from leather or leather-like materials and may even work with some semi-formal or business outfits.

I appreciate this new belt bag style because it doesn’t make me want to gag, unlike what I’ve normally seen worn around the waist.

Around the waist is probably the most common way to wear a belt bag, by the way. Therefore, it’s best to find the most comfortable but stylish way to apply them to an outfit. This round bang versus the standard, cumbersome fabric bag I’m used to may just “do the trick.”

2. Cross-Body

Excursion Waistbag

Source: Athleta

I don’t understand the point of wearing a belt bag across the body that you’d normally wear around your waist. However, it’s an option if you want to keep your hands free. It also could keep the bag more secure since someone can’t easily snatch it away from you if worn from one shoulder to the other.

Why I don’t understand the point of wearing a belt bag across the body, however, is because many handbags already have a long enough strap for that. Still, it can work for fashion in certain instances, and maybe it does appeal to people because it doesn’t have as large of a bag as standard shoulder bags.

3. As a Shoulder Bag

Keys Sling Bag

Source: Athleta

Using a belt bag as a shoulder bag also baffles me. I still don’t get why anyone would do this, but I have to respect people’s differences. See, I would just buy a handbag with a large enough strap and a small enough bag on it. That would perform the same function as using a belt bag as a shoulder bag — to everyone their own preferences though.

I do see some advantages of using a belt bag as a shoulder bag, however. Maybe you don’t want the bulk of a regular handbag but still need somewhere to put the most important belongings you want to carry with you. Plus, you can do whatever you want with your hands while you walk, work, talk on the phone, text and more.

Real Life Belt Bag Wearing Examples

Woman in black suit and pants wearing belt bag.

“You get extra style and extra storage. Who doesn’t love that?”

That’s a quote from actress Asia Jackson.

I don’t agree with all her styling choices, however. She offers some of the most unappealing options for how to wear belt bags. I can’t believe people would wrap them around a suit jacket, for instance. What are people thinking?

Jackson features a mini-checked/plaid blazer worn over the top of skin-tight biker shorts. That works, but why the belt bag over a suit jacket? That’s not something I’ve EVER seen done since before, and I’ve been studying suit styles that showed up in the early 1900s to the present.

At least Jackson does a little better when choosing the same belt bag with the gold detail in the next scene. This same carrying case looks better, in my opinion, with a black top and jeans instead of a suit or or other formal outfit.

My Take On the Belt Bag

Chanel Belt Bag - Grained Calfskin & Gold-Tone Metal

Source: Chanel

It’s not appropriate unless its style matches the occasion. If you’re wearing formal attire, you need a belt bag that has the fancy “clutch” appeal but the convenience of waist wearing.