Let’s say it’s 2011 and you have plans to go for a walk in the park with your friend and your perfect Boston terrier puppies.
As you get ready to go, you round up a few things to take with you. You’ll need a few dollars in case (i.e. when) you stop for ice cream. Pooper scooper bags. Your phone. A credit card in case of an emergency (like more ice cream). And a collapsible water bowl for your perfect Boston terrier puppies.
You hunt around for a catch-all to put everything in. A backpack is too big. A pocket (even several of them) is too small. You know exactly what you need but you also know that you would rather die than use it. So you settle for a cross-body purse, dump everything in and head off.
About halfway through your walk, you adjust your cross-body purse because your shoulder is sore. Ten minutes later, you adjust it again. This is a pattern that repeats for the duration of your walk.
Then you get to the ice cream store, and you hunt around for your cash. But you can’t find it for a while because your cross-body purse has a bunch of flaps, zippers and pockets. Yes, these compartments are meant to keep you organized, but there are too many of them for your organizational skills, so you keep forgetting what you put in what. So, while your dogs go nuts, you hunt and dig and people start to wonder if maybe your puppies need to go to puppy school to learn some manners.
With your shoulders sore and your money lost, it’s at this point that you think about that perfect thing that you would rather die than wear. And though you are glad you’re not dying, you are also aware that you sure wish you had that perfect thing with you now holding everything together.
Fast forward 10 years and, baby, it’s a different world. Yes, there a pandemic. Yes, you’re in your 40s now.
But the tides have turned in the fashion world. Along the way, they have dredged up something from the deepest of the deep. You look down, your eyes widen and there it is, rolling in the surf. That perfect thing that you would have rather died than wear is now … back in style.
So you bend down and stare at it. It glistens in return. Because it has rhinestones now. Alexander Wang made it so. And Stella McCartney applauded that move.
And because he did and she did, you bend down. And you pick it up. And you strap it around your waist. And your hands are free. And your shoulders aren’t sore. And it’s not too big and it’s not too small. Instead, it’s just right.
Because it’s possibly the most perfect invention ever made
Last week, I lauded the mom jeans. The week, I tip my hat to the fanny pack.
Or, as it’s been cleverly rebranded, “the belt bag.”
I have been unapologetically wearing one since my dogs have been old enough to go for walks. My sister-in-law Jennie, who is always on trend, introduced me to the idea. My stepdaughter Gabrielle seconded the motion and even bought me a burgundy one several Christmases ago.
And because it truly is a brilliant little bag, I became the kind of person who is fiercely loyal to and defensive of her fanny pack. I’m since been made aware there are others of you out there, so, in a very real way, this column is in honor of you.
As for myself, I’ve even bought a second fanny pack, though admittedly I don’t wear it as often because I consider it more “fancy” and want to “save” it for special occasions. See, it’s black and a little bit shiny, so more appropriate for evening attire.
Through it all, the main thing that has given me pause is how incredibly appalling I used to think fanny packs were. I mean, remember when we used to see that dad wearing his pack and his peach t-shirt and his jorts? Now I wonder where his fanny pack is so I can borrow it.
Isn’t it amazing how fashion can do that to us? It’s like when we look at old pictures of ourselves and assess our old outfits. We cringe and wince and wonder what we were thinking. And, yet, what we were thinking is that we were hot stuff. Because that’s how fashion worked at the time.
Anyway, as for me, I’m going to try to not to be so judgmental of myself and others. If I can fall in love with mom jeans and fanny packs, obviously there is nothing that I can’t get behind. And you never know what trend is right around the corner.
(Please let it be banana clips.)