4 Easy Ways To Make Bum Bags Look Cool

Photographed by Natalia Mantini. Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Whenever I need styling inspiration (usually at the start of a new season), I tend to scroll through the pages of my favourite online shops, searching for ideas. By now, I've found that all it takes is half an hour of examining the models at Zara and Urban Outfitters to walk away with an entire month's worth of ideas for how to dress beyond my usual T-shirt-and-jeans. This time around, one particular accessory seems to be vying for my attention: the bum bag. And surprisingly, I don't hate it.
I know this is probably the 18th time since 2010 that fashion has tried to make the bum bag happen — and, let's be honest: most of the time, the trend falls flat. Sure, there are the obvious benefits of a bag you wear around your waist: Your hands are completely free, your belongings are safe and sitting close to your body, and (if you're lucky) it might even hold up a pair of pants that are slightly too big. But, because of how they're being styled on my go-to e-commerce sites, I've started to see bum bags in a new light.
When you look at the bum bag beyond something that can only be worn strapped high and tight across the waist with a pair of khaki Bermuda shorts and a polo, you realise that they can actually look cool — especially with this year's obsession with streetwear and vintage-inspired wares. Since I'm always going for some element of the unexpected with my day-to-day looks, wearing bum bag strapped crossbody-style over a top that might've felt boring otherwise has proved to be the easiest way to add a splash of surprise (plus, it means I can successfully juggle headphones and a shopping bag in one hand, and a mobile phone and coffee in the other). Look at it as that magical third piece that ties your outfit together — just don't forget: It's still a bum bag, for goodness' sake, so don't take it too seriously, either.
Allow me to show you how to wear 'em, using four of my favourite takes on the market right now. You may just be convinced to leave your heavy shoulder bag at home and travel a bit lighter this summer — I know I will be.

More from Styling Tips

R29 Original Series