The Story of The Fanny Pack, No Butts About It

Posted by Sherry Borzo on

Sherry Borzo wearing a super fanny pack

Hello, I'm Sherry, the shopkeeper, and mastermind behind Storied Gifts. If you've heard of Storied Gifts, congratulations, you are part of a select group! However, if you're new, have no fear. You can join this elite subset right now. Just read on.

Here at Storied Gifts, our mission is to encourage life storytelling. By telling your stories, we believe you can make sense of the past, embrace the present, and empower yourself to live your life fully into the future. Because, as Socrates says, a life unexamined is a life wasted.

Everything at Storied Gifts Shop is meant to inspire you to live well and tell your life story. We feature history stories, word stories, and compelling thoughts intended to ignite your vision for you.

Everything Has a Story

Everything around you, including the items you wear and use every day, has a story. Sometimes, those seemingly insignificant things harbor a rich and varied past.

We are starting a series called Handpicked Stories to highlight some of the things and subjects that we find fascinating, to share their backstory. Today we begin the series with a look at the history of the humble yet practical fanny pack.

Fanny Pack, Names

In the U.S., a belt on a bag usually goes by the name fanny pack or fanny bag, or sometimes belt bag. The word "pack" seems to reference that we "pack" it with our stuff.

On the other hand, "fanny" is the term here in the U.S., meaning the buttocks. However, over the pond in Britain, "fanny" has another meaning, that part of a woman's anatomy that's not found on the back! So, the Britts call it a bum bag.

a person wearing a large fanny pack

In other countries, the fanny pack goes by a variety of interesting names. The Irish call it a Gee Bag, the Costa Ricans call it a Cangaru, the French refer to it as a Banana Bag, Spaniards say Kidney Bag, and the Italians use Marsupio, which makes a lot of sense given how we often wear them in front.

For English speakers, whether you go with fanny or bum, the intent is that the bag is meant to be worn over the backside. In the 1980s, however, when the fanny pack became particularly popular here in the States, we became walking neon signs as tourists when we carted our stuff like marsupials, with the bag in front for easy access and safety.

Fanny Pack Backstory

For those of you over 40, you would remember the '80's when the fanny packs were all the rage. And not as just as a fashion accessory, they were quite useful. I wore mine constantly because I didn't want to hassle with a purse, and I liked having easy access to my stuff while keeping my hands and arms free.

The 1980s may seem like a long time ago, but the bag on a belt goes even further back in human history. In 1991, Otzi the Iceman, an ancient human,  was discovered on a glacier between the borders of Austria and Italy. This unfortunate hunter froze to death 5,000 years ago and was found perfectly mummified. He was preserved so well due to the climate and the glacier and has become a historical sensation.

Otzi the Iceman

Of the many details Otzi's remains tell us about humans, one item is about the clothing they wore. Otzi's garments included a leather pouch on a belt, thus making the fanny bag at least 5000 years old!

The bag on a belt continued to be an essential accessory for centuries, although it took a back seat when other fashion trends such as the pocket came into use.

But back to the 1980s: as fanny bag sizes increased, fashion leaders and contemporaries disparaged how the bag impacted the human silhouette. Indeed, as the decade wore on, fanny packs became larger, more like a piece of luggage on a belt.

The trendy accessory may have gotten its final fashion blow at the end of the decade, when Weird Al Yankovic made fun of it in his parody White and Nerdy, thus sealing the trend's last gasps for a while.

The Fanny Pack is Back!

But as of 2018, the fanny pack has returned as a fashion piece. However, people are now wearing it not just in front or in the back but also over their shoulder like a carrier bag. The look is urban and youthful, sending out a fashion statement of city-hiker style.

The Super Fanny Pack

Since we have always been fans of the fanny pack, we came up with a design for Storied Gifts Shop. In fact (brag moment here), my son-in-law David, a designer, turned out this dynamic design, splashed with superhero icons. Hence, we've named the bag The Super Fanny Pack.

Super Fanny Pack Photo

The purpose of our design is to inspire you to be the hero of your own story. After all, if you aren't your hero, who will be? Also, with so many D.C. or Marvel enthusiasts out there, we thought the bag was perfectly timed for fans of superheroes, too.

The bag's interior pocket is plenty large so that you can cart around a lot of your stuff. There is also a hidden pocket to keep those things you don't want sloshing around inside. Of course, the bag has a belt with a sturdy clasp at the back for ease of removing the bag as well.

There are two zipper pull tabs along the zipper allowing for easy access.  

But by far, my favorite feature of our Super Fanny Pack is the vibrant design. Since I've worn my bag, I have heard lots of comments about the colors and pattern. And since I wear it as a super urban chick, I'm taking the bold step of wearing it even if I'm dressed up for an outing.

And remember, besides being so practical and appealing, we hope you'll find the bag to be an item that will help inspire you to be the hero of your own story. You can check out The Super Fanny Bag here and our Youtube video below.




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