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We love a comeback story, especially when it involves something that splits opinion. Case in point: the crossbody bag (aka the bumbag, fanny pack or road man bag). A fixture of 90s style, it’s since been worn largely by tourists and style apathetic types. But, like Lazarus, it’s back.
The bag was first deemed cool (yes, cool) by streetwear fanatics, but has now managed the transition into less trend-obsessed wardrobes, too. So even if you don’t know your Supreme from your Palace, you can still embrace the crossbody bag as a way to lend edge and convenience to your look.
That’s because as well as being suddenly cool, crossbody bags are practical, too. They’re an exponentially more comfortable way to transport your essentials than cramming your keys and wallet in the back pocket of your jeans. They also look style-forward when worn well, which is why we tapped Thread stylist Alice Watt to share the dos and don’ts of wearing this hands-freeing accessory.
Use them practically. “Crossbody bags are as great for dog walks as they are for a festival,” says Alice. “No matter what your age or sense of style, there’s a reason why this will prove to be one of the most useful items in your wardrobe. Go for a larger style if you need it to hold a lot and want to make more of a statement, and opt for a slimmer, sized-down version if you travel lightly.”
Wear them with anything too fitted. “Crossbody bags are best worn with a looser, more relaxed silhouette, which why these tapered trousers works so well,” says Alice. You’ll want to avoid pairing yours with anything too formal, as well. Crossbody bags work significantly better with more casual attire than a suit and tie.
Find one that suits your style. “Your crossbody bag should be suited to your wardrobe and specific needs,” Alice says. “If you’re not a bold dresser and like to avoid standing out, then go for something dark or neutral – a bag in khaki or navy will work well. On the other hand, if you’re really into streetwear, there are countless bright colours to choose from, like pastels or bright red. Embracing statement prints, like a monogram print, will also help you make a stronger impact.”
Overlook styling – it can help make or break your outfit. “There are a few different ways to style crossbody bags,” Alice says. “You can wear them across the front, like a classic bum bag or fanny pack, to optimise on convenience. One of the most popular and carefree ways to wear them are either on top of your attire or underneath as a mid-layer style to add more visual interest. But ultimately, it will look best and be of the most use to you when you wear it the way you find most comfortable.”
Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Lola & Pani
Styling: Alice Watt
Styling assistant: Toby Standing