Belt Bags - Love them or hate them?

September 5, 2019

Belt bags are back in style and while I think they look cute on many women, I have never worn one and never will. However... my mom liked them back in the days my siblings and I were in middle/hs sports and I think she'd find one useful again now. She has fibromyalgia and arthritis and generally a number of pains that make carrying a purse difficult for her. She's been using a small crossbody that works many days but can still cause her some pain some days.

I purchased a coach belt bag that I am hoping she'll find useful-- it's big enough for her phone, wallet, keys and a small notepad. I guess what I am questioning most is the color-- she doesn't wear black as a primary color as I do and she loves deep blue, fuchsia and purple colors (and they look great with her coloring/white hair). The bag I got is a little more red than I was expecting but still a good color for her and I think it will go well with all her other colors. I am just wondering if I should try to get a more neutral color instead.

Please let me know what you think of belt bags in general-- and the color specifically.

Comments (37)

  • Funkyart

    I should add that she hasn't had to use her cane much in the last few months but there are times she uses a cane. That was part of the motivation for a "hands free" bag.

  • maddielee

    Belt bags are fine. For other people. (I would find them hard to get things in and out of. )

    The one you picked is very cute.

    Funkyart thanked maddielee
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  • eld6161

    Ah, the fanny pack! I was never a fan, but my sister and a good friend have used them for years.

    The ones I am used to seeing are quite a bit smaller.

    The one you pictured almost loos like a small purse, so it could hold quite a bit.

    Funkyart thanked eld6161
  • Funkyart

    It isn’t purse big — but there is room for essentials. That said — mom is tiny. 5’2 at her prime but I am guessing 5’now. maybe I should look for something smaller.

  • graywings123

    I love them for their practicality.

    Funkyart thanked graywings123
  • Sheeisback GW

    Nah that’s fannnnny pack!

    My sister absolutely loves them and was thrilled when they started to become popular again. I like them but it’s just one of those things I can’t see myself using. Not because I don’t like it but because it’s not really me. Random example, I like boho but feel like a clown wearing it type thing.

    I think the one you picked looks very nice and I like the color.

    Funkyart thanked Sheeisback GW
  • 3katz4me

    Pretty color especially if your mum likes that color. Never cared for fanny packs and still don't. For functionality a small cross body works well for me. It's funny how something that many came to abhor can become popular again with herd mentality and another generation I guess.

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  • Bluebell66

    I like them. I have been wearing one for a few years when I walk outside. My summer workout clothes don’t have pockets, so a waist bag carries my lip balm, house key and cell phone. I also like them to carry a few things I need easy access to when I travel. (I don’t care for crossbody bags.)

    Funkyart thanked Bluebell66
  • IdaClaire

    Belt bags? Everything old becomes new again, I suppose! That IS a "fanny pack" rebranded, but I actually kinda like the one in the photo - especially the color. I don't know that I would actually WEAR it, but it's a vast improvement over the big, bulky things of the past. I do have a little Kavu pouch that is a very small, slim "belt bag" that I wear to keep my phone in for easy access while hiking. Other than that, I'd be more inclined to do a small crossbody if I needed to keep a bag closely worn on me, but I do see how the belt bag as pictured would be very handy for someone who is mobility impaired or has other issues that make carrying something difficult. It's good to have options.

    ETA: Here's the Kavu Hideaway, which is what I have. It's actually thin enough to be worn under a shirt if desired. It has two zippered pockets. Holds my Samsung S8 in one, license, credit card, key, lip balm, whatever in the other.

    Funkyart thanked IdaClaire
  • Sueb20

    If you’re gonna wear a fanny pack, I say go for the fun color.

    I just started using a tiny one to put my phone in when I go for a walk. Not sure why I carried my phone (which is my music source) in my hand for so long before finding this handy little device!

    Funkyart thanked Sueb20
  • yeonassky

    Mine isn't really a belt bag it's more like a money belt. I use it all the time to walk the dogs with. I put my ID and my cell phone in when I wear pants with no pockets and just a t-shirt and it usually is under my top. I love it.

    Funkyart thanked yeonassky
  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    I think the bag is cute and can see it being very useful. I too love the color and think it announces "yes, here's my things, I'm not trying to hide them so don't try to take them!" I'm guessing the profile is flatter than perhaps it looks so that it looks less like a purse on your waist. This appears like it would be easy to wear under a jacket or coat.

    Funkyart thanked RNmomof2 zone 5
  • cd7733

    How are her hands? Will she be able to unlatch the belt part easily? It may be difficult and be a hassle for using the restroom. Would a wristlet work? Or is that too small?

    Funkyart thanked cd7733
  • OutsidePlaying

    I think they are fine, especially for your Mom’s situation and when they are so stylish. Or functional. I use Spibelts when running or walking all the time. I love that they are stretchy and can accommodate my phone, key fob, gel or snack for a long run and even more if I need it to do so. They fit against the body and don’t bounce.

    Funkyart thanked OutsidePlaying
  • whatsayyou18

    I love the idea of any of the colors you mentioned.

    I purchased a leather belt bag for international travel and used it for the first time a couple of months ago. It was perfect for easy reach of the essentials, such as passport, ID, money, lipgloss (yes, an essential!), phone, etc. It wasn't considered a personal item on our flights and in crowded area such as cities I felt much safer having those items at my waist rather than in a cross body bag, purse or backpack and, again, within easy reach. These new belt bags are so much more attractive than the old fabric fanny packs! I was hesitant to purchase one but am glad I did.

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  • Funkyart

    It IS thinner than it appears but it does hold more than the very thin ones that basically hold a key and a card — for it to work for her, it must. Good point regarding her hand functionality. She does have some issues so the zipper needs to work easily. I’ll give it a try.

    A wristlet isn’t a great solution because of the potential need for a cane (more likely in the colder months). I am focused on a hands-free style.

    I am also looking for a light crossbody. I just got a new hobo brand crossbody that is very light. mine is not a good style for her but ill check out others... but when full it will still be weight on her shoulders.

    Thanks for the ideas and feedback!

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    Maybe a belt (or crossbody) bag that has a snapped/magnetic flap rather than a zipper?

    But then, what about the issue of buckling/unbuckling a belt...?

    Funkyart thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • cd7733

    Look for a cross body with a wider strap made out of soft material. I have bad shoulders and find an inch or thicker fabric straps are more comfortable for longer periods. The ones with a thin leather strap hurt, and I have one with a braided strap that isn't kind also.

    Great job helping your mother! Taking the time to figure out what works best for her is so wonderful. I wish you the best!

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  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

    I walk a lot and 2 days ago decided while walking with a bottle of water, keys, collapsible dog bowl, phone all stuffed in my short pockets and of course, dog on a leash, to get a fanny pack. A fanny pack will never be a domestic engineer! Gonna keep it athletic looking, no Brahmin here lol

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  • maire_cate

    Some companies are selling combination crossbody, shoulder, and belt bags. At least it gives you the option to wear it like a purse or around your middle. I was looking before I went on vacation in July - but ran out of time and never bought one. I either want a very soft leather or a nice fabric, but it has to be lightweight, have an adjustable strap, and then like Goldilocks - not too big and not too small - it has to be just right.

    Also consider how it might look underneath a jacket.

    I wear a Bandi when I take the dog for a walk. It's minimal but I don't think it's what your Mother would like.

    Lo and Sons:

    The Pearl- comes in saffiano or nappa leather and also has a short strap to use as a wristlet. I have this in saffiano and it is much stiffer than the nappa but I only use it as a purse.

    Waverly - a little smaller.

    Michael Kors




    Baggalini RFID Festival - comes in colors and prints


    Can you tell I have spent way too much time on this.......

    Funkyart thanked maire_cate
  • Funkyart

    Will respond when I’m home — but thanks for the ideas! Keep them coming!

  • justerrilynn

    I have your moms ailments and like a shoulder sling. I like them because they have a wider strap (one strap) and sit in a convenient part of my upper side/back. It doesn’t get in my way or flip around. It doesn’t make me feel fatter around the middle like a fanny pack does.

    The style I have been wearing for years is a light leather look. It has a type of bottom where it can somewhat sit-up when placed on a table. It has a little bit of structure. Not very big but big enough. I wouldn’t recommend mine because in the latest model they eliminated the interior zippered pouch’s which is a must. Without the interior compartments one has to search through the bottomless pit. To me a perfect size still fits a linen roll up shawl and or a small size umbrella, a wallet and a few other things. Mine is called (another search term) a convertible backpack. It’s called this because the two straps zip into one wide one so can be worn as a wide strap sling. It’s not really big enough to be considered a traditional backpack though...maybe for a youth.

    it’s not easy to find an attractive more dignified one. I usually do a camel color because it goes with everything and I’m too lazy to switch bags all the time.

    Funkyart thanked justerrilynn
  • Funkyart

    rThe problem with some crossbody bags and definitely the slings is that they overwhelm my mom-- she's very small and especially the sling or anything with a wide strap would overtake her frame and while they distribute weight, they're often heavy (especially because she won't wear fake leather). I remember the bag you are referencing, Jt.. and I love that it's perfect for you. I just wish they didn't change the style for you! Unfortunately, a sling just isn't safe with a cane (and sometimes she uses a rolator/walker-- which presumably will be more frequent as time goes on).

    Maire-cate, I love the bandiwear but I am not sure she'd wear it. I suppose there are times she goes out with only keys and a phone but not likely. I did look at a couple of the bags you proposed-- and I really like them. I did order a convertible crossbody/belt bag when I ordered the coach above but it was just too heavy. I didn't even unwrap it. I do like the Michael Kors and there's another that is nylon vs leather that I thought about trying-- but it's black. Black is MY go-to but not so much hers.

    I am glad you mentioned baggallini.. that may work and there's a store locally that stocks a wide variety of styles and colors/patterns. I do want to purchase locally only so I'd be guaranteed she'd return it if it didn't work out-- or better still, that she'd find something that would. That limits my options quite a bit because that limits me to Macys, Boscovs and some local boutiques.

    I will keep looking but I am encouraged by the general support for belt bags/fanny packs of some sort. I'll hit one of the boutiques in the next week or so-- they not only have a wide selection of baggallini but also Hobo. She has one that is a similar to the first photo below-- but it's eel skin and looking kind of rough. I also like the second photo but not sure she'll dig the fringe and I am not sure if it will hold enough. I'll have to check them out in person!

    Thanks again, all! I appreciate you all!

  • Feathers11

    Not sure if she'll be in a position where security is a concern, but these anti-theft waist packs from Travelon may be an option. The colors are boring, but they are lightweight and well-made (I use a small cross-body for everyday errands).

    Funkyart thanked Feathers11
  • justerrilynn

    I hope you find something nice for little momma Funky! You always put so much thought into everyone’s gifts. What a special person you are.

    Funkyart thanked justerrilynn
  • Funkyart

    Feathers, I have wondered about that-- they don't really get out all that much anymore but they do get out and who knows where you'll run into a scammer skimming cards?? I do want something that has a little style though-- she'd definitely appreciate something she thinks is cool or stylish.

    JT.. what a very sweet thing to say. Thank you. It can be hard to choose gifts for elderly parents-- especially when they are clearing out their own stuffs.

  • grapefruit1_ar

    I have had a black leather belt bag for years. I often use crossbody bags when traveling. They are convenient and comfortable. But, when hiking ( the kind where you sometimes need to get down on all fours) or when biking, I always use my belt bag. Nothing works as well. I really do not care how it looks, but my DD's do. :).

    Funky, I love that red one!

    Funkyart thanked grapefruit1_ar
  • Funkyart

    Here's another photo of it-- in my light here at home, it definitely has a fuchsia pink leaning. It's far too red for me still but I know my mother will love the color.

    BTW it is on sale at Macy's

  • RNmomof2 zone 5

    I agreed about the fringe on the one bag but I think it could be trimmed some and be stylish.

    Funkyart thanked RNmomof2 zone 5
  • Feathers11

    Funkyart, I was thinking more along the lines of someone not being able to snatch it from her. Saying that, though, the closeup of the fuchsia Coach you just posted makes me smile. I vote for that one, especially since you know she'll enjoy wearing it. That far outweighs the odds of her being scammed.

    Funkyart thanked Feathers11
  • maire_cate

    When I was researching crossbody/belt bags this summer I also had to make sure my cell phone fit - it's a little larger than my old iPhone 6. Does your Mother carry glasses, a wallet and a cell phone? If you're concerned about card skimming you could give her a RFID wallet or pick up thin RFID sleeves. They come in prints, solids and even clear. I worry more about the skimmers that are installed on a point of sale machine or the rare occasions when I use an ATM.

    Funkyart thanked maire_cate
  • arcy_gw

    They are a must when on vacation or shopping craft/yard/antique sales!!!!

    Funkyart thanked arcy_gw
  • Mrs Pete

    Several random thoughts:

    - First, yeah, that ain't no Belt Bag - it's just a fanny pack rebranded.

    - Second, a couple practical thoughts: Can your mom reach the belt around herself /fasten it? Once it's on, can she easily access the bag, given that it's held up against her body /she cannot set it on a cashier's counter to go through her things?

    - Would I wear one? No, I'd rather not bring attention to my waist, which isn't my favorite body part. But I can't deny that they could be practical for someone like your mom, who has some physical challenges but still needs to carry things when she's out.

    - I am a fan of the cross-body bag ... and you might consider getting her one of those "stick on pockets" for the back of her phone; that'd allow her to keep her license and credit card on her phone ... and those items could be "enough" for simple trips.

    - Is she tech-y? Could you set her up to "pay with her phone" so that she needs to carry fewer things? Similarly, could you change her door key to a key pad so she doesn't need to carry house keys?

    - As she neared 100, my grandmother gave up a bag and started carrying her house keys and a tiny change purse on a lanyard around her neck. From a style point of view, that's probably worse than a backpack, but it was functional for her.

    - Like an above poster, I have a belt for running. It fits up tight against my waist /under my tee, and it could hold a ton of stuff -- and stays still. Mine's similar to this one, but I wouldn't recommend this for an elderly person; it has to go over your head, and that might be difficult for her. I make NO claims that it's even remotely stylish, but I do enjoy using it for running.

    Funkyart thanked Mrs Pete
  • 1929Spanish-GW

    I skipped through quickly. I use one for walking only. But back in the day....when I had a 24” waist.....

    I have back and neck issues that are exasperated when I use anything but a tiny crossbody.

    Regarding color, I would be inclined to get a tan version of that bag. It would be more neutral and work with more colors.

    BTW..... did you know that the strap on your walking fanny pack can shrink while it sits in the drawer? Truth! Happened to me. One day my fanny pack strap wouldn’t snap around my waist. I can’t imagine how that could have happened.....

    Funkyart thanked 1929Spanish-GW
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    FWIW, they were called 'belt bags' back in the day too.

    And rather than wearing mine strapped around my waist, I almost always slung it over my shoulder and/or like a crossbody - which I see people doing now as well - only higher up, for some reason.

    Funkyart thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • Lars

    I used to ride my bike every day, when I lived on the bike path in Venice/Marina Del Rey, and I would wear one of those to keep my keys and wallet. It seems hard to believe that it has been ten years since I moved from Venice to Westchester, which is only five miles away. I'm not on a bike path any more, but I could still ride my bike to the beach if I wanted to. By the time I left Venice, the bike paths were getting really crowded - especially with pedestrians who were not supposed to be walking on them. It wasn't so bad in the winter, however, and still pleasant for bike riding.

    Funkyart thanked Lars
  • tinam61

    I have never worn one (and don't plan to), but I can see where they would come in handy for some.

    Funkyart thanked tinam61

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