Tushy tote. Fanny pack. Call it what you will, there’s no denying the once-maligned accessory staple of the 90s has made a fuss in some of most prominent high fashion houses right now. Last Thursday, Australian sports/swim brand We Are Handsome even handed out custom bum bags – in all their retro graphic glory – as gifts to VIP guests at their Australian Fashion Week show.

Personally, the last interaction I had with the bum bag was during my Dad’s short-lived but passionate dalliance with a black leather iteration he casually slung (un-ironically) over his shoulder as his self-proclaimed “man bag” to way too many of my high school functions, sporting events and formal dinners. Needless to say, the scar left ran deep, which is why my first reaction to the fanny pack’s runway appearance in the Spring/Summer 2016 shows was one of flashback-induced horror.

This once frumpy fashion relic has recently graced the runways of not only Balenciaga and Alexander Wang but… (shield your eyes fashion high-brows)… Chanel Couture. Lagerfeld sent models like Gigi and Bella Hadid down the catwalk sporting boucle and bead-embellished compact cases just big enough for an iPhone 6+, each strap double-wrapped and slung around the waist to add a pragmatic touch to the prettiness of the couture clothes.

Bella Hadid making the bedazzled bum bag look elegant on the Chanel Couture Spring 2016 runway 
The burning question remains though: can this tongue-in-cheek trend translate from the runway to the street without eliciting muffled laughter? The answer: Absolutely. Follow our bum bag style guide and you too can take this once-again fashionable accessory out of chic obscurity.   

 1. Wear it as a handbag As seen in Alexander Wang’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection. A leather and pony hair pack over your shoulder equals instantly uncomplicated cool.

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Alexander Wang Pre-Fall 2016
Credit: Courtesy Alexander Wang

2. Be bold and add some humour The key to carrying off a once-passé accessory is to add some wit. Think, Carrie Bradshaw’s Gucci monogrammed bum bag teamed with a midriff and bright, complementary pattern. If you’re going to go there, girl GO there.

Carrie Bradshaw, Season 4
Credit: Courtesy of HBO

3. Opt for the full utilitarian. Reference Wang’s pre-fall look and go side-saddle. It’s perfect for those dance floor moments when you’re left cursing your clutch.

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Alexander Wang Pre-Fall 2016
Credit: Courtesy Alexander Wang

4. Treat it like an oversized belt A slim-line envelope style bag works best in this instance. Just ask fashion blogger Charlotte Groeneveld (below) who was a picture of fanny pack perfection in her Celine belt-bag, shoes and sunglasses for the Spring/Summer 2016 shows in Paris. Cinch directly around your mid waist and go.

Having a Celine version helps. Just ask fashion blogger Charlotte GroeneveldCredit: Getty Images

5. Wear it true to its name – on your bum Again, the style of the bum bag must be small and manageable to pull this one off. Go for a leather belt so that you can fasten it around an oversized shirt or knit, as VOGUE Ukraine editor-in-chief Masha Tsukanova (below) did at Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016. Warning: you’re a pickpocket’s dream so stay alert but not alarmed. (You’re the epitome of fashion, after all.)

Vogue Ukraine editor-in-chief Masha Tsukanova wears a bum bag like a boss
Credit: Getty Images

Title Image: Getty Images