Is there such a thing as a hip hip bag?
February 19, 2013 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a bag that may or may not exist: a stylish hip bag that won't make me look either like I'm wearing a waiter's apron or like I'm on my way to a Renaissance Faire.

Ideally, this bag would:

-be flat enough to be worn curving over the side of one hip, so a little in the front and back of my body (to avoid the waiter-apron look of wearing it in front)
-have an adjustable strap so it could also be worn as a cross-body bag
-be pretty small, just big enough to hold a wallet, cell phone, keys, and a few other small things
-probably not be leather (to avoid the Ren Faire look of most of the hip bags out there)
-come in a color that goes with a mostly gray and black wardrobe
-be $50 or less (though I could spend up to $75 for something totally perfect)

I found the Lululemon Travel Pooch bag which I like for the most part and which meets a lot of this criteria, but they don't make it anymore and I'm not into the white or pink styles currently available used on eBay.

Any suggestions? Also, feel free to weigh in if you think there's just no way to look stylish while wearing such a thing!
posted by tomorrow to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I have heard them described as...urban fannypacks. *cringe* Might that help in your search?
posted by Katine at 11:51 AM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: There are some great ones on Etsy. Search "hip bag" or "belt bag". Here's a small one that just fits an iphone.
posted by barnone at 11:54 AM on February 19, 2013

Found some nice ones on etsy.

This one is very pretty!

This one seems very nice (albeit leather but not ren faire leather)

This one is pretty simple and nice too
posted by Katine at 11:56 AM on February 19, 2013

Michael Kors makes a number of these. Some with logos and some without.
posted by payoto at 11:56 AM on February 19, 2013

Po Campo makes a hip bag. I have no opinion as to how stylish one looks, wearing one.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:57 AM on February 19, 2013

I've seen this Patagonia hip bag in person, and it's great.
- Baggalini has one
- Dakine
- Kipling.

If you want one big enough to hold a water bottle, search for a "lumbar pack."
posted by barnone at 12:01 PM on February 19, 2013

I just saw this leather one and am sorely tempted - it's pretty non-Ren-Faire-y to my eye, but it's designed to go on a belt so it doesn't really work as a stand-alone bag.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:28 PM on February 19, 2013

Maybe these Queen Bee Creations Hip Holsters are what you're looking for.
posted by interiority at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Depending on your aesthetic, check out gear for bike riders / messengers. Mostly on the non-dorky side and probably more durable and functional than some of the other options.

Timbuk 2 (convertible to cross-body)
Chrome Store (thought they had an even better one but can't find it...)
Manhattan Portage
posted by beyond_pink at 12:56 PM on February 19, 2013

I learned about Reign Vermont here in Ask awhile ago the bags are really well made.
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:42 PM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: Of the above suggestions, some of them are just hideous and others would be cute as a purse but are ruined by their inherent fanny pack-ness. I guess I am in the minority here on MeFi, but I doubt I'm the only one in the wider world who thinks that hip packs are pretty much never a good look.
posted by naoko at 4:50 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all these suggestions. I like a lot of these bags, but I also like naoko's answer...I'm conflicted about whether I/anyone can pull a hip bag off without looking like it's a fanny pack!

I wonder if some of these bags could be worn cross-body while still folding over the hip on one side? Maybe that would mitigate the inherent fanny pack-ness?
posted by tomorrow at 7:00 PM on February 19, 2013

I have, and love, this bag from a shop in Seattle called Mishu. They do come in black-- mine is-- though it's not on the website. That one may be a bit renfaire for you, though, as well as a little larger than what you're looking for. The name is certainly a bit cringey.

This one might be closer to what you're looking for. Anyway, I've had mine for couple of years now, and I love it a lot. Good construction.

Trust me, you can pull it off without it looking fanny-pack-y. But then, I'm of the opinion that one can pull anything off, if one really wants to.
posted by Because at 7:11 PM on February 19, 2013

It's a stylistic choice, but I think these gun holster hip carriers are awesome. This is the one that originally caught my eye.
posted by xo at 7:34 PM on February 19, 2013

I love the hands-free aspect of hip bags, fanny packs, whatever you want to call them. I've purchased a number over the years at hipster flea markets, in cool boutiques, etc. I never get more then a few uses out of them because, well, they are just really hard to pull off. I'm reluctantly siding with naoko.
posted by smokyjoe at 8:28 PM on February 19, 2013

Best answer: I think the "fannypack ness" depends on how much it sticks out from the body. A lot of the suggestions here do.

I think leather looks stylish, though you seem to think it looks ren fair-y. This one, and this one are both good looking bags, in my opinion-but here we run into another problem- it's a niche item and so it's expensive. Supply is low, so prices are high.

If what you want is a hands-free bag the sits roughly at your hip, then a crossbody bag will fill your needs. I can throw on my purse, get in the car without taking it off, get out, walk around the store, shop, go to the library, all without ever having to deal with my purse. It just hangs out on my side and I don't have to think about it.

If thats the case, do you have any idea of what you'd like in a crossbody bag?
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2013

I know I'll never look as cool as Gabrielle Anwar wearing her fanny pack on Burn Notice, but apparently this is what she wears.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 8:53 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

These Tom Bihn side effect bags are great too. You can see folks wearing them on Flickr. They change from a cross-body bag to a hip pack, but are useful on bikes and as attachements or inserts for other bags.

Similarly, the Tom Bihn Citizen Canine bags can also be converted. If you're actually using it with a dog, it has some handy features, but I've seen folks just use them as regular little bags.

In terms of stylishness, I mean, I wouldn't wear them to a nice dinner in a hip city ( pun intended) but sometimes the hands-off features of a fanny pack / lumbar pack / hip pack can't really be duplicated. I love having one for easy hikes and trips to the farmer's market, or garage sales or thrift markets or dog walking or just biking down to the beach. I don't particularly care if they're not the height of slick fashion, and in my eyes, they're not really hideous at all!
posted by barnone at 8:36 AM on February 20, 2013

Response by poster: This has been really thought-provoking on the subject of style vs. functionality :) Thanks so much for all the links.

If I were going to stick with the original hip bag plan, I think I'd go with one of these (which I realize are almost all leather despite what I said originally!):

black hip bag

brown hip bag

green belt bag

black hip bag with brown details

BUT! I think I might revise my original search and start looking for a cross-body bag that's flat and small and can be worn snug on the back cross-body. That'd be pretty similar to many of the small rectangular hip bags linked here but would be worn on the back messenger-style. That would still achieve the snug, out-of-the-way fit I was hoping for when I first started thinking about hip bags, but perhaps without treading into fannypack territory.

I've realized I was originally imagining something that would be utilitarian and stylish in a sexy spy kind of the original La Femme Nikita...
posted by tomorrow at 9:25 AM on February 20, 2013

Best answer: In that case, the term 'sling' could be useful. There are a bunch of small ones on ebags, and if you search through the archives here, there was a recent question about non-hideous small sling bags.

Another day, another bag suggestion request - backpack sling

Trying to find the best light sling backpack ever
posted by barnone at 9:37 AM on February 20, 2013

Maxpedition gear is what you seek (may be cheaper on Amazon - posting from my phone, sorry!).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:45 AM on February 20, 2013

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