More like a pocket, less like a fanny pack?
May 15, 2016 9:05 AM   Subscribe

The world is frustrating my efforts to only own dresses/skirts with pockets. I am wondering if you can help me find some kind of bag that would work like an external pocket for me. Like a fanny pack. Except I'm not really confident I can or want to pull off the fanny pack look.

I'm a teacher and this is what is generally in my pocket: pens, pencils, dry erase markers, my usb key, phone (in a wallet case, so thicker than a regular iPhone), and sometimes random other things. I already 'float' so carry a bigger bag from room to room, and I want to be able to keep certain things easily accessible on my body.

Ideally the bag itself would be light, comfortable strap, multipockets but not necessary to keep them closed or zippered, just big enough, and match almost everything without being too dorky (a little dorky is ok).

I was looking at something like this but the reviews said that the strap got uncomfortable. The size looks all right though maybe a little too large? Or something like those sling bags, but that's designed to hang more in front (easier to get in and out of).
posted by Salamandrous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What about a Flip Belt? All the advantages of a fanny pack, but sits under your clothing without the bulge.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:07 AM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

My suggestion would be something with this form. There are lots of bags out there with that particular style -- slim crossbody with stacked zippers running down one side of the bag, that just happens to be the first one I came across on eBags. With the slimness, you don't need to keep the zips closed for stuff to stay in those pockets , and it gives you a few of different depths for different things, but they're all accessible at the same time without reaching under a flap.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:20 AM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are low-profile, stretchy belts, like this.
posted by SillyShepherd at 9:25 AM on May 15, 2016

Attacking your question from a different perspective, what about having pockets put into non-pocketed clothes? I'd probably pay a tailor to do this, but at least it's possible.
posted by cecic at 9:29 AM on May 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

You may find inspiration in the "belt bags" (not "fanny packs", no no) on
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:38 AM on May 15, 2016

I bought the Wholester for this same reason - to have pockets where there were none. It is okay.

The strap is comfortable and I like that it can be worn either on the hip or over the shoulder. But I always feel that I need to better secure the strap with a safety pin - I don't trust it not to come loose. Also, it is pretty expensive for what it is . . . but it is working out okay.
posted by ainsley at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2016

Not multipockets, but I love love love my Kinies bag (comes in lots of colors, holds a lot, looks good as a shoulder bag as well).
posted by Mchelly at 10:08 AM on May 15, 2016

REI has become my go-to source for bags/purses of any size. Maybe something like this or this.

Also, if you are near an REI store, they will ship to the store and you don't have to pay shipping charges.
posted by FencingGal at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2016

Ive been looking at this with an eye towards diy ing something appropriate for office wear.
posted by tilde at 10:53 AM on May 15, 2016

You might look into waist aprons (amazon link). Some are skirt-length, some just long enough to accommodate a few pockets.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:44 AM on May 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

I bought this hip bag based on a askme post. Love it.
posted by futz at 12:28 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

What I do is I get what are billed as "utility belts" or "pocket belts," which you can probably find on Etsy. Not quite fanny packs, but you can get one big strap on pocket or two as you wish. My favorites come from Blue Moon Katherine, but just doing a search, I saw some bags that looked like a strap-on bag, more or less.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have several small bags with long straps that I wear cross-body, and I think of them as pockets, and wear them mostly on days when my clothes are pocket-less. Several are from Guatemala.
posted by theora55 at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2016

Google "festival belt."
posted by headnsouth at 1:17 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

would a running buddy be any good? i use a small one to carry my (dumb) phone, keys and some cash when on my bike (i have it behind me, in the small of my back). it has a flap at the back that goes inside your pants, with magnets that hold the outside in place. not sure how well it would work with a belt though.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:21 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

It was too small for me, but maybe a cloth sash bag would work for you. Several pockets, good strap, nice looking.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tom Bihn Side Effect. You can use it crossbody or with the optional waist strap.
posted by praemunire at 2:19 PM on May 15, 2016

How about a nursing organizer belt bag? They tend to be a slimmer profile than fanny packs and have loops and holes for pens and stuff. And they're designed for people who need frequent and easy access to their things, rather than fanny packs which are more for transporting goods.
posted by stillmoving at 2:40 PM on May 15, 2016

I often use a LeSportsac crossbody bag when I don't have pockets at work.
posted by JenMarie at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2016

Seems like something like this belt pouch is what you're looking for.

You can also take a leather bag (or any material bag) of comparable size as long as it has a top flap. You can then thread it onto any belt simply by closing the flap over the belt.
posted by tel3path at 2:58 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I friend often taught in an apron. It also helped with the chalk dust.
posted by raccoon409 at 3:51 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I bought one of these belt bags from Rock and Salt, and I've been really happy with it. I feel like it doesn't look too silly, but it's 100% possible I'm deluding myself.
posted by superlibby at 4:06 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

There was a fashionable girl in the lab down the hall from me; she had a fancy (like, dolce gabbana or gucci or something) fanny pack belted pouch that looked essentially like a construction worker's tool belt thing but made from expensive materials and assembled/finished in Italy.
posted by porpoise at 4:30 PM on May 15, 2016

Seconding the Running Buddy.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2016

I recently got this adorable purse in Valencia, Spain which has a strap that works very comfortably as a belt or a shoulder strap. It's very flat, so it has never come off as a fanny pack. I love it to pieces. I can keep my essentials in it and put it in my backpack, wear it dancing, fish money out of it easily at the farmers market, etc.

The brand is Kupka Cuero (Kupka Leather). Not sure if that's their most up to date site, but if you do a search (particularly a map search in Valencia) you should find them. They had wonderful colors and styles, and the prices are great. The only thing about its slim shape is it *might* not work for a whole bunch of teacher stuff. Otherwise, I highly recommend their bags.
posted by gusandrews at 6:18 PM on May 15, 2016

And seconding "festival belt," which may be sort of what my bag is. (Only a little bit more urban and urbane.) The Spanish word for it is "riƱonera," which turns up some fanny packs in a search, but make it "riƱonera de cuero" and you start turning up much classier stuff.

I envied this model from Kupka, but I think I got the smaller one because I was on a budget.
posted by gusandrews at 6:32 PM on May 15, 2016

Geologist field cases. Not a cheap option, but built to last, functional, and quite formal looking, even.
posted by tallus at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not the cutest option but cheaper than some upthread: this passport holder is nice because it unclips super easy,* and as a result can be conveniently worn around waist/hips instead of slung from neck. It's light enough you don't even feel it on, and it might not look too bad in black.

*it has not escaped me that this might go contrary to the purpose of having it be hard to steal, but so far so good.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:20 PM on May 15, 2016

One of these crossbody bags could work. There are a ton of pockets and zippers. I have another bag from this brand that has lasted 4+ years with little wear.
posted by girasoli at 12:41 AM on May 16, 2016

I have the exact same problem, and I'm thinking of buying a blue or black lab-coat. Would be good for keeping formal clothes clean, too (I often transition from board-room to class-room and vice-versa)
posted by mumimor at 2:28 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks everybody!

The apron and nursing belt ideas are brilliant and pretty affordable. I am also looking at this cute cross-body and this intriguing 'pocket-type' bag.

I think a lot of the suggestions were really beautiful but meant for a different use-case (kept closed most of the time, deterrent to theft, etc, as opposed to kept open most of the time, easy access for me, etc). I like the running buddy and see how it could work with a skirt (though potentially still awkward with a not-tucked in top, but not with a dress. But, it is great to explore all these options and I can definitely see them working for someone else!

Now just to figure out what I think I can pull off in front of observant high school students...

(And for heaven's sakes why can't pockets be standard on women's clothing!?!)
posted by Salamandrous at 8:02 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ooh! pocket-type bag!

(And for heaven's sakes why can't pockets be standard on women's clothing!?!)

If they were, we would still need some kind of organizer for easy transfer of contents with every change of outfit.

Whenever I have pockets and *use* them, not only do I get muddled up in use because the thing I want is always in the other pocket - things also get laundered that shouldn't be laundered.

That pocket-type bag seems to work on the same principle as a handbag organizer, in that it's swappable without changing any of its contents.
posted by tel3path at 10:33 AM on May 16, 2016

As an alternative to using a bag with a strap, I use a magnetic eye glass holder and attach various things to that which sometimes includes a bag. There are pin type or loop type holders, and the magnets are very strong for the size.

The nice thing is you can place it where ever you want on your clothing without damage and remove it to the next days outfit. I've got several, some ornate and some plain.

At dog shows I wear on the skirt a bag on a ring for ring treats, on the other side I have another for the brush. On my top I attach a pin type for my glasses and a pen.

You can also find them in large "Mart" stores anywhere there is an optometric accessories
posted by IpsoFacto at 1:04 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

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