Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs

The bumbag (see also: fanny pack; chaos pouch) comes and goes with all the vigour of a fashionable bout of flu – you can see it happening around you and want no part of it, but inevitably end up just another nose among the sneezing masses.

Have some empathy, then, for poor Matthew McConaughey, who seemed to be on such a roll with good choices recently that he's no doubt due a shocker. He's the latest celebrity to have succumbed to a hands-free utility device.

In the words of Jerry Seinfeld: it looks like your belt is digesting a small animal.

"How many times are you around someone and they're like, 'I forgot my so and so?'" he told reporters, whose keen eyes for a story homed in on the black leather pouch almost immediately. "I'm like, 'I got mine right here.'"

What McConaughey has failed to realise is that you get this sort of effect with any style of bag, designed as they are to carry one's personal effects.

"You gotta kind of put it on the side to make it look a little not as nerdy, but still, practicality wins out," he added. Note he is careful to pose his bumbag as "a little not as nerdy" rather than "not nerdy". Not even his True Detective character, Rust Cohle, could argue that case.

And yet, unlike that same character, McConaughey isn't emphatically, brutally and almost existentially alone in his quest, for all that we, the trend-guzzling public, might wish him to be. Other recent fanny-packers include singer Rihanna, model Cara Delevingne and popstrel Rita Ora, a trio of streetwise scenesters whose fashion choices are co-opted the world over. By people young enough not to remember the last influx of bumbags, that is.

"I'm into them," says Kay Barron, the fashion-features director of Porter magazine. "The thing is the name. If you say you're wearing a bumbag, it will always sound like an ironic fashion accessory, but if you say you are wearing a beltbag, it's suddenly totally acceptable.'

Singer Rihanna models a Chanel bumbag (Rex Features) Purple reign: Singer Rihanna models a Chanel bumbag (Rex Features)
There's something undeniably sassy about them. They're for people at their most efficient,  whether they're dancing to Kris Kross or simply reading a map in the middle of a busy street in everybody else's way. And there are a couple of concepts at work in confluence here that go some way to explaining the phenomenon.

It's festival season, sure, a time of year when anyone can trip up and land headfirst in fashion slurry. Glastonbury has a bumbag count that is higher per capita than even that of Iowa's biggest nerd convention. You can see the appeal – they leave both hands free to drink a beer, light a cigarette and waft away the cloud of flies emanating from the midden just to the left of the main stage.

Then there's "normcore", too, one of the least inspiring youth movements to have gained traction since the Young Conservatives, which dictates that in order to function outside the trendy corporate machine, one must dress like an American tourist – beneath the sagging girth of which you'll most usually find a bumbag.

But there's a fashion element to it, too – Fendi and Chanel have fielded bumbags in the past. Carrie Bradshaw wore one once. Dolce & Gabbana styled theirs with flowing, floor-length silken evening gowns. The rule seems to be, if you're going to go for the high-end look, yours must be as impractical as possible.

So, in fact, Matthew McConaughey's stylised hip-spin is about as far from a good idea as it's possible to be. Unless, of course, you are a window cleaner.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

    £70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all