What Are Sling Bags? How to Wear and Most Popular Styles

Sling bags. Love them or hate them, they’re a style that has a cult following. Although we’re calling them ‘sling bags,’ this style goes by other names. You might know them as a fanny bag or bum bag.

These versatile bags can be flung over your shoulder like a backpack, worn front-facing, or strapped on like a belt. The sling bag is the crossbody bag that can do it all.

There are many different ways of wearing a sling bag

Whether you’re a jetsetter on a bucket list trip or someone who commutes to the city, we all need a sling bag in our closet.

This in-depth guide tells you everything you need to know about this trending bag – from how to wear them, why they’re a must-have, and the different styles to choose from.

With spring and summer right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to splurge on a sling bag.

What is a sling bag?

A sling bag is a small compact bag that is typically used for travel but is suitable for everyday wear. While often small, sling bags are increasingly becoming more oversized to accommodate everyday wear.

These bags are as much a fashion statement as a functional accessory. Whatever your lifestyle, there’s a sling bag out there for you.

Typically used for traveling, sling bags are now considered functional fashion accessories

Typically used for traveling, sling bags are now considered functional fashion accessories

Are sling bags in style?

Sling bags have made a comeback in recent seasons as fashion takes a more comfort-driven approach, with athleisure dominating the industry.

Just like the infamous return of the ‘dad sandals,’ sling bags have gone from the nylon ‘bum bags’ your grandparents would wear to the must-have accessory of the season.

Vanessa Hudgens, Madison Beer, Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, and Sofia Richie carrying trendy sling bags

Vanessa Hudgens, Madison Beer, Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, and Sofia Richie carrying trendy sling bags (Credit: Mega / FayesVision / WENN)

You only need to scroll through Instagram to see celebrities, influencers, and fashion bags rocking the style. Sling bags are everywhere you look within streetwear fashion.

Everyone from Louis Vuitton to Nike has released their take on the classic, if not unappreciated, style.

Different types of sling bags

The good news is that sling bags come in every shape and size. Whether you’re mountain climbing or going on vacation, there’s a sling bag out there for you.

The most popular type of sling bag is nylon as they add extra versatility to the style and make them low maintenance. If you’re looking for an affordable sling bag, don’t overlook the benefits of a nylon style.

Nylon sling bags, like the MZ Wallace Metro sling bag, are lightweight, low maintenance, and affordable

Nylon sling bags, like the MZ Wallace Metro sling bag, are lightweight, low maintenance, and affordable

Leather sling bags give you a more elevated look and offer the best of both worlds. This type of sling bag is usually larger and designed for everyday use as an alternative to a satchel or a crossbody bag.

Most luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, make their sling bags using leather or canvas for a more sophisticated and less athleisure-inspired look.

The Stanton leather sling bag from Proenza Schouler White Label can help elevate your look

The Stanton leather sling bag from Proenza Schouler White Label can help elevate your look

When you’re choosing which sling bag to buy, don’t overlook how it feels to carry it. A sling bag is like wearing a backpack across your chest.

The material will add to the weight, meaning that a leather sling bag might not be the best choice for carrying if you’re an over-packer.

One more type of sling bag to consider is a style specifically made for travel. This style of sling bags typically incorporates more security features, like RFID lining, and has a lightweight design to make it easy to carry long distances.

Featuring a back hidden RFID signal blocking pocket, the lightweight G4Free sling bag can help secure your personal information

Featuring a back hidden RFID signal blocking pocket, the lightweight G4Free sling bag can help secure your personal information

How to wear sling bags

The beauty of a sling bag is the versatility it offers. Unlike a crossbody bag or a tote bag, you have several options on how to wear this style.

While the most traditional style is to belt it around your waist, it’s not often considered the most style.

Vanessa Hudgens showing different ways to carry a sling bag

Vanessa Hudgens showing different ways to carry a sling bag (Credit: Mega / WENN)

One of the two main ways of wearing a sling bag is to ‘sling’ it across your chest. You can wear it either on your back – like a traditional backpack – or across your chest.

The latter is the most common way of wearing this bag and is also considered the most stylish. It gives you easy access to your belongings, isn’t as dated as wearing the bag as a belt, and allows you to show off your sling bag.

What to keep in your sling bag

One thing that puts people off buying a sling bag is that they’re not sure what fits in one. While it’s not a Mary Poppins bag, a sling bag holds more than you might expect. Most styles will comfortably hold your smartphone and other essentials.

When you’re packing your sling bag, you want to try and limit your items to only what you need. Avoiding clutter in your sling bag can make it easier to carry, especially if it’s a leather bag.

Vanessa Hudgens showing different ways to carry a sling bag

Look for sling bags with in-built organizer or compartments so you can easily carry and find your stuff

Instead of packing a full-size wallet, pack a cardholder instead. If you want to be as minimalistic as possible, look for a sling bag that includes an in-built card slot compartment.

Bring along a backup phone charger, makeup essentials, and keys. If you feel like you need extra organization, shop around for a sling bag with an in-built organizer. These bags typically have multiple compartments designed to hold your phone, makeup, or coins.

How sling bags are unique

You might be thinking that a sling bag isn’t that different from a classic crossbody bag – but you would be wrong. What makes a sling bag unique is its versatility and shape. It’s the best of all worlds, giving you the functionality of a crossbody with the appearance of a backpack.

You don’t need to be a streetwear fanatic to appreciate the functionality of a sling bag. They’re practicality meets styles, giving you a hands-free option for travel or a day in the city.

These low-maintenance bags are popular because they reflect the comfort-driven aesthetic of the moment, in a time when bodycon dresses have been replaced with loungewear.

If you want a bag that will give you bang for your buck or a return on your investment, it’s the sling bag. While it may feel like a ‘trendy bag’ or an ‘it’ bag, this style has been around for decades – and for good reason.

Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or a splurge purchase, a sling bag is one style that you want to add to your closet in 2022.

Eryzle

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