Stay stylishly hands-free at summer festivals

Nikia Jefferson
Tribune Content Agency

With the unofficial start of summer (aka Memorial Day) upon us, now’s the time to start considering which bags will be the essential to our festival looks.

For many, a fringe crossbody bag is usually the first thing that comes to mind because fringe equals boho chic equals festival-ready. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the bohemian look. I’ve come pretty close to buying a fringe bag several times in the past. However, as with many of my purchases, versatility has become the deciding factor on whether or not I pull the trigger. Since I’m in an office environment five out of seven days a week and festivals only see me two to three times a year, finding a bag that can work its way into my everyday life is key.

For me, being hands-free at an outdoor event or street fest is essential to having a good time. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to hold a handbag while eating, drinking or, most importantly, dancing. As you already know, crossbody bags and backpacks are basically your summertime BFFs. Surprisingly, belt bags (or shall I say fanny packs) have also joined the ranks, as they are making a very stylish comeback these days. But what exactly should you consider when searching for the perfect hands-free bag?

Convertibility and design

Is there anything worse than a bag that only serves one purpose? Nowadays, many top handle bags come with an adjustable shoulder strap and tote bags include detachable pouches that double as clutch bags. Convertible bags can adapt to multiple facets of your lifestyle. So keep that in mind when searching for your new favorite festival accessory.

A removable strap or, in some cases, an additional strap creates the versatility that allows a backpack (like the Kelsi Dagger “Ainslie”) to also be carried as a satchel or a fanny pack to be used as clutch (removable strap) or crossbody (additional strap).

In addition to convertibility, pay close attention to the shape. The flatter the bag, the more flattering the bag, particularly in the case of the crossbody or fanny pack. Vince, J.Crew and Last Call Neiman Marcus have a nice selection of sleek bags to choose from. If you like options, check out the Fossil Sydney Double Zip Crossbody Bag. With 15 different colors (some of which include prints or embellishments), you will most certainly find one to meet your needs and personal preference.

Less practicality, more fun

I know, I know. Not all of us care about practicality. If you’re just looking to add a little fun to your festival attire, a copious amount of fringe is still a good way to do it. Look to Sole Society for the best inexpensive finds and Hobo or Treasure&Bond for all-leather fringe at relatively affordable prices. Also seek out unexpected styles like the Neiman Marcus colorblock Drawstring Backpack at Last Call or the Vera Bradley Grid Print Belt Bag.

If you simply want to turn heads, put JumpFromPaper on your radar ASAP. Their cool, cartoon-like bags will make it look as if you’re toting around pop art on your back. Now, how’s that for fun?

Lollapalooza, here we come!