13 Brands Making The Hottest Designer Crossbody Bags For 2023
The crossbody bag (AKA belt or sling bag) is that perfect amalgam of modern utility, statement styling and brand cachet. Just don’t call it a fanny pack.
It’s funny what a difference a decade or two makes. One of the hottest men’s accessories in recent seasons has been the belt bag, otherwise known as a ‘crossbody bag’.
If you’re still in your early 20s then the words ‘fanny pack’ and ‘bum bag’ are probably just meaningless cultural relics that you can’t actually imagine in reality. But believe us old-timers when we say that we were rocking belt bags when you were just a flirtatious twinkle in your father’s eyes.
Admittedly we wore them around our waists, and the styles back then looked nothing like today’s designer offerings, but still, we lay claim to these slinky slivers of utility.
We won’t mention that in the decades since, anyone wearing a ‘bum bag’ would immediately have had cabbages thrown at him and be lambasted as a social pariah. Not so today.
Balancing modern utility with urban cool, and a hefty dose of luxury cachet, today’s crossbody bags are the ultimate expression of day-to-day functionality and fashion cachet.
What you should consider when buying a crossbody bag
The aforementioned belt bags that were doing the rounds in the 80s were not what you might call ‘luxury’. Sure, some might even have been made with real leather, but materials alone are not the only factor when it comes to defining luxury.
For a start, none of the high-end fashion brands were touching crossbody bags with a barge pole, while the design of the fanny packs of the day were not exactly what you would call sophisticated. Below, we outline what to look for in today’s luxury styles.
Luxury belt bags today come in many different shapes and forms. So it’s difficult to suggest that just because one is made from a premium fabric such as leather, that it’s any more covetable than a contemporary style made from military-grade ripstop.
Nevertheless, belt bags crafted from high-quality calfskin leather are generally going to be of an elevated quality, and price tag.
Leather ages beautifully too, which can’t really be said of nylon and the like. So if you are in doubt, go for the leather option.
Crossbody bags come in a variety of styles, from slim narrow pencil case shapes to huge chunky things you could transit a small woodland animal in, so the dimensions are really just a facet of utility and personal preference.
Some higher-end belt bags now come with a degree of structure to them, too, but the main design details revolve around the configuration of the various compartments, zips, straps and buckles.
Belt bags are great branding accessories (what could be a better advertising vehicle for a luxury brand than a product you wear across your chest like a Miss World sash?) and so will often incorporate a luxury’s house’s logo identity or name.
This gives you some immediate and easy-to-see brand clout. Stealth wealth styles are the exception to the rule.
The best designer crossbody bags for 2023
Porter-Yoshida & Co
Yoshida & Co. has been manufacturing bags with a commitment to ‘Japan Made’ ever since its establishment in 1951. And Porter, which was founded in 1962, is the company’s flagship brand.
Founder Kichizo Yoshida’s philosophy of “one stitch, all soul” is the company motto, and hints at the brand’s dedication to excellence at even the smallest level.
Specialising in contemporary technical fabrics, Porter’s sling bags are urban must-haves, crammed full of functional pockets and thoughtful details, all rendered in a variety of bold nylon tones.
Like Porter-Yoshida & Co, Master-Piece is another luxury bag brand with an unwavering ‘Made in Japan’ philosophy. It was founded in 1994, before setting up an in-house factory in Osaka in 2008 where all the bags are now created by supremely skilled artisans.
Its eclectic range of crossbody pouch bags are quite unlike any others on the market, beautifully combining contemporary materials with a unique nostalgia coming through in the retro bag shapes.
The more modern belt bag collection is vast, mostly constructed from water-repellent ballistic nylons and available in a variety of sizes.
Whenever there has been a bag trend in womenswear in recent years, the chances are that Loewe started it. Under the direction of JW Anderson, the Spanish luxury house continues to nail its leather bags, and its men’s crossbody collection is no different.
The Puzzle bag is the poster boy, thanks to a stylish cuboid shape and precise cutting techniques that create the Puzzle’s distinctive geometric lines, all crafted in beautifully soft calfskin and available in a number of size and colour configurations.
For something a little more out there, check out Loewe’s Anton sling, which is a pyramidal style with a foldover flap and comes in a variety of different leathers.
Being the sartorial icon that the brand is (now under the ownership of Zegna) Tom Ford does not go in for bright colours and wild patterns. Instead, the American icon doubles down on a seductively black palette of small but perfectly formed belt bags that you could reasonably wear with a chic tuxedo.
While two technical nylon styles are pushing the boundaries of reality with their price points, Ford’s 100% leather ‘printed alligator’ belt bag with brass gold-galvanisation hardware gives you much more bang for your buck.
Of all the widely recognised luxury houses, Balenciaga has one of the biggest and most eclectic belt bag and crossbody collections. And they’re almost entirely black.
Where to start? Well, you know you’re going to get plenty of subversive design elements, as well as a lot of silhouette experimentation and unique fabrications with French brand, so expect the unexpected.
Modern shapes come contorted, while fabrics surprise with used-effect lambskin, graffiti-printed leather and piercings for hardware. Grungy punks running the apocalypse springs to mind, but the creativity and fashion clout is undeniable.
The Italian leather specialist come uber luxury brand is famous for its woven leather ‘intrecciato’ designs, which it has brought to a beautiful crescendo in its men’s crossbody bag collection, which uses many different fabrics and shapes to riff on the motif.
From its beautifully minimalist cylindrical Cannette bags and rectangular Cassette bags, both crafted in padded nylon as well as calfskin leather, to the elegant intrecciato duo belt bags, there’s just an unrivalled level of contemporary refinement here.
It’s always about the unique details at Givenchy, at least since Matthew Williams has been looking after the brand. So it should come as no surprise that Givenchy’s crossbody bag collection has seriously upped its game since Williams arrived, given that the American is also the founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM, which is renowned for its urban, technical aesthetic.
Williams has definitely brought that design signature with him, creating a host of crossbody styles with exquisitely bold hardware details to complement the technical nylon styles, as well as Givenchy’s more classic leather bags such as the Antigona.
Given Gucci’s penchant for maximalist menswear, the Italian giant’s collection of belt bags and crossbody styles is surprisingly measured.
That doesn’t take away from the fact that they are all still dripping in brand clout, embellished as they are with plenty of interlocking Gs and iconic red and green stripe straps across a range of leather and cotton canvas styles, from small pouches to larger messengers.
We don’t have enough column inches to describe even a slice of the Louis Vuitton crossbody bag range, but suffice to say that the French master of luxury has pulled out all the stops.
It has the most eclectic and creative collection in our mind, with a stunning array of leather messengers and belt bags in truly unique silhouettes, from futuristic wearable mini trunk wallets to typically iconic Damier check and LV monogram crossbody styles.
The mini leather duffle ‘Bandoulier’ options offer a modern take on the gym bag, while the Yayoi Kusama collab pieces just put a smile on your face.
Under the creative direction of Miuccia Prada, the Italian luxury brand has been the mothership of modernism, exporting its unique brand of high-end utility to all corners of the world.
Loved for its understated aesthetic and pared-back colour scheme, Prada’s collection of crossbody and belt bags is a delightful extension of the fashion house’s core values.
Silhouette and fabrication are top level, especially in the form of the Saffiano leather crossbody bag featuring an embossed Prada triangle. Elsewhere, nylon and leather options in the brand’s favoured black tone are the perfect additions to a contemporary urban wardrobe.
If you like your crossbody bags with a heavy dose of modern utilitarian appeal, and made from some of the most innovative technical fabrics on the planet, then you probably don’t need to look any further than C.P Company.
While its military-inspired crossbody and belt bags might not have ‘luxury’ price tags, they come packed with urban cool and textile panache, thanks to fabrics such as Nylon B, “a durable and water-resistant weave that’s fine-tuned specifically for garment dyeing, yielding increased chromatic depth and intensity throughout the piece”.
Rugged, technical and superbly functional, they are a great addition to techwear and streetwear wardrobes.
MCM, which stands for Modern Creation München, was founded in Munich, Germany, in 1976 as a specialist luxury bag maker.
While it might be under different ownership now, MCM hasn’t lost any of its luxury appeal, crafting sublime leather bags, typically adorned with its geometric logo print.
MCM might not have the brand pulling power of the big fashion houses, but make no mistake that its crossbody bags are top quality in every aspect. We particularly love the cognac Fursten belt bag, which comes in a slim heritage shape complete with 24k gold-plated hardware.
1017 ALYX 9SM
We’ve already given creative director Matthew Williams his dues for the superb crossbody bags at Givenchy so we couldn’t not mention the excellent styles at the brand he founded, 1017 ALYX 9SM.
ALYX’s calf leather belt bags come almost exclusively in black and feature the now iconic rollercoaster buckle that made the label’s accessories an instant hype hit. The puffer Moncler collab is a particularly cool option, too.