Friday, November 1, 2013

WHILE WE'RE AT IT, A COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION OF FANNY PACKS: Slate investigates--when and why did it become cooler to wear your backpack on both shoulders rather than just one?


  1. Adam C.10:35 AM

    I can't say when it got cooler, but it's sure more comfortable and better for the back. We've always had our kids double strap, at least in part thanks to a history of scoliosis on one side of the family.

  2. Joseph Finn10:50 AM

    It may be more comfortable, but can we ban it (in general principle) when you're on the El (or the "subway" in less civilized cities)? Take your backpack off and stop taking up two standing spaces on the El, please.

  3. Adam C.11:04 AM

    That's just common courtesy. Elevators and buses too.

  4. Jordan11:09 AM

    Class of 2004, can answer this one easily. I'd flip between the two, but always double strap on the way to school. Why? Because we almost always were required to have 40+ pounds in there. Try that on one shoulder, see what happens.

  5. In 7th grade, because of how they assigned lockers and how my schedule worked, my locker was on the one side of the building that I went to once a day in the morning and never returned near the rest of the day. As a result, I had all my books with me at all times. Not fun.

  6. Watts2:36 PM

    That was one of my favorite jokes in "21 Jumpstreet"

  7. Heather K2:42 PM

    Not just taking up two spaces but whacking me on the side of the head. That's not cool.

  8. Joseph Finn2:43 PM

    Oh yeah, should have mentioned the problem of them turning around and whacking people.

  9. christy in nyc3:45 PM

    Oh my gosh, I love this article. I started to get disappointed that it was getting to the end and I was actually HAPPY to see that it had a second page.

    I spent a LOT of time thinking about this in sixth grade ('93-94), about how it was obviously a pendulum but with a VERY long swing, even longer than the equally-important wide leg or skinny leg jeans pendulum. When would it change? Why would it change? THEN IT DID. Amazing.

    The funny thing is that to my eye, Tatum and Hill, who are my age, DO look cooler while one-strapping, even though the "actual" high schoolers look totally normal and fine two-strapping it.

  10. Jordan5:32 PM

    Followup question: when did it become no longer cool to pull a Slater and sit in a backwards chair?

  11. Christy in Philly5:06 PM

    I graduated from high school in 1996 and remember the backpack shift. The other shift that occurred at my all-girls Catholic school (the oldest in the nation, btw) was a switch from slouching your knee socks to wearing them to the knee. I have never been cool a day in my life but it was SO uncool when I was in middle school to wear your knee socks pulled up to your knees that I couldn't bear to switch to wearing my socks up to the knee in high school, even when the cool girls all did.