Posted: Jun 23 2011
by: BBT Clothing - www.beltsbucklestees.com ([email protected])

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The history of belts and buckles


Old Fashion Belt Buckle
Is BBT Clothing mad keen on cool belts and buckles? Well, you can bet your life we are. I suppose the clue’s in the title: Belts, buckles and Tees. We’re passionate about our belts and buckles and offer a fantastic and ever-expanding range of leather and fashion print belts. Whatever belt you’re looking for, we’ve probably got it in stock. If not, we’ll source it for you because we’re as well connected as our belt buckles. Have you ever wondered though when we first started using belts? Did people only wear them for practical purposes, or have they always been seen as a fashion statement?

Unsurprisingly belts and belt buckles have a long history stretching back as far as the Bronze Age. They were worn practically, to keep items of clothing secure around the waste and to hang tools and weapons from, much like the utility belts worn by workmen today, though not quite as elaborate as Batman’s utility belt . The earliest belts were, as you might expect, pretty basic and constructed from animal hide. They were secured with pieces of bone or metal pins. Belt buckles, as we now know them, came along later. They only started to appear when metalwork and jewellery techniques became more advanced: even then, they weren’t necessarily seen as fashion items, more a status symbol for the warriors and chiefs who wielded the most power and influence. There are still fantastic and elaborate belt buckles to be seen from the treasures unearthed at Sutton Hoo.

The trend for wearing belts continued through Roman times and was commonplace throughout Europe in the early middle ages. Throughout this time though, it remained essentially a male preserve. Women didn’t ‘do’ belts as such, apart from using them to fasten clothing together: it wasn’t seemly. However, this trend changed in the later middle ages when women began to customise basic belts and use them as more of a fashion accessory. Buckles became more elaborate for the wealthier wearer and incorporated jewels and filigree work. The idea of waist-cinching became more popular to emphasise the shape and curve of the waist and hips, though men weren’t to be outdone. Many Eastern European and Russian officers copied the trend and also wore these waist-cinchers to emphasise the narrow hips and puffed-out chest. Mind you, they did look ridiculous. Fortunately that trend didn’t last.

The belt as we now know it really became a popular and ubiquitous item of wear in the 1920s. During the Victorian era belts had been worn, but these were mainly for decorative purposes. Waists were higher, and braces were often preferred. During the 20s, trouser waists were lowered and consequently belts were needed, though it was still seen as the preserve of the lower classes: the middle and upper classes stuck to their traditional braces for quite some time after.

Nowadays everybody wears a belt. They are no longer just associated with the military or the labourer. We all use them for both practical and decorative reasons. Belts aren’t just used to keep trousers up any more: both men and women use them and see them as fashion accessories or statement pieces. So what does your belt and buckle say about you? Are you an old rocker, or a Fashionista, or maybe you’ve just still have a soft spot for Batman. Whatever: - wear it loud, and be proud; your belt’s got a great pedigree.

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