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Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of the Belt

belt fashion archives

Bold belts have become quite the trend this season. It seems everyone from Alexander McQueen to Burberry has been sending models down the runway sporting a cinched waist. Of course, while different belt styles can be passing fads, the belt itself is a necessary staple just about every person has in their closet. Whether it’s a statement accessory to nip in the waist or a purely functional piece to hold up your pants, there is a belt for everyone.

An Early Necessity

These very specific utilitarian needs have been around for ages- which means the belt itself has also been around for quite awhile. In fact, the very first versions of belts had no aesthetic purpose whatsoever. These can be traced back to the prehistoric period of the Bronze Age. At this time, pockets weren’t exactly a widespread phenomena. However, people still needed to be able to carry their belongings around with them, and sometimes a bag was not necessarily the most practical option.

The very first belts were created to carry tools. That’s right- a tool belt was the predecessor to Alexander McQueen’s couture corset version. These tool belts were made of an unexpected material. Rather than leather, these belts were crafted from softened tree bark. While this may seem strange, this material behaved much like leather; hardy and pliable.

Other belts soon followed, typically made of large cuts of fabric. These were used either as part of a garment or to shield the wearer from bad weather.


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