Globally sourced vintage belts @whatthebelt

Florida, United States
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Globally sourced vintage belts
Prices firm. *Updated Shop Policies.


Last updated on May 10, 2020

Globally sourced vintage belts
Prices firm. *Updated Shop Policies.


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About WhatTheBelt

Sales 2,532
On Etsy since 2013


have been documented for male clothing since the Bronze Age. Both genders used them off and on, depending on the current fashion. In the western world, belts were more common for men, with the exception of the early Middle Ages, late 17th century Mantua, and skirt/blouse combinations between 1900 and 1910. Art Nouveau belt buckles are now collector's items.

In the period of the latter-half of the 19th century and up until the first World War, the belt was a decorative as well as utilitarian part of the uniform, particularly among officers. In the armed forces of Prussia, Tsarist Russia, and other Eastern European nations, it was common for officers to wear extremely tight, wide belts around the waist, on the outside of the uniform, both to support a saber as well as for aesthetic reasons. These tightly cinched belts served to draw in the waist and give the wearer a trim physique, emphasizing wide shoulders and a pouting chest. Often the belt served only to emphasize waist made small by a corset worn under the uniform, a practice which was common especially during the Crimean Wars and was often noted by soldiers from the Western front. Political cartoonists of the day often portrayed the tight waist-cinching of soldiers to comedic effect, and some cartoons survive showing officers being corseted by their inferiors, a practice which surely was uncomfortable but deemed to be necessary and imposing.

In modern times, men started wearing belts in the 1920s, as trouser waists fell to a lower line. Before the 1920s, belts served mostly a decorative purpose, and were associated with the military. Moreover, prior to that trousers did not even have belt loops. In sports, trousers with belt loops were present in the 19th century already. Today it is common for men to wear a belt with their trousers.

The need to hold one’s pants up has made belts indispensable for men since the 16th century. Military girdles – bands worn around the waist to hold weapons in place – are considered the first belts documented in clothing history. By the 1850s, the concept had infiltrated women’s styles when dresses were adorned with sashes made in matching fabrics. By the 1920s the lowered waists of the flapper fashions meant belts were dropped too, but by the time women embraced pants in the 1930s, women’s belts were back...

Source: Wikipedia.






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  • Stacey


    Basically I'm obsessed with belts... Locally I am known as the "belt lady".... I rescue, recondition and rehome vintage belts and have thosands globally sourced belts in my curated collection. www.instagram.com/whatthebelt @vintagerunsdeepshop

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Last updated on May 18, 2022
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