Evolution of Leather Belts - Men’s Fashion
The first belts ever consisted of length of cords or strings tied around the waist and can be traced back to Europe and Asia. The making of leather belts, however, can be traced back to 3000 BC and 1050 BC during the Bronze Age. This was a technological advanced era with early signs of urban civilization, writing and of course, the use of bronze. Leather belts were starting to be used for utilitarian purposes mostly, to carry weapons or tools making it a commodity in trade. Belt buckles were crafted from bronze in this period of time. Girdles are considered the first leather belts worn by men. Soldiers would use them to show off their weapons and even wear two girdles at a time. Priests would also wear girdles to hang their scriptures. These accessories were also signs of honor; for example, the Mongolian Empire exchanged belts to seal alliances.
As craftwork advanced, people in high status and power would show off their fancy belts. It was a luxury accessory like the modern bag or watch. These antique belts were longer, more decorative and looked more lavish than the simple belts seeing today. The leather belts during these times were also worn at the highest point of the waist. It wasn’t until the 19th century that belts started to become a fashion accessory and used more regularly with pants.
In the 19th century, leather belts became a common fashion look and no longer symbolized status or a military-only accessory. Men’s trousers fell to a lower line of the waist and came with belt loops. This can be marked as the official transition of belts from utilitarian to a fashion commodity. At this point, however, belts where still used to represent a victory or strength. For example, in martial arts colored belts symbolized different skill ranks and in boxing champions are crowned with the belts. This tradition still continues today.
Since men don’t have as many options for accessories like women do - belts are a main accessory. Nowadays belts are important in completing an outfit. It helps in keeping pants in place, separating the upper torso with the lower body and elevates a man’s fashion look.
One can say that matching a belt color with shoe color is the simplest way of making a belt look good. Today, stylish men know when to step out of their comfort zone and use belts to not only complete an outfit but to also make a statement.
Pro-Tip For You
A leather belt doesn’t have to necessarily match your shoes, it can be in the same color family of the shoe. If you don’t have a leather belt that matches your shoes, don’t be afraid to use a belt that in no way connects to your shoe color. This bold move can elevate your style and convey your confidence.
Check out our Formal Belts vs Casual Belts blog for more belt fashion tips.