When referring to a leather belt, belt buckle is what we can’t miss. In fact, there is evidence of ornamental belts and buckles as far back as the 6th and 7th century in Britain and possibly anything as early as the first century with the Romans or earlier. Buckles are typically seen as more of a decorative rather than functional adornment.
As the beginning of the 20th century approached and trouser styles changed, the belt became more of a wardrobe essential and less of a pretty accessory. Up to this point, trousers weren’t worn on the waistline, but further up, further down, and all over the place, fastened with clips, clasps, cords and strings, but the modern trouser style was crying out for a better method of remaining elevated – hence the surge in popularity of buckled belts.
Military style belt buckles continued their popularity as a result of both world wars and cowboy style belt buckles saw a surge in the popularity of buckles as a fashion accessory. They have retained their popularity to this day and still feature as a style icon in the world of fashion, with intricate metal work, adornments in jewels and styles made in a whole host of materials, from metal to bronze to gold and platinum.
We have seen a resurgence in the popularity of belt buckles in the late 20th century to now, with great new developments in style as well as function, melding technology and style with mass production and small, artisan produced buckles designed and built for the wearer to their requirements. It’s almost like we’ve come full circle, from the ornamental to the functional and back to the ornamental, with belt buckles now popular again and making a point about style, status, wealth and position.
Now the choice is yours. Hundreds of thousands of styles are out there and available, from the intricate to the bulky, the flashy to the functional, old school brass or new school LED buckles. They might have been around for thousand of years, but we can tell you, they never had a choice like we’ve got today!
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