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A belt is a flexible band or strap, typically made of leather, plastic, or heavy cloth, worn around the natural waist or near it (as far down as the hips). The ends of a belt are free; and a buckle forms the belt into a loop by securing one end to another part of the belt, at or near the other end. Often, the resulting loop is smaller than the hips. Belts come in many lengths because of the variety in waist sizes, and most belts can be adjusted at the buckle to suit the wearer's waist.
Belts are used variously to secure or hold up clothing, such as trousers, shorts, and skirts; to carry objects, such as tools and weapons; and to define or accentuate the waist.
Some garments have a series of belt loops at the waist, through which a belt can be threaded. A belt too wide for the belt loops on a garment can hold up that garment, but not as well as it could if it went through the loops.
On dresses, robes, and gowns, belts do not hold up the garment but may draw in its waist and define or accentuate it. These garments, because they maintain their position on the body by hanging from the shoulders or by friction against the torso, do not need belts in order to stay up. The breadth of belts worn with such garments need not be limited by the size of belt loops: some wide belts called waist cinchers overlap with corsets in appearance and function.
Belts that do hold up clothing work by friction and often take advantage of the narrow circumference (and the compressibility) of the torso above the hips. (Suspenders, also used to hold up such clothing as trousers, rely not on friction, compression, and the waist–hip proportion, but on maintaining distance between the shoulders of the wearer and the waist of the garment: the garment is held up by suspension (hanging), without need for the friction and compression of a belt; and the same principle applies in bib overalls. A garter belt (also called a suspender belt) employs both methods: the belt maintains its position on the body by friction and/or compression at or near the waist and/or by being smaller than the hips, and it maintains stockings' position on the legs by suspension. A sock garter works in the same way as a suspender belt, but for one leg only, the upper band of the garter being worn around the thigh or the calf, rather than the waist. A plain garter, a band worn on one leg to hold up hosiery, works like a belt, using friction and compression.)
Belts often are used as fashion accessories, with many colours, styles, and finishes. In heavy metal subculture, bullet belts and studded belts are worn. Belt buckles, often made of metal, vary from simple, one-color finishes to elaborately decorated belt plates with embossed or bas-relief images or multicolored logos. Pouches to carry objects, such as coin purses, holsters, scabbards, and inrōs, can be attached to belts and used instead of a garment's pockets. Many belts are marketed for one sex or the other, despite their universal functionality.
This section possibly contains original research .(May 2021)
Belts have been documented as male clothing since the Bronze Age. Both sexes have used them off and on, depending on the fashion trends. In the western world, belts have been more common for men, with the exception of the early Middle Ages, late 17th century Mantua, and skirt/blouse combinations between 1901 and 1910. Art Nouveau belt buckles are now collectors' items.
In the latter half of the 19th century and until the First World War, the belt was a decorative as well as utilitarian part of military 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 pressing into their stomachs and gutting them up, wide belts around the waist, on the outside of the uniform, both to support a saber and 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 the waist made small by a corset worn under the uniform, a practice which was common especially during the Crimean Wars and was often noted[ clarification needed ] by soldiers from the Western Front. Political cartoonists of the day[ when? ] 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 was 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. As sportswear, trousers with belt loops were already present in the 19th century.Today it is common for men to wear belts with their trousers. In the US military belts are worn snugly at dress events or at inspection so as convey impressions of fitness and discipline. From 1989 onward the US military standards regarding belt tightness during normal duty and non-duty activities have been somewhat more relaxed to prevent deleterious effects of prolonged excessive abdominal constriction.
In some countries, a father's belt could be associated with corporal punishment. As belts are constructed out of materials like leather that are both strong and light, a belt can be easily wielded to produce intense pain by using it as a whip to strike the buttocks of a misbehaving child. Moreover, belts were convenient disciplinary tools, as they are generally immediately available for use. The belt can symbolize fatherly authority and paternal responsibility for one's children's behavior and moral development, but corporal punishment is not recommended for use in modern society as it was in the past.
Since the 1980s and more commonly in the mid-1990s,[ citation needed ] the practice of sagging the pants, in which the waistbands (usually secured by a cinched belt) of trousers or (typically long) shorts are worn at or below the hips, thereby exposing the top part of any underwear not obscured by an upper-body garment, has been seen among young men and boys, especially among those who are black and consanguine with hip-hop culture and fashion. This practice is sometimes (incorrectly) believed to have originated with prison gangs and the prohibition of belts in prison (due to their use as weapons and as devices for suicide) -- historically, including in the latter part of the 20th century, gang-affiliated young men and boys were expected to wear their belts fastened tightly.
Belts are commonly made from cowhide leather. Full-grain leather is the highest quality cowhide leather available, and is recommended for its longevity even with daily use. Calfskin is the soft and supple, making a full-grain calfskin belt one of the highest quality available.
Belts are also available in a range of other materials, including braided leather, tooled leather, suede, leather-backed ribbon, canvas, webbing, rope, vinyl, and others.
Belts have transformed from a strictly utilitarian item, to a fashion accessory in today's modern era. There are several unspoken rules for belts when it comes to belt shape and color, especially for men wearing suits, vs. a woman's choice of belt that is rooted in fashion trend, and not out always out of necessity.
Belts for formal dress pants/attire are usually 28–32 mm wide (a little under 11⁄4 inch). These belts offer specialty accents such as trapunto straps, beveled edges, fine stitch gauge, and a tapered tip. The leather, if it is made of leather, is commonly in a semi or high-shine finish (ex: spazzalato leather), with a tight grain, and a smooth leather backing. Dress belts typically have a buckle in a polished metal finish.
Casual belts commonly worn with denim are usually between 35 mm and 42 mm wide (a little under 11⁄2 inch). These are typically made out of a one-piece leather construction with a textured appearance, with a belt buckle in an antiqued finish, wider, thicker stitching, or bar-tacking, to ensure a strong construction.
Lingerie is a category of primarily women's clothing including undergarments, sleepwear, and lightweight robes. The choice of the word is often motivated by an intention to imply that the garments are alluring, fashionable or both. In a 2015 US survey, 75% of women and 26% of men reported having worn sexy lingerie in their lifetime.
Fetish fashion is any style or appearance in the form of a type of clothing or accessory, created to be extreme or provocative in a fetishistic manner. These styles are by definition not worn by the majority of people; if everone wears an item, it cannot have fetishistic, special nature. They are usually made of materials such as leather, latex or synthetic rubber or plastic, nylon, PVC, spandex, fishnet, and stainless steel. Some fetish fashion items include: stiletto heel shoes and boots, hobble skirts, corsets, collars, full-body latex catsuits, stockings, miniskirt, crotchless underwear, diapers, garters, locks, rings, zippers, eyewear, handcuffs, and stylized costumes based on more traditional outfits, such as wedding dresses that are almost completely see-through lace, or lingerie for men.
Punk fashion is the clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, jewellery, and body modifications of the punk subculture. Punk fashion varies widely, ranging from Vivienne Westwood designs to styles modeled on bands like The Exploited to the dressed-down look of North American hardcore. The distinct social dress of other subcultures and art movements, including glam rock, skinheads, rude boys, greasers, and mods have influenced punk fashion. Punk fashion has likewise influenced the styles of these groups, as well as those of popular culture. Many punks use clothing as a way of making a statement.
A corset is a garment worn to hold and train the torso into a desired shape, traditionally a smaller waist or larger bottom, for aesthetic or medical purposes, or support the breasts. Both men and women are known to wear corsets, though this item was for many years an integral part of women's wardrobes.
A waistcoat in BrE, or vest in AmE, is a sleeveless upper-body garment. It is usually worn over a dress shirt and necktie and below a coat as a part of most men's formal wear. It is also sported as the third piece in the traditional three-piece male suit. Any given vest can be simple or ornate, or for leisure or luxury. Historically, the vest can be worn either in the place of or underneath a larger coat dependent upon the weather, wearer, and setting.
In a BDSM context, a collar is a device of any material worn by a person around the neck to indicate their submissive or slave status in a BDSM relationship. A person wearing a collar to symbolize their relationship with another is said to be collared. Some people conduct formal "collaring ceremonies", which are regarded as effectively solemnizing their relationship in a similar way as a marriage ceremony and the collar having similar significance as a wedding ring. The standard form of a collar is a black leather band around the neck, often with metal D-rings added to allow the attachment of a leash, rope or other restraints. Some people may wear an ordinary choker or jewelry necklace instead.
Chaps are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather or a leather-like material. Their name is a shortened version of the Spanish word chaparreras. Chaparreras were named after the chaparral from which they were designed to protect the legs while riding on horseback. Like much of western horse culture, the origin of chaparreras was in the part of New Spain that later became Mexico, and has been assimilated into cowboy culture of the American west. They are a protective garment to be used when riding a horse through brushy terrain. In the modern world, they are worn for both practical work purposes and for exhibition or show use. Chaps have also been adopted for use on motorcycles, particularly by cruiser-style motorcycle riders.
The corset has been an indispensable supportive undergarment for women, in Europe for several centuries, evolving as fashion trends have changed and being known, depending on era and geography, as bodies, stays and corsets. The appearance of the garment represented a change from people wearing clothes to fit their bodies to changing the shape of their bodies to fit their fashionable clothing.
1860s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by extremely full-skirted women's fashions relying on crinolines and hoops and the emergence of "alternative fashions" under the influence of the Artistic Dress movement.
Fashion in the 1890s in European and European-influenced countries is characterized by long elegant lines, tall collars, and the rise of sportswear. It was an era of great dress reforms led by the invention of the drop-frame safety bicycle, which allowed women the opportunity to ride bicycles more comfortably, and therefore, created the need for appropriate clothing.
1830s fashion in Western and Western-influenced fashion is characterized by an emphasis on breadth, initially at the shoulder and later in the hips, in contrast to the narrower silhouettes that had predominated between 1800-1820.
Breeches are an article of clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee, though in some cases reaching to the ankles. The breeches were normally closed and fastened about the leg, along its open seams at varied lengths, and to the knee, by either buttons or by a drawstring, or by one or more straps and buckle or brooches. Formerly a standard item of Western men's clothing, they had fallen out of use by the mid-19th century in favour of trousers.
During the 1820s in European and European-influenced countries, fashionable women's clothing styles transitioned away from the classically influenced "Empire"/"Regency" styles of c. 1795–1820 and re-adopted elements that had been characteristic of most of the 18th century, such as full skirts and clearly visible corseting of the natural waist.
1880s fashion in the in Western and Western-influenced countries is characterized by the return of the bustle. The long, lean line of the late 1870s was replaced by a full, curvy silhouette with gradually widening shoulders. Fashionable waists were low and tiny below a full, low bust supported by a corset. The Rational Dress Society was founded in 1881 in reaction to the extremes of fashionable corsetry.
Fashion in the period 1900–1909 in the Western world continued the severe, long and elegant lines of the late 1890s. Tall, stiff collars characterize the period, as do women's broad hats and full "Gibson Girl" hairstyles. A new, columnar silhouette introduced by the couturiers of Paris late in the decade signaled the approaching abandonment of the corset as an indispensable garment.
Clothing fetishism or garment fetishism is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a particular fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a style.
Anglo-Saxon dress refers to the clothing and accessories worn by the Anglo-Saxons from the middle of the 5th century to the eleventh century. Archaeological finds in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries have provided the best source of information on Anglo-Saxon costume. It is possible to reconstruct Anglo-Saxon dress using archaeological evidence combined with Anglo-Saxon and European art, writing and literature of the time period. Archaeological finds have both supported and contradicted the characteristic Anglo-Saxon costume as illustrated and described by these contemporary sources.
Undergarments or underwear are items of clothing worn beneath outer clothes, usually in direct contact with the skin, although they may comprise more than a single layer. They serve to keep outer garments from being soiled or damaged by bodily excretions, to lessen the friction of outerwear against the skin, to shape the body, and to provide concealment or support for parts of it. In cold weather, long underwear is sometimes worn to provide additional warmth. Special types of undergarments have religious significance. Some items of clothing are designed as undergarments, while others, such as T-shirts and certain types of shorts, are appropriate both as undergarments and as outer clothing. If made of suitable material or textile, some undergarments can serve as nightwear or swimsuits, and some are intended for sexual attraction or visual appeal.
The Medieval period in England is usually classified as the time between the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance, roughly the years AD 410–1485. For various peoples living in England, the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes, Normans and Britons, clothing in the medieval era differed widely for men and women as well as for different classes in the social hierarchy. The general styles of Early medieval European dress were shared in England. In the later part of the period, men's clothing changed much more rapidly than women's styles. Clothes were very expensive and both the men and women of lower social classes continued to wear them until the garments were in such disrepair that they needed to be replaced entirely. Sumptuary laws also divided social classes by regulating the colors and styles these various ranks were permitted to wear. In the early Middle Ages, clothing was typically simple and, particularly in the case of lower-class peoples, served only basic utilitarian functions such as modesty and protection from the elements. As time went on the advent of more advanced textile techniques and increased international relations, clothing gradually got more and more intricate and elegant, even with those under the wealthy classes, up into the renaissance.
A waist cincher is a belt worn around the waist to make the wearer's waist physically smaller, or to create the illusion of being smaller.
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