Belt: Fashion + Power

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Wearing a belt is perhaps a simple yet transformative gesture to pull together a figure flattering outfit, accentuating the physique of your body curve and adding polish to even the most casual of outfit.

Although nowadays belt is considered as a fashion accessory, the first form of belt wasn’t so much for fashion purposes, but as a means for men to hold objects and tools during Bronze Age. Before any chemical treatment of leather was available, softened tree bark was used as the primary material for manufacturing belts. Of course, the need to hold one’s pants up has definitely made belts indispensable for men since the 16th century.

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In the latter half of the 19th century and until the 1920s, tight belts were often used as part of military uniforms, particularly among officers, to emphasize wide shoulders and a pouting chest in order to project an authoritative figure. Interestingly, in Garuda dream interpretation, belt is often associated with “power.” If you are dreaming of finding a belt, it means you are winning the trust of someone; if dreaming of losing a belt, it signals great sorrow and distress in your romantic relationship.

This perception of “power” is also reflected in some cultures that a father’s belt can be associated with corporal punishment, as the leather material of the belt is light and strong and can produce intense pain by using it as a whip to strike the buttocks of a misbehaving child. Belts have certainly become convenient disciplinary tools and symbolize fatherly authority and paternal responsibility.

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Belt is equally favored by women. Women in the Middle Ages would carry their purses and fans upon their belt until the bag was “born”. Belts for women were more of a style statement and this fashion sense escalated during the 1900s when belts were worn with blouse and long skirt combos as a silk sash with a v shape at the front to emphasize the small waist. 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 again. The Art Nouveau buckles have become collectables and serve as inspiration for design today.

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Image credit and text reference:

http://onceuponabelt.com/all-about-belts

http://blog.stephencollins.co.uk/the-history-of-belts-part-1/

http://www.kentuckyfolkweb.com/fashion-belt-a-brief-introduction-to-fashion-belt/

http://www.aleyva.com/ingles/the-belt-history-and-evolution/

http://ecosalon.com/now-then-the-history-of-the-belt/

https://www.pinterest.com/josoeyen9/art-nouveau-jugendstil/

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