I am on a discussion group and someone asked for information regarding ladies belts and buckles. After waiting a number of weeks, no one has stepped forward, so I pulled some items from my collection and compiled them into groups by era, which may or may not be correct.
What is a belt?
A belt is a clothing accessory item usually referred to by a piece of fabric or material (leather, plastic, chain) which highlights the waist and hip region. Since the medieval period, belts have been known to enhance fabric, beautify a clothing ensemble, hide regions of a body and act as embellishments. The medieval period had chain belts and metal belts; through the ages this clothing accessory has been created out of metal, fabric, plastic, feathers, jewels, glass, leather and more. A belt can include or not include a buckle.
What are buckles?
Buckles traditionally refer to clasps which bind material or bring material together at the waist or hips. The buckle is normally metal, but can also be fabric only or made out of firm material. The buckle and material can be decorative or can serve a purpose by identifying the waist or hips of a lovely lady or adhering materials together in a central point of focus on a body. Depending on the era and the belt and buckle in question, the position, materials and placement may vary.
When studying a ladies belt, there are four things it is helpful to learn in order to identify the belt in question:
-Metallurgy; the study of metal. This is useful for identifying both the buckle and the standard grommets holding the buckle pieces together.
-Fontography; the study of printed font
-Textile Identification; this can include leather and other materials
-Embellishments and their identification. This can include hallmarks, plastics, rare and common stones, costume embellishments and more
In studying belts, the textiles and materials associated with the belts and additive items which also can pass as belts (eg, shoe clips, cape clips, hat buckles) we can better understand the belts by era and identification of type.
Please join me in an exploration of belts and buckles, shoe clips, cape clips, hat buckles and their identification.