Long worn for both practical and aesthetic reasons, in the 19th century belts were most notably found as part of Eastern European military uniforms (channelled in Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic 1976 Russian collection). As trouser waists fell lower, men started wearing belts more the way we know it – with loop hole trousers, but also with sportswear. For women, belts started to feature as a prominent fashion accessory from the 1930s onwards. Below is a brief history recap of the most defining vintage belt styles of the decades following.
In the 1930s, buckles became more decorative as designers started elaborating with their shape – geometric ones like square, rectangles, ovals and circles were popular, from imaginative materials like glass plastic, brass and wood.
In the 1940s, belts became more utilitarian, possibly because of womenswear becoming more practical and suitable for work. Durable materials such as leather, suede and canvas were used for designer belts.
With materials carrying on from the 1940s, women’s belts of the 1950s were often worn to enhance the waist and hips. Buckles covered with the same fabric as the belt were common.
In the 1960s, belts were still worn wide and again became more decorative, channelling the decade’s statement dresses and two-pieces. Vintage belts from this era are often revisited by contemporary designers.
Today, women’s designer belts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The fashion pack has long trusted in vintage belts to define and enhance their overall ensemble – and we can think of few better ways to personalise your look than through a vintage belt! Whether you’re in for a trending Western-nodding buckle belt in soft leather; a pop colour patent 1960s Yves Saint Laurent waist belt; or an iconic monogram/logo buckle belt from the likes of Chanel, Dior, Moschino or Hermes, you’ll be sure to find your perfect fit from Open for Vintage’s superb selection of vintage belts.
OfV says: Add some attitude to a floral feminine dress with a studded leather belt; bring definition to a fluid blouse with a knot-tie embroidered waist belt; or keep those boyfriend jeans in place with a unisex monogram buckle belt. Belts are the fail-proof vintage accessory – find your favourite vintage designer belt and use it to seal your signature style.