Used as a statement accessory or for a purely practical purpose, belts have somewhat lost their original must-have character these days. The strict lockdowns and work-from-home orders certainly didn’t help to raise the belts profile to a wardrobe necessity either - walking around in your home office wearing sweatpants. Today, we’re traveling centuries back to track belts’ origin and pique your curiosity.
Belt’s Knots Signified Cherished Vows
The very first type of belt was but a string tied around the waist to prevent clothes from dragging; a logical and necessary tool. In the Neolithic age, these tools evolved into waistcloths, which, at the time, already connoted a political and social standing, indicative of each respective design.
In the middle ages, monks tied their sack cloths with a cord, which later became almost symbolic. Catholic priests also wore similar cords, which aside from its practical purpose of holding their long robes up, had a divine meaning. They displayed three characteristic knots, signifying their vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.
Belt as a Synopsis of Your Background and Skills
Aside from symbolic uses of the belt, it also had practical worldly purposes. Artisans and workmen alike donned girdles around their waist which carried their tools and other useful objects. One glimpse at the person’s belt would’ve told you if the person was a woodworker or a shoemaker.
Soldiers’ waistbands also served similar purposes, with the purpose being to sheath daggers, swords, and later guns. Even sacks of provisions could be attached to these, and provided a place of quick reference. These practical belts were also used to connote rank within the army.
At the same time, elegant belts studded with jewels signified an affluent background of the wearer and were a reflection of his or her taste. Some of these were real works of wearable art, and were passed down from one generation to another. This is something we call sustainable and genuinely eco-friendly today.
World's Most Expensive Belt
The $550,000 Roland Iten Calibre R822 "Predator" is a mechanical belt buckle that is considered the world’s most expensive belt. The statement accessory features:
- quick and simple changes of the leather strap;
- effortless engagement of the buckle with the leather strap;
- one-handed operation of the buckle to tighten/loosen the leather strap.
The “Predator” is designed, manufactured and assembled to ensure that all mechanisms are self-cleaning with no lubrication required.
The white gold body of the belt with red gold accents is fully-diamond-set - 14.15 carats total. The platform is made from high-tech titanium.
Exquisite Belts Today
Since the Renaissance, belts became more common and practical, with more variety and “flavor”. Today, belts are prized for their design, workmanship, uniqueness, and value - all in keeping with the fashion trends. Vintage and antique belts are seeing the uprise of interest since most of these belts are truly gorgeously designed, and have the kind of durability that isn’t easy to find in the era of mass produce. These accessories are, for the most part, handmade and designed by people for people. Each piece is unique and has an intriguing story or two to tell.
DSF Antique Jewelry offers a wide variety of such belts, each a true treasure.
This Chanel gripoix belt is made of intricate gold tone metal, topped with a byzantine flower buckle adorned with gripoix glass. Each stone is made using special techniques and each link carefully crafted.
This Hermes Touareg Silver Alligator belt boasts an alligator leather strap and a large silver D- shaped buckle. Each buckle is carved by hand, and each design is unique to the belt, making them highly sought after.