The History Of Belts
The belt may have been the very first item of clothing, even before underwear. In fact, the “Ice Man”, whose body was recently unearthed and had a body dating back to 3100 BC, had a lime fiber sheath wrapped around his waist. It was felt that belts were not invented to keep up pants or keep robes in place, but as a way to hang things upon like amulets – ones that would offer protection against the evil eye, or ones that would protect against infertility. Soon belts were used to hold weapons and instruments. But the main function of the belt has been to hold up clothes, like in Ancient Greece, women’s floor length robes were often belted. The alternative to belts were suspenders invented around 1787, which were popular until men started wearing suits without the vests that would hide them.(From “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible”)
How To Wear A Belt (Also from Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible)
For men, the rules for wearing a belt are fairly simple: the belt must match the shoes. If a man is wearing a brown belt, he needs brown shoes-the same color brown. If you have tan shoes, you need a tan belt. If you have cordovan shoes, you need a cordovan belt. If they are mismatched, then you will look like you dressed in the dark. As for size, all your belts should accommodate the belt loops on your pants.
Women may want to invest in three belts: 1) A wide black belt in matte, patent, or stretch; 2) A mid-width belt that fits the standard loop on your jeans; 3) A thin wisp of a belt for solid color tunics and dresses.
- Wide belts work well with patterns.
- Small belts work best with solids. Smaller belts get lost in a bold pattern.
- If you’re belting a tunic or a shirt, you have style options. It can cinch your waist or it can drape from your hip bones.
- If you’re wearing a belt with jeans, the governing width element is the belt loop size.
- When it comes to color, metallics or patent leather can dress up a more casual item, and a plain leather belt can dress down a fancier piece.
- If you have a dress that has small belt loops that are not where the belt should be, cut them off (don’t be constrained by these).
- The belt should be placed wherever it’s most flattering on you (it doesn’t have to sit on one’s natural waist).
Belts Made In The USA
Did you know that only 2% of clothing and clothing accessories are made in the USA. For some things like shoes, underwear, men’s pants – the percentage is even smaller. However, when it comes to belts, there is fairly good chance that you might find some “made in USA”. Even in some department stores where nothing else is made in the USA, some belts could may be made in the USA. Names associated with almost exclusively foreign made, may make some of their belts in the USA, names like: J Crew. Nordstroms, Banana Republic, LL Bean, Saks and Orvis.
So Why Does The USA Still Make Belts?
So why does the USA make belts? One reason is because America makes great leather, maybe second only to Italy, and much better than the Chinese imports. Second, belts are not very labor intensive to make. In fact, belts are so easy to make that frequently one will encounter independent merchants (like at art and craft faires) that sell belts that they have crafted themselves. Also, for certain companies it is quite easy to make belts from the excess leather that they used for boots, these companies would be Tony Lama, Red Wing, Nocona, Chippewa, and Justin.
Types of Belts
There are many types of belts. For the women there are dress belts (usually made of leather), casual belts, fabric belts. There are waist belts, hip belts, skinny belts, gem belts, jeans belts, whip belts, wrap belts, and chain belts.
For Men: there are a multitude of choices as well: dress, casual, western, and fabric.
Men’s belts are usually made of leather but more exotic ones can be made of Ostrich, bison, alligator, or occasionally snake.
Belts are our friends. They can make clothing go from dowdy to chic instantaneously. They can add a splash of color, keep pants in place, flatter an hourglass figure, or do all three at once. Experiment!
Places to Buy Made in USA Belts
Brands of Belts Found in Brick and Mortar Stores
- Allen Edmonds (Dress belts)
- A. J. Skins (Crocodile, Alligator and Lizard Belts) – through Sterling Kane
- American Apparel
- B-Low the belt (women’s fashion belts)
- Banana Republic
- Bills Khakis
- Brighton – (dress, casual and western)
- Brooks Brothers (rare – dress)
- Bruno Magli (rare)
- Calibrate (rare)
- Chippewa (Western belts)
- Donna Karan (uncommon)
- Freemans Sporting Club
- J. Crew
- Justin (Western belts)
- Kiel James Patrick – (sailing belts)
- Leatherock (women’s belts)
- Leejin (Dress, casual and western)
- LL Bean
- Martin Dingman (dress, casual and fabric belts)
- Nocona (Western belts)
- Nordstroms (mens, women’s dress and casual)
- Oscar De la Renta
- Rag & Bone
- Red Wing
- Remo Tulliani – (Men’s dress belts US and Italy)
- Robert Graham
- Sak’s (Made in Canada)
- Schnees – (Western belts)
- Silver Creek (Western belts)
- Streets Away
- St. John
- Sun Valley
- Tony Lama (western belts)
- Tori Burch (women’s belts)
- Trafalgar (Men’s dress belts)
- Tulliani (Remo) also see #36
- W. Kleinberg (Dress belts)
Belts Made in USA Found Via the Internet
- All American Buckles
- All American Clothing
- American Custom Leathers
- Amish Made Belts
- Archival Clothing (at hickorees.com)
- Ball and Buck (one or two belts)
- Beltcraft – Custom made, different colors and styles
- BillyKirk (men and women’s casual belts)
- Bullhide Belts(western belts)
- Bullet Blues – (western belts)
- Cellar Leather
- Diamond Gussett (western belts)
- Duluth Trading
- Eagle USA
- Flint and Tinder
- Gaveleather.net (western belts)
- General Knot and Co. Made out of vintage fabrics.
- Justin(western belts)
- Just Madras
- Leather Man (at hickorees.com)
- Loggerhead Apparel
- Moonshine Leather Company
- Natural Reflections
- Orion Leather Company
- Pacific Star Leather Belts
- Red Ant Pants
- Royden Leather Belts
- Rogue Territory
- Shepler (western belts)
- Sole Survivor
- Thomas Bates
- Torino Leather (Not all US made)
- Wyoming Leather (Western belts)
- Your Tack(western belts)
The lists were from Listing of American Clothing Brands – Retail and Listing of Brands Clothing Made in the USA via Internet.