A belt is a flexible band, made of either leather or a type of cloth, worn around the waist, generally serving the purpose of supporting clothing items that would otherwise become too loose, particularly trousers. A belt can also be for the purpose of style and decoration.
At one end of the belt is a belt buckle that is fashioned onto the other end of the belt. The other end of the belt contains several holes, into which a prong (which is part of the buckle) is inserted into for the purpose of securing the belt. Sometimes, there is a clamp system so that no holes are needed. In Western civilizations, males usually insert the belt through the pant loops in a counter-clockwise manner (as if looking upon from above), while females tend to insert the belt through the pant loops in a clockwise direction.
Since belts must be drawn tightly around the waist in order to hold up the pants, they may be less comfortable than suspenders, which allow trousers to hang loosely about the body.
Men started wearing belts in the 1920s, as trouser waists fell to a lower, natural line. Before the 1920s, belts served mostly a decorative purpose, and were associated with the military. Today, most men wear a belt with their pants; women tend to wear them for more decorative functions.
A variant of the belt is the utility belt , which includes pockets for carrying items that the wearer needs for prompt use and loops to hang larger items. Police officers, soldiers, and repair personnel are typical roles which use this kind of belt. The most famous fictional example is Batman's utility belt.
The sash is another variant of the belt.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04