Luxury leather belts for men are both popular and functional, as is well-known. Less well-known is their long and distinguished history, stretching back for over two millennia.
Leather as a material has proved popular for so long by virtue of being supple but also strong and durable in nature.
The Ancient Egyptians carried leather bags and pouches, but the earliest examples of leather belts that we know about were worn by the Ancient Greeks and the Romans. They were less fashionable and more practical back then though, and not in the sense of holding trousers up (there were no trousers, just robes and tunics), but in providing a way of carrying weapons, tools, purses, and pouches, which were slung or hung off them. Sashes and straps had been worn for this reason informally perhaps as far back as the bronze age, but the Greeks and the Romans were as far as we know the first to standardise and refine the concept. As such, the familiar sight of Roman and Greek soldiers drawing their swords from their leather belts that we all know from epic films is in fact historically correct.
For these obvious practical qualities, of hanging weapons and tools from them, belts have remained popular with soldiers ever since. Again, familiar images of knights and crusaders drawing their swords from scabbards hung from their belts, and cowboys facing off before drawing their pistols from their belt holsters illustrate this. Today meanwhile, soldiers and policemen across the world keep their weapons, handcuffs, radios and other tools on their belts, unknowingly keeping alive the tradition of the Ancient Greeks.
Indeed, it was also soldiers that first wore belts decoratively, in the mid-nineteenth century, as European officers incorporated belts into their dress uniforms not only to hang their swords from, but also to enhance their appearance by emphasizing their thin waists in contrast to their wide chests and shoulders. Women soon followed suit, initially using sashes made from the same material as their dresses.
The belt crossed into the civilian realm early in the twentieth century, probably following the Great War, when soldiers returning from the front, now used to wearing belts, continued to do so. Previously, they had worn braces. Trouser waists dropped around this time too, and belt loops became common. The trend of luxury leather belts for men soon took off, fuelled in part by a craze for intricate, designer Art-Nouveau buckles in the 1920s. Women joined in too, as soon as they began to wear trousers, in the 1930s.
Today, luxury leather belts for men and women are a ubiquitous and essential fashion accessory. Available in a huge range of colours, designs and styles, they make a perfect gift.