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Leather belts have long been considered popular fashion accessories; however, the many different types tend to go in and out of style with each year’s passing trends. Details such as the buckle, texture of the leather, and the manner in which the belts are worn can often be indicative of certain eras in fashion.
The 1980s featured a wide selection of different styles of leather belts, ranging from very thin ones to wide ones that resembled cummerbunds. Wide belts were often made of very soft, flexible leather or synthetic leather, and featured large, plastic buckles in circle or square shapes. They were sometimes worn loosely on the hips, a style that has since made a fashion comeback in the new millennium. Other 1980s styles that have since resurfaced include checkered belts and belts with metal studs and draping chains.
In the early 1990s, woven leather belts became a popular mainstream fashion item. These styles were often sold in earth colors, such as beige, brown, and black, but they have since received an update, becoming popular in metallic colors. Another style popularized in the 1990s featured large, metallic buckles and tips, sometimes in shapes such as flowers or butterflies.
Modern leather belts come in various shapes and styles that are both retro-inspired and contemporary. Unique buckles have become a popular way to distinguish plain belts from the pack. Belt buckles of today come in several novelty shapes and with various insignias of pop culture, such as those featuring pictures or engravings of popular bands and artists or brand name logos. Those featuring large, cowboy-style buckles have long been a timeless feature of Western wear and fashion.
Leather belts are most often worn with jeans; however, more “sleek” styles, such as thick belts or tied “rope” belts can also be worn with formal wear. Genuine leather belts most often bear a stamp on the inside in order to distinguish them from belts made of synthetic materials.
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