Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Incoming... Belts!

I have decided, Fashionable Reader, to do a series of blog posts on belts.

I have mixed relationship with this accessory, since I have a huge Rack but a small waist, cinching in anything remotely baggy makes me look short and top heavy, like Dolly Parton. It's not good. But leaving things loose and suddenly I'm 50 lbs heavier with no waist at all. This is why you will mostly see me in fitted dresses with belts. (And this is why I love corsets.)

Baggy versus fitted versus corseted

This ambivalence, however, doesn't stop me for buying belts and being fascinated by them. I have a collection of about 25 ranging from waist clinchers to skinny hipster, leather to metal, some for the hips, some for the waist. With a 10 inch difference only elastic belts can do double duty. In my defense, I did use to work for a leather company that made belts.

That said, belts are an important part of Sophronia's wardrobe in particular. Which is odd as in the 1850s belts were not all the common. The 1950s on the other hand!

1950s sewing pattern illustrations via theniftyfifties tumblr

Sophronia, however, always has to hang things off of belts. So I often seek inspiration from later on in history like the 1870s or 1890s ~ the luxury of writing steampunk.

 Godeys 1872: July Belt Reticule & Oct 1872 Belt Parasol

So, anyway, this series will cover various different styles of belts.

Decorative Belt ~ 2013 Carolina Herrera

Wide Belt ~ 2013 Son Jung Wan via nymag.com
Matched Belt ~ 1908  The Victoria & Albert Museum
Sash Belt ~ 1910-1913 Evening Dress  Georges Doeuillet, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Swiss Waist ~ 1900 via vivelareine tumblr
And for yout amusement I leave you with the infamous, bustling belt.

1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Belt Bow

1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Bow Belt Skirt in Action

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. I have to be very careful with belts because I have a short waist and if I get it wrong it looks silly! So I'm very interested to see your posts on belts.

    1. I'm very pleased to help! Belts can be devilishly difficult for those of us who are short waisted!


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