A belt is a flexible band or strap, typically made of leather or heavy cloth, and worn around the waist. A belt supports trousers or other articles of clothing.
Belts have been documented for male clothing since the Bronze Age. Both genders used them off and on, depending on the current fashion. In the western world, belts were more common for men, with the exception of the early Middle Ages, late 17th century Mantua, and skirt/blouse combinations between 1900 and 1910. Art Nouveau belt buckles are now collector’s items.
In the period of the latter-half of the 19th century and up until the first World War, the belt was a decorative as well as utilitarian part of the uniform, particularly among officers. In the armed forces of Prussia, Tsarist Russia, and other Eastern European nations, it was common for officers to wear extremely tight, wide belts around the waist, on the outside of the uniform, both to support a saber as well as for aesthetic reasons. These tightly cinched belts served to draw in the waist and give the wearer a trim physique, emphasizing wide shoulders and a pouting chest. Often the belt served only to emphasize waist made small by a corset worn under the uniform, a practice which was common especially during the Crimean.