When did belt loops become common?


When did belt loops become common?


Steve Prescott

Watauga, Texas

Not all historians agree on the timing.

Bob Charnes, owner of Arizona Gunfighters, a re-enactment group, has seen belt loops on baseball uniforms dating back to 1857. Even so, he admits the “belt loops never caught on with the general public at that time.” Others claim belt loops were also used, albeit rarely, on military uniforms during the Civil War.

Levi’s historian Lynn Downey says, “We first put belt loops on our 501 jeans in 1922. However, we didn’t remove the cinch and the suspender buttons. Older customers just kept using the cinch and suspenders. We took the suspender buttons off the jeans in 1937, but gave our retailers ‘press-on’ buttons for the guys who just had to keep wearing suspenders.”

Still another source says that the hot summer of 1893 first drove men to give up their braces and opt for belts. The trend continued, and the acceptability of belts increased.

Remember, styles among men changed much more slowly than they did for women, so switching from suspenders and cinches to belt loops was a slow process.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.