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Carol Perkins: Wardrobe reminiscing

Previous column: Little things can have a big effect

By Carol Perkins

When my friend told me about finding some old belts in the back of her closet, we both reminisced about the days when they were part of our wardrobe. Shirt-waist dresses required belts, and they became just as much of an accessory as a necklace or gloves. The girls of the fifties and sixties wore tiny belts that cinched the waist and accented church dresses. I liked wearing a red belt with something gray, but white and black belts were the most popular. Other than cowboy belts for their Western wear, I doubt any woman wears a belt today.

The type of belt we wore depended on our outfits. In addition to the thin ones, by the time I was in high school, belts increased in width and were often made of fabric, such as one that wrapped around the midriff and tied in the front or was threaded through a metal ring and pulled tight to the waist.

Also popular were those that snapped in the front with a bow covering the snap and we wore cummerbunds. Those of us who sewed could make our own belts, and the hardest thing to do was "cover" the belt buckle. It was worse than trying to make covered buttons. By the sixties, some belts dropped to the hips to accent those long-waisted dresses or jumpers.

The worse belt was the wide elastic one that clipped together in the middle. If they came undone, they could sail across a classroom. Thin belts were a must with jeans back then, but now the preferred belt would be a decorative, studded one. When have you bought a pair of pants or jeans that had belt loops? I saw a lady not long ago wearing her shirttail tucked in her jeans and a thin white belt, a throwback of the sixties.

Dresses were once referred to as "belted" or "sack" dresses. When Twiggy walked the runway in a sheath dress, the market changed. In the seventies, girls wore them with go-go boots (white plastic ones), and then gradually, dresses turned to mini-skirts, and the styles went more toward pants than dresses. I have been through decades of styles, but for the last forty, mine has seldom changed, and I haven't worn a belt in years.

As for men, their styles seldom change, and they rarely leave the house without a belt. Most of them are leather; however, at one time, the canvas belt was fashionable as were suspenders. Most men wear a belt until the leather turns white, adding notches when needed (making a hole with a pocketknife). Some brothers liked to make their belts pop and hit their sisters when they weren't looking! As for young boys today, I'm not sure about belts; if they wear them, we wouldn't have to say, "Pull up your pants!"

Take time to check out the back of your closet, see how many belts you find and how far they will reach around your middle. Then again, that might not be a good idea!

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2019-11-15 06:43:13
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