We all know from movies like Titanic and shows like Downton Abbey how Edwardian fashion looked. Gowns were much freer flowing than the rigid taffeta ones from the Victorian era, and showed off women’s figures more than previous styles of clothing. However, while we all know this, we never talk about a critical piece of Edwardian clothing: the belt. In women’s fashions, belts were almost always necessary. Dresses and skirt/blouse combinations were almost always paired with a belt to cinch in the waist. Without a belt, Edwardian fashion would strongly resemble that of the Roaring 20s, with shapeless dresses that embodied the women’s movement. Corsets were still worn, and women wanted to emphasize their small waists with belts.
Belts were shaped in many different ways, but there were a few fashions that pertained to evening gowns versus day dresses. Thicker belts were mostly used for evening dresses, while thinner belts were used with day dresses. Belts that were higher in the back and lower in the front to give a sort of “dipped waist” look was common in the period. And, sometimes, they could be even more intricate than the dresses they were paired with. Belts could be embroidered and filled with beading and lace details, a truly unique accessory to an outfit. At least more unique and interesting than the belts that we use with our jeans today. With evening gowns, fancy sashes could be used the same way, but were not used as often as real belts. The most common belt was a pointed shape, though. These belts were paired most typically with blouse and skirt outfits, and were most often neutral colors so they could be reused for multiple outfits.
Here at Recollections, we have a selection of belts that would make any Edwardian fashion fan swoon. We have the most popular, pointed Edwardian style . We also have an assortment of dipped waist belts that can be paired with both evening gowns and day dresses for flexibility. If you have an Edwardian outfit that you want to look truly complete, you should invest in an Edwardian belt. You will look pulled together and complete.
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