The belt is a great way to draw attention to the waist. It constricts and adds curves to even the simplest ensemble. During the Victorian era, the extravagance of garments trickled into the accessories. Belts were luxuriously made with lace and ruffles, adding to the extravagance of the ensemble. Despite most women having a corseted waist, they still wore belts to draw attention to their waists. Belts were commonly worn over top of the ensemble.
Corsetlets or cincher belts were worn over top of a blouse, emphasizing the waist and chest of the wearer. Throughout Queen Victoria's reign, women wore tight-laced corsets and achieved shockingly small waists. Some notable waists included the 14-inch waist of French actress Polaire and the 20-inch waist of Empress Elizabeth of Austria.
Belts for women didn't really become popular until the early 1900s. As sportswear became popular towards the end of the Victorian era, women commonly wore blouses and long skirts with belts. During this time, corsets had taken a S-shape or swan-bill form. Corsets eventually fell in favor, as women preferred a less harmful and more natural silhouette. Belts became more and more popular beyond this date as women still preferred to emphasize their waists.
Not only do we have corsetlets and sashes for the Victorian woman at Recollections, but we also have belts from other eras throughout history. Our v-shaped belts are the perfect topper for a late Victorian or Edwardian ensemble, while our cinch belts are great for a 1940s or 1950s get up. Not only are our belts functional, but they're also highly attractive and offered in sizes XS to XXXXL. Complete your favorite period ensemble with a belt from Recollections!