Half Belt History

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Mr Knight, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. Mr Knight

    Mr Knight Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Hey folks,

    Hope everyone is well and staying safe during the current pandemic.

    I’m interested in the history of the half belt back design seen on a lot of civilian jackets from the past and frequently replicated by our favourite established jacket manufacturers.

    Consequently I’m wondering how this design came in to fruition, my main understanding is that it allowed jackets to be constructed from multiple smaller leather pieces and this allowed manufacturers to better utilise their hide stock without requiring larger panels to be cut. Is this accurate? Or is there a practical reason for the design? I noticed that the side cinches sit higher on this style of jacket so pondered the idea that this allowed the ‘false belt’ to pull the jacket in at the back without causing the back to distort.

    I’m aware I could just ask Aero etc directly but I respect that they’ll be busy dealing with phone/email sale enquiries and don’t want to hold them up during these current times. Plus I hope it’ll give us all something to discuss.
     
    Benny Holiday likes this.
  2. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,946
    Location:
    London
    I am not sure how the half belt has anything to do with panel sizes. Leather saving with panel size was more to do with back designs like the sunburst and things like that.

    To me the half belt itself is just an evolution of a belted coat.

    Early on a lot of coats had full belts, then came on the removable belts, these coats had a belt in the back and buttons on the side for you to attach two removable belt pieces that would fasten in the front.

    http://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/product-detail.php?id=1471

    The next logical evolutionary step would be to ditch the belts and add cinch buckles to the sides.
     
  3. Mr Knight

    Mr Knight Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    I’m aware that jackets used to have belts but wondered why back belts were retained in the designs whilst cinches made the function of them pretty much redundant, other than just a case of being a ‘throwback’ fashion detail.
     
  4. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,946
    Location:
    London
    I think the back belt was just kept cause it looks "right". It follows the body's natural proportions.
    Compare these two, the side cinches are not even aligned with the belt, still IMO the belted one looks much better.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Mr Knight

    Mr Knight Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    You make a fair point, I did notice some jackets half belts and cinches didn’t align which put the ‘practical’ theory in doubt but thanks for clarifying.

    IMO the standard generic half belts look a little odd to me as it almost looks like someone has cut the belt off, similar practice as opposed to tying the belt behind the back like you see on a lot of Belstaff jackets. None the less they do look very cool from a vintage (Sportclad etc). Subjectivity of different tastes I suppose.

    To me the only designs that seem to blend the half belt in are the Dustbowl, Sunburst & Hooch Hauler from Aero as well as the Caboose & Sunrise from Freewheelers, the extra seams allowing the belt to not stand out as much.
     
  6. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,931
    Location:
    Illinois
    The half-belt is also referred to as a sewn in belt. When I think of it this way I see it as a structural piece; adding stiffness, strength, reinforcement, definition. Most early leather jackets were not made of heavy leather. To provide shape, sense of design, they used belts, multi piece backs. Plus it looks better!

    I will search the Sears catalog for their earliest depiction.
     
  7. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,931
    Location:
    Illinois
    Half belt with gathered sides. This seems to go back to the WWII, maybe in relationship to military construction and lack of metal pieces. To me these work better than the strap and buckle. They really tailor the fit. Did not replace the strap system.

    The classic Windward re-issued by Eastman has gathered sides. I have seen one that had the side strap set up.

    This is a Horsehide Sierra leather. Probably a label used by one of the San Francisco bay area makers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,709
    Location:
    Australia
    My understanding is the half-belt comes out of the fashion grammar of the early 20th century and was first seen in tweed and corduroy jackets. The look migrated across to leather. Most things you see in jackets are about period aesthetics or an attempt to freshen up a look or set it apart from another. And yes, sometimes choices are made to save on having to find larger pieces of leather. Of course then another problem occurs - extra effort and time putting a complex back together - such as the Sunburst look.

    Not sure this is a period one but they were a 1920's-30's look.

    Jacket.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.