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THE RISE IN POPULARITY OF THE BELT BUCKLE
In the early days Belt Buckles had a strong association with ancient military equipment, belt buckles were primarily a masculine ornament well into the 19th century.
Later Belt buckles became more popular as unisex fashion accessories in the 20th century, as the tops of trousers moved more toward the waist.
From the first half of the 20th century there were no more than a dozen major buckle manufacturers. Today there’s thousands if not millions of custom belt buckle makers but the older ones are the most prized for collections.
Western style belt buckles were largely popularized by cowboy movies in the United States and are often awarded to winners in rodeo events as prize medals or trophies. These belt Buckles became very popular after Hollywood began using them in movies, giving them a new "fresh cool belt buckle look."
This custom was later adopted by the general population in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Now they dominate the belt buckle production, as more fashionable and attractive but less functional.