When Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) wore a lime inexperienced belt cinched excessive round her higher stomach with a low-waisted tropical-print skirt, a pink midriff-baring button-down, and a tumbleweed-inspired headpiece in Sex and the City (Season 4, Episode 15), viewers’ brows furrowed. Even for Carrie — whose best-known outfits embody a Kermit green mini skirt with a bustle and a bandeau bra paired with a cowboy hat — carrying one thing as utilitarian as a belt in a approach that serves zero bodily goal is questionable at greatest.
Even SATC costume designer Patricia Field was thrown off by the look — and he or she created it. “The show ran for six years and there were about 24 episodes a season, so that’s a lot of outfits, but I only have one where I look at it and say, ‘Eh,’” she told Repeller in 2018. “She was wearing a skirt and a crop top, and I threw a belt around her… waist.”
What’s extra puzzling in regards to the look, although, is the truth that 20 years after Carrie’s selection of waist accent left hundreds of thousands scratching their heads, folks are actually seemingly warming as much as the thought of carrying belts, to not preserve their pants up, however reasonably as a tool to make their outfit look fairly or in any other case eye-catching. For one cause or one other, pointless belts are certainly a development in 2021.
In July, Olivia Rodrigo headed to the White House to persuade her fellow members of Gen Z that the vaccine is “Good 4 U.” For the event, she wore a pink plaid skirt go well with from Chanel’s spring ‘95 assortment, paired with white Giuseppe Zanotti platforms and a silver Chanel chain belt that was connected to nothing in any respect. In the times following her nationwide TV look, world trend procuring platform Lyst reported a 121% week-over-week surge in searches for look-alike waist ornaments.
In an identical trend, Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Lady Gaga paired no-work-and-all-play stomach chains and belts with bikinis this summer season, whereas Beyoncé, Bella Hadid, and Kim Kardashian styled theirs with ready-to-wear. On catwalks, extra waist baubles appeared at Blumarine, Jacquemus, Chanel, and Dior. Though styled in several methods, all the above have one factor in widespread: their belts, like Carrie’s, did nothing in the best way of holding something up. In truth, they served no utilitarian goal in any respect.
We couldn’t assist however surprise: What does it say in regards to the world that one thing as purposeful as a belt is now being worn as a garnish, similar to a cocktail ring or a string of pearls? And how does trend’s present curiosity within the development tie again to Carrie’s look in 2001, in addition to these worn by Christina Milian, Beyoncé, and extra throughout Y2K?
According to Dr. Carolyn Mair, a cognitive psychologist who specialises in trend, we’re presently experiencing an identical zeitgeist to the early aughts, which was marked by concern of unknown advances in tech, world financial and political issues, and terrorism. Those fears stay current in the present day, however with the added stressors of a pandemic. “With fear comes excitement — fear agitates,” Mair tells Refinery29. She says that in such cases, there are three reactions: keep and battle, run away, or just keep the identical, ignoring the realities in entrance of you. “Fashion doesn’t stay the same, and fashion followers have decided to fight: to be seen and to go for every opportunity to be seen that comes their way.” In flip, fashionable people throughout this time of upheaval have turned to over-the-top trend — flashy belts included — even when their justification for carrying it’s purely based mostly on model.
Today, we’re “fighting” for one thing a bit completely different than we had been in March 2020. Then, we dressed for our private security, carrying clothes that would shield us: masks, after all, but additionally stay-away-from-me shoulders and cumbersome boots that seemed prepared for the apocalypse. We carried massive luggage and our garments featured even greater pockets in order that we had all potential requirements on us at any given time. Now, we’re pursuing the freedoms we acquired a style of after lockdown restrictions ended within the U.S. and vaccines turned available. Those freedoms embody the freedom to put on no matter we please, with out the necessity to take into account security when getting dressed.
Dr. Dawnn Karen, trend psychologist and the creator of Dress Your Best Life: How to Use Fashion Psychology to Take Your Look — and Your Life — to the Next Level, believes that pointless belts are straight tied to this. According to her, belts that solely perform as decor symbolises the liberty to put on issues that 365-plus days in the past, we couldn’t — or a minimum of had no use for. Mair agrees: “Some people are dressing more frivolously and in a more fun way as an expression of freedom and excitement at their newfound ability to socialize as they wish.”
Karen additionally attributes the rise of wholly ornamental traits just like the pointless belt to that déjà vu feeling we’re all beginning to get in regards to the second wave of lockdowns. Because of the Delta variant, we’ve returned to a state of warning in regards to the unknown. At any second, we may very well be ushered again indoors. So why not gown to extra, flaunting our wildest and most extravagant ensembles, whereas we nonetheless can?
“We spent over a year never hearing a compliment,” she says, “of no one saying, ‘Oh, I love your blouse,’ or ‘Cute dress.’” Now that we’ve been in a position to expertise these kinds of exterior affirmations once more, it is going to be tough to return to solitude. For that cause, Karen says that many are loading up on equipment, whether or not they serve a goal or not, as a result of, as scary because it sounds, “the clock is ticking.”
Other causes for the resurrection of the pointless belt are extra easy. Since the development cycle dictates that types come again en vogue each 20 years or so, the return of Y2K-era belts isn’t precisely shocking. Just in time for the two-decade mark, low-rise denims, tube tops, trucker hats, stomach chains, and extra staples from the early noughties are experiencing a second wave in 2021.
But whereas we are able to blame the development cycle for a lot of the aforementioned Y2K traits, there’s one thing extra bewildering about an merchandise as utilitarian and sensible as a belt being worn for ornamental functions solely. Then once more, with the concern of one other lockdown looming, possibly we must always spend rather less time worrying about issues as inconsequential as an aesthetically pleasing belt, and a bit extra time enacting no matter sartorial chaos makes getting dressed extra pleasant.