30 Different Types of Belt Buckles (Western, Adjustable…)

They can be small or they can be large. Either way, a belt buckle influences your fashion style. No matter their size, these accessories can make or break your look. The good news is that there are so many different types and styles that the latter result may be rare.

There are probably more types of belt buckles than anyone wants to admit to existing. There are hundreds of customized options that commemorate different occasions, achievements as well as bring a new look to your wardrobe.

To learn more about the different styles of belt buckles, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you know how much freedom and creativity are at your disposal. The key is not to push the envelope too far when selecting one for your latest fashion trend.

What Are Belt Buckles Called?

The basic alternative or more technical names for a belt buckle would be clasp or fastener. The reason for those terms is that they express the function of the belt buckle in easy to understand terminology.

The buckle does fasten or clasp two ends of a piece of leather, fabric, or plastic and holds them together until the grip is released. The term buckle comes from the French word ‘bocler’ which when translated literally means ‘bulge’ and that is what belt buckles tend to do. They restrain the bulge in the middle of your body.

Other names for belt buckles come from the design and function of the belt buckle. There is the screw, the clamp, the stitch, the tongue, and the double side. There are a lot more and there may be so many that even 30 does not do the belt buckle justice when trying to account for all the different names and types of belt buckles.

The ones just mentioned are probably the ones you will come across the most when you are in search of a new belt. But your favorite fashion store may have many of the other types as well.

How Many Types of Belt Buckle


There are many different types of belt buckles, and their design depends on the purpose as well as the source. By the latter, we mean that some belt buckles are known to be military-style simply because they originated with the military.

In fact, it is said that before the 19th century, the military were the ones using buckles but that may be contested. Then some buckles started when rodeos started to hand them out as prizes to winning contestants. These were made of silver, were and are very large, and came with some intricate designs.

Don’t confuse the rodeo buckle with the western type of buckle. The latter option is completely different from the former and usually has some turquoise in it. They were also made with some very complicated designs.

Then belt buckles are worn simply to allow the user to express themselves. When this reason is used, you end up with a myriad of different types of belt buckles and reflect the mood or personality of the person wearing them.

We put the number 30 in the headline but that number may pale when compared to the actual number of belt buckle types. Some people have listed more and others less. The total may depend on how the different belt buckles are categorized.

Different Types of Belt Buckles

We have already stated 5 earlier but that is just the tip of the iceberg as there are more types than there is space to write their names. But we will give you a few of the names to add to the earlier list.

  • 1. The plate style - this design uses a 3 hook and 2 clasp system to hold the belt and your midriff in place.
  • 2. The frame style - this is probably the oldest style you can find. It is the typical square shape with a single tongue to put in the belt holes.
  • 3. The snap style - worn more with casual outfits but it is not as popular as other options due to the complexity of the snap design.
  • 4. The box frame - may be paired with a web belt as it is a sturdy design. Plus, it became popular during the last century.
  • 5. D/O style - no tongue is included and the belt can be tightened or loosened by adjusting the fabric that goes through the buckle.
  • 6. The box-out style - more of a traditional look but it is very versatile in that it can be for creative fashion looks or casual wear.

Types of Belt Buckles Names


We do not really want to repeat ourselves so we will start with the custom style. That is the name of this category as the belt buckles are designed to meet the wearer’s occupation, their achievements, their organization membership, or even their college or fraternity they belonged to.

There are hundreds of different belt types in this category and they may use more than one style to express those sentiments. Then there is the tongue buckle which is more of a traditional belt buckle design. This category can be divided up into single and double styles.

You have the reversible, the double side, and the double rings (which we have already mentioned). Not to mention the auto and the click with the former option divided into multiple categories as well.

On top of those buckle names, there is also the pin, the flip, the self-defense buckle, the automatic locking splice, the automatic latch, webbing, the clip-on, clip latch, the rigger, and the dress buckle.

All of these options have their own particular purpose and use but nothing stops you from being innovative when it comes to fashion design, except if the look is actually ugly and does not go with the buckle.

Western Belt Buckle Types

The first thing you have to do when it comes to this type of belt buckle is not to confuse these buckles with the rodeo types. The two are not the same and are usually worn for different reasons.

The western style is going to be designed with a more of a western motif than a competitive one. The competitive buckle usually has the name of the competition, the year it was won, and where the competition took place.

When one looks at the western type, they will see a unique design that is often not copied. These can be one-of-a-kind designs or they can be massed produced. The two things these different western belt buckles will have in common are that the metal will be etched and there are silver and turquoise used in the construction.

The designs can also be very complex in nature although it is possible to get more simplified styles if one does not want to overdo it in their fashion look. The average size of these buckles is about 2 1/2 by 3 1/4 inches. But that is average size only and you should be able to find one in the exact size you want it in.

Adjustable Belt Buckle Types


There may be a lot of them around but the stitch style seems to be the type that uses this feature the most. Being able to adjust the buckle to make yourself more comfortable is an attractive feature.

Then there is the slide buckle and instead of moving the belt through the loops, you slide the buckle where you need it to be. This option makes it easier to close backpacks, purses, bags, luggage, and other containers.

You may find some chape-style buckles on vintage clothing or shoes. Invented around the 17th century these buckles had removable center pins or chapes. The chape is a fixed cover that does the attaching to the belt band the mordent or bite of the buckle is what is adjustable.

Adjustable buckles may be hard to find and it will depend on how thorough your fashion accessory outlet is when it comes to putting different buckles on their shelves.

Types of Belt Buckle Closures

All belt buckles are a form of closure but this sub-topic is probably referring to the type of security device the belt buckles have on them to hold the belt in place as you move. While there are many belt buckle designs, there may not be as many closure designs.

One option is the tongue where the prong is attached to the rear of the buckle and can move up or down until you are ready to slip it through the belt hole. Then there is the snap or click style of closure. This is where prongs on one side of the buckle click into a design that holds the buckle together with a little click.

Many fabric or loop belts may use the D and the O ring buckle but there are no clips, prongs, or hooks. It is the pressure placed on the belt by the rings that hold the belt in place.

The clip-on needs two parts as well to fasten the belt and the hook style simply needs a hole deep enough to hold the buckle in place. Finally, some buckles like the flip-style use teeth to grasp the material and hold it where you want it until you are ready to release the grip.

Do You Need a Special Belt for a Belt Buckle?


Not really. The only issue you will find here is that some buckles are not for certain types of fabrics. From the examples we have seen, most of the buckles we have listed work well with leather materials.

The leather is held into place by rivets and wrapped around the one end of the buckle to make sure it will hold. But leather is usually a stiff and hard fabric and using buckles like D rings, clip and snap or click buckles just won’t work that well.

Then the buckles made for webbing or pure fabric should not work with leather as that material is too inflexible to adjust correctly and get the right hold. Western and rodeo belt buckles are ideal for leather belts but not so great for fabric, crochet, or web-type material.

The key is to match the fabric the belt will be made from to the buckle that works the best with that material. This is not creating a special fabric but using the strengths of the different materials available and making sure they get the proper buckle to hold the belt closed.

Do Belt Buckles Fit All Belts?

No, buckles don’t fit all belts, and as we just mentioned the buckle should be matched to the fabric correctly to get the perfect security you need for your event or daily activities. While you may be proud of your achievements or memberships, custom belt buckles do not always go well with certain functions like formal or semi-formal events.

While there are different widths of material that makeup belts, buckles for thin belts do not look good on wider ones and may not have the strength to hold that wider belt together. Buckles made for wide belts may be placed on thin ones but that may be cover doing it and overpowering the fabric of the belt.

That is a key point. The strength of a buckle is a determining factor when it comes to choosing the right one to place on the belt you are currently wearing. it is not a good idea to have a weak belt buckle that can snap at the wrong moment and in the wrong location.

The buckle needs to have the strength to work with the material you are using for the belt. The design of the buckle may not work for the fashion statement or outfit you want to wear.

How Big Are Belt Buckles


Belt buckles can be just about any size you want them to be. Just keep their size within reason. The rodeo belt buckle can be quite large often going over 4 inches in every direction. Then some plastic types can be huge but that size actually works with the type of outfit you are wearing.

Then some buckles can be very small. We have seen some that may be no larger than an inch and the reason it is so small is that the waist it is going around is not that big.

Children’s belt buckles will be on the small side of things in most cases. Those options will grow bigger as the child grows older and taller. All this is saying is that you will find different belt buckles in different sizes.

It may be that some styles may all be made in the same size and if you want a bigger or smaller belt buckle, you may have to go to another type to find that size. Having seen fashion accessory stores, we know that there is a wide range of belt buckle sizes for you to choose from.

Types of Belt Buckle Screws

There are a few versions of this important feature on some belt buckles. usually, these types of screws can come in 2 parts and look a little bit like rivets. One side does look like the top of a rivet yet has threads on the inside of the hollow wall. The other part simply screws in with the aid of a Phillips or flat head screwdriver.

The material used to make these pieces of belt buckles also varies as you can get them in bad steel, nickel-plated, brass, or other materials. The shape of these screws also varies and depending on the style of your buckle will determine the shape of the screw.

The length and width of the screws will also vary making sure you can find one that will replace the one that broke or got lost. Where you buy these screws depends on how you want to shop.

You can go to Amazon or other online accessory stores, your local fabric shops, and possibly your local hardware stores. These screws have more applications than just belt buckles. Their cost will also vary but that seems par for the course as just about everything varies with these screws.

Some Final Words

We obviously did not mention every type of belt buckle there is. We have barely mentioned plastic as that is the weakest material you can use for a belt buckle, even if it looks good on your outfit.

And you do not need to use a western belt to express who you are. You can make that statement no matter which type of belt buckle you use. The most important parts of a buckle are that they fit the outfit, look good, and are strong enough to stay where you put them giving you plenty of security.

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