Why Do Cowboys Wear Big Belt Buckles? (6 Reasons Why)

Why Do Cowboys Wear Big Belt Buckles?

Belt buckles are a key part of the cowboy’s outfit. They are one of the most recognizable parts of western apparel as they are symbolic of strength and stature. The color is often silver, red, or gold and is sometimes embellished with diamonds.

They are also more than just decorations; they symbolize protection from harm, showing that you trust someone or that you have something valuable they could want.

What Does a Cowboy Belt Buckle Mean?

The color of the buckle can have several meanings, as it represents strength and protection but also that the man wearing it, who might be a rancher or a lawman, is ready to defend himself and his family if need be.

It can also be used as a badge to showcase achievements. Just like the big boxing belts saying heavyweight champion of the world cowboy belt buckles can also display various awards and victories such as in rodeos for example. The buckle can also make a clear statement about what the person does.

Montana Silversmiths Officially Licensed Dale Brisby Western Belt Buckle (Dale Brisby Invitational 1987 - Antiqued Two Tone)

So, why does a cowboy wear big belt buckles? It all comes down to what meaning you want people to take from your belt buckle…


6 Reasons Why Cowboys Wear Big Belt Buckles

Cowboys are known for being tough and bold. They’re also known for wearing big belt buckles all the time. While it’s not mandatory, these days cowboys with big belt buckles are stylistically accepted as tough and bold.

  1. They make the wearer look taller: Big belt buckles make a person look taller.
  2. They make the wearer look more masculine: They make the wearer look tough and manly: If you want to look tough and manly, wear a full-size belt buckle on your pants.
  3. They make the wearer look richer: With a big belt buckle, you can show off that nice shiny piece of metal hanging from your waistline. They represent a statement about wealth and status: When people see someone wearing big belt buckles, they know that person has lots of money just by looking at them.
  4. They identify with the cowboy lifestyle: If there’s one thing all cowboys have in common, it’s wearing big belt buckles. They make the wearer look rugged and tough: There’s nothing as rugged as a cowboy hat and big belt buckle combined.
  5. It’s a fashion statement: Many people like the way belts look, so it’s easy to see how someone could get carried away with the trend. A belt buckle is a nice accent to any outfit, and in some cases, it can make or break an outfit — think of the Western movie archetypes like Clint Eastwood or John Wayne or even modern-day cowboy stars like Colin Farrell or Kevin Costner.
  6. Safety: Buckles are designed to expand as belts are worn and loosened, offering extra security against slipping off the waist.

Wearing a big belt buckle is a way to show that you ride a horse and are in touch with your roots. It shows that you’re a manly western cowboy who isn’t afraid to wear a full-size belt buckle on your pants, giving everyone an idea of how much money you have and how tough you are.


How Do You Wear a Cowboy Belt Buckle?

One of the simplest ways to wear a belt buckle is to make sure that it is centered and the holes are facing the same direction. The buckle should be directly over the edge of your pants so that there is no gap between your pants and the buckle.

 

QUKE Bronze Long Horn Bull Rodeo Western Cowboy Belt Buckle For Men

 

Wearing a belt buckle isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s also a way to show off your style and personality. When you’re wearing a belt buckle, you can take advantage of the weight distribution the buckle provides to make your pants fit flatter on your waistline. You can wear it casually, but it’s also good for dressy events such as weddings or buffets.

Get the right size: A belt with too much room can bunch up under the buckle unless you use a belt strap to hold it in place. On the other hand, if your buckle isn’t tight enough, it’ll bounce around when you walk.


What Are Cowboy Buckles Called?

Cowboy buckles are usually called just that — cowboy buckles but another common term for them would be western buckles.

Cowboy buckles are one of the most common types of belt buckles. They’re favored by country Western band members, as well as members of other country music bands and fans.

Traditionally, cowboy buckles come in three varieties:

  1. Western (or Imperial) – is a common buckle style in the American West. This type is characterized by its curved shape and a “silver plate” design on the front face. The silver plate will often bear the logo of the manufacturer or retailer that makes it.
  2. Shoestring – is similar in shape to the western buckle, but features a narrower design with a more traditional look. It tends to be more durable than an imperial buckle and is often preferred for business attire because it’s more formal looking.
  3. Straight bar – is like an imperial buckle on steroids with a much wider front face. These are usually reserved for dress belts, although some people prefer them for workwear and casual wear as well.

Did Cowboys Have Belt Loops?

Belt loops were first used in Europe in the late 18th century but didn’t gain popularity until people started wearing modern pant clothing, which was easier to wear with a belt.

 

Montana Silversmiths Men's Initial Two Tone Cameo Attitude Western Oval Belt Buckle (Initial R)

 

So, no cowboys did not have belt loops at least until the early 1900s. Previous to that date they kept their pants up by wearing suspenders.


In summary, for some people, cowboy boots are a fashion statement. For others, it’s a way to get the job done. Either way, the no-nonsense buckles of a cowboy boot have become a part of American culture.

Cowboy buckles are a popular style for belts, but you don’t have to be a Western cowboy to wear them. You can use any kind of buckle that suits your personal style and is practical for the job at hand.

You may also be interested in… Can You Wear Leggings with Booties? (What About Boots & Cowboy Boots?) and What Shoes to Wear with Chinos?