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A waistband

A waistband is a strip of material that is either elastic or some other confining fabric that encircles the waist.[1]

Historically, in northern India, waistbands served various purposes including fastening miscellaneous items to oneself, such as knives.[2] In ancient history in the southern Levant, the waistband could serve as a status symbol when people would adorn themselves with ornaments attached to their waistbands.[3] In the early 19th century, members of some Taoist branches had their waistbands colored as a distinguisher and in order to symbolize their membership of the sect.[4] Among some members of the Yoruba, the placement of beads upon their waistbands is an established tradition that is believed to enhance and accentuate a women's femininity.[5] In the western world during the 19th century, the contortion of waistbands was less pronounced due to the fashionability of suspenders.[6]

The dimensions of the waistband serve as a contrivance for streamlining waist measurements.[7] Waistbands are often designed with beltloops in order to allow for variation in case of manufacturer subtleties or weight variation in the wearer.[8] Waistbands for boxer shorts tend to be thicker than they are for briefs, and men's tend to be thicker than women's briefs.[9] In contemporary times, waistbands are more picturesque and scintillating compared to previous designs.[10] A recent Debenhams survey revealed that the placement of one's waistband by males varies with age, with mid-teen boys placing them the lowest, while it steadily rises until the age of 57.[11] In more modern times, the waistband is also employed as a method for men to conceal a manbulge during an erection.[12] In stretchy waistbands, the material can be made of various materials including rubber and latex.[13] The exposure of the underwear waistband has become a trend among followers of grunge music and hip-hop.[14]


  1. ^ Frank, Herter. "Belt-type side pocket waist adjustment for garments." U.S. Patent No. 3,638,242. 1 Feb. 1972.
  2. ^ Hansen, Kathryn. "The virangana in North Indian history: myth and popular culture." Economic and Political Weekly (1988): WS25-WS33.
  3. ^ Hesse, Rayner W. Jewelrymaking through history: An encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007.
  4. ^ Li, Xiaobing (2012). China at War: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. p. 111. 
  5. ^ Falola, Toyin (2016). Encyclopedia of the Yoruba. p. 46. 
  6. ^ Condra, Jill (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through World History: 1801 to the Present. p. 57. 
  7. ^ Schroeder, Warren C. "Garment suspension waistband." U.S. Patent No. 4,516,275. 14 May 1985.
  8. ^ Hawkins, Sherry D., and Saundra L. Lennartz. "Pants With A Weight-Distributing Waistband." U.S. Patent Application No. 12/948,333.
  9. ^ Capelle, Catherine L. "Waist band for women's garments." U.S. Patent No. 4,688,271. 25 Aug. 1987.
  10. ^ Davenport, Irese. "Pants construction stabilized by integral undergarment." U.S. Patent No. 8,074,298. 13 Dec. 2011.
  11. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8487106.stm
  12. ^ Smith, Richard. The dieter's guide to weight loss during sex. Workman Publishing, 1978.
  13. ^ Turkington, Carol (2009). The Encyclopedia of Skin and Skin Disorders, Third Edition. p. 20. 
  14. ^ Kimmel, Michael (2014). Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis. p. 226.