| Most people probably think that buckles were used only on shoes, but they were used as a general fastening tool on other pieces of clothing. From as early as the Eighth Century, a form of buckle, the brooch was used to fasten clothing, especially men's cloaks.
While continuing to serve as primarily a man's clothing fastener, by the 1700s, buckles were used on shoes, stockings, neck stocks, belts, and breeches.
Shoes tended to be fastened together by being constucted with uppers that had a strap on one side, and a buckle on the other. The man would slip his foot into the shoe, and then fit the strap into the buckle, pulling it as tight as necessary.
The stocking, i.e. hose, which a man wore over his foot, extended up to and past the knee. Elastic was not yet invented and used in stockings. The hose was held in place over the lower leg by means of wrapping a thin garter around the leg just below the knee. The garter was often made of supple leather, or perhaps silk, with its ends attached by a small buckle.
The item of clothing known as the neck stock was essentially a small belt, the ends of which were held together by a buckle, which was worn around the neck to hold the shirt collar together. A descendant of this article of clothing would be the tie.
Belts were sometimes worn at the waist to assist in holding pants (overalls and trousers) in place, but more often than not, if a man used a belt, it was to hold some article, such as a sword. With the ends of the belt fastened by a buckle, the belt could be slung over one shoulder with the article hanging down by the man's side.
The name given to pants which extended from the waist to just below the knee, to meet and cover the top of the hose, was breeches. Breeches tended to be fastened at the waist in the front by buttons, and at the back by cords which would be tied into a bow. Buckles were attached to the cuff of the leg of the knee-length breeches; they assisted buttons to hold the bottom of the breeches' leg together and tight just below the knee.
In terms of military use, such as for use during the American Revolutionary War, buckles were used on belts strapped to powder horns, cartridge boxes and other similar items that needed to be carried, but out of the soldier's hands. Also, buckles were used on horse harnesses and trappings.