Besides holding our pants up, belts can be an essential fashion accessory that puts the finishing touch on an outfit. While we don’t have to wear a belt with every outfit, there are times when it is expected, like whenever we have our shirts tucked in.
First and foremost our belts are accessories. Our belts can be flashy or understated, but they shouldn’t be the center piece of our outfits. The belt should serve to accentuate another part of our outfit, personality, or physique. Since the belt divides the two halves of our bodies, a flashy or contrasting belt can serve to psychologically shorten our appearance to others while a neutral belt that blends in will make us appear slightly taller.
The most basic rule of wearing a belt is to match it with our shoes. That is, the material, texture, and color should all be in accord. If we’re wearing shiny, black leather shoes, our belt should be shiny, black leather as well. There’s a bit more leeway with brown leather shoes since there are so many shades and tints of brown but in general we want to get as close as possible to the same color and texture. If we’re not wearing leather shoes the rules tend to be a bit more relaxed but we still need to exercise some degree of coordination.
The second most basic rule is to match our metals. Typically a belt will either have a silver or a gold colored buckle. If we’re wearing a silver colored watch we should be wearing a silver buckled belt. If the buckles on our monks are gold then the buckle on our belt should be as well.
This next rule should be obvious but I’m going to put it out there just in case. Match the width of the belt to the width of the belt loops. A skinny belt in larger belt loops won’t sit right around the waist. A thicker belt in loops that are too small will be hard to thread and shorten the life of your pants.
Beyond these rules things start to get more nuanced. A lot of resources online get hung up on casual versus formal belts but if we stick to these general guidelines that won’t be an issue for us. Also, there a lot of sites that will tell us to never do this or that. I say rubbish to all that. We should always wear what we like and what we think looks good on us.
When we’re ready to go out shopping for a belt remember to buy a size one or two inches longer than our waistline. When we wear our belts it should fasten on the middle hole. If we’re using either of the last two holes it’s probably time to get a new belt or a new gym membership.
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