It’s amazing how much that narrow strap of material tied around a man’s waist can add a touch of elegance and style to a look. The belt has been a fundamental element of men’s fashion throughout the ages making it a recognised symbol of masculinity. Consequently, getting the belt right is essential for being well-dressed. Here are the essential factors to consider when choosing a belt.
A belt should be long enough to finish through the first trouser-loop, with the pointed end just slightly exceeding the loop. If the belt is too long, a quick visit to the cobbler will get it shortened for as little as €2.00.
Men’s belts are usually 3 – 4 cm wide though wider belts are not uncommon. A belt’s width determines the size of the buckle with wider belts requiring larger hence, chunkier buckles. Opt for a width that is proportionate to your height.
Formal vs. Casual belts
Combining a belt with an outfit is more than a question of colour – it’s also about style. Formal belts are always made of leather, are monochromatic – usually in black or brown – and with a small and plain buckle. These are the belts one would wear with a suit or a semi-formal outfit.
Casual belts can be distinguished by their brighter/lighter colours, patterns, and larger buckles. They also come in various materials with suede and leather alternatives being particularly suitable for summer.
Matching belt and shoes
That the two should be in the same colour is one of the basic rules of men’s style. However, with modern colours featuring prominently in men’s footwear and belts, the rule needs reconsidering. Generally, if the shoes or belt are in a bright or particularly unique colour, the other should be in a colour that is as close as possible to that of the trousers. In the age of mix-and-match, having both the belt and shoes in the same striking colour will result in a look that seems too coordinated. It will also break up your silhouette, effectively making you look shorter. Sometimes, it’s also better to go for a completely different colour rather than a similar but not identical colour – it indicates that the difference is intentional.
As a combination, mismatching shoes and belt would work best on a less formal outfit. On a suit, one would normally wear shoes in a dark, neutral colour, which is easier to combine with a matching belt, thus giving a more timeless look.