AccessoriesHow To: Wear Belts

Belts have been a huge trend for the past few seasons now – and we don’t see them going away anytime soon. They can truly update an outfit or transform a look instantly. But with so many options, how do you know which one is right for you? Sometimes, we’re stumped, too! We turned to a couple of fashion experts who could help us decipher what type of belt to buy, what width is best for your body type, how to wear it and much more. Read below for our best belt tips!

  • Look for a couple belts as investment pieces. They’ll be the ones that you can wear over and over, with multiple outfits and through multiple seasons. “If you invest in a thin black leather belt, it will carry you through many different outfits. You can wear it with a trouser or belted around a dress,” says style expert Katharine Sise.  Try the Hyde Collection Skinny Leather Belt.icon
  • The most difficult problem to navigate is possibly finding the right belt for your body type.  Simi Singh, the designer behind the belt label, Black & Brown London, has some great guidelines to follow:
    • If you are petite and curvy, then try not to wear big, bulky belts as they will overpower your frame.  Instead, try slimmer belts for the waist.
    • If you are short-waisted, then it’s a good idea to match your top to your belt so it creates a fluid line and length.  If you are long waisted, match your bottom color to your belt to balance the top.
    • For the tall and lanky, try to wear wider styles around the waist in order to create the illusion of curves.  Sometimes, thick and wide belts can be too much; instead, try leather and elastic versions (like Black & Brown’s Isabel Belt) for a softer look that still gives your waist definition.
    • If you have a slimmer builds, try layering.  For instance, try wearing a sheer blouse, long  cardigan and skirt; then, cinch in the waist to create the illusion of curves.  Belts worn over chunky knits are also another great option. Singh recommends sticking to skinny belts that range up to approximately 2.5 inches in width.  
    • Have a fuller figure?  Cinch belts are indispensable, they will pull in your waist and create an hourglass illusion.  For the comfort factor, try elasticized belts! 
  • Belts can elevate an outfit easily. How, you might ask? “A belt with color and texture will pop on a monochromatic look,” says Sise.
  • Move away from the idea that your belt has to match your bag and shoes! “Experiment with colors and textures that compliment each other, but aren’t too matchy matchy,” says Sise. “A metallic belt can stand on its own; you don’t have to coordinate with a metallic bag or shoe.” Singh, however, does recommend matching black to black and brown to brown.  With color, not so much!  She does give a great tip to keep in mind though: match the belt’s hardware to your jewelry.  “If you are wearing gold jewelry, wear a belt with a gold buckle; if you are wearing silver jewelry, wear something with a silver buckle,” says Singh.
  • Need some suggestions on how to wear belts? Our experts tell us their favorite ways:  
    • “I love using belts to make past seasons’ trends more wearable; try belting last season’s baby doll dresses over a slim fitting pant and pair with a heel,” says Sise.  
    • “Some winter coats have very boring and sometimes have unappealing belts. The most inexpensive coat with a great quality belt over it, can look amazing,” advises Singh. “Plus, you can always use it again with other outfits!”
    • For day, we’d recommend sticking to a plainer belt.  For something unexpected, embossed or woven styles are a good option.  If you want a bit of bling, look for a belt with a patent detail, which will give a bit of pop.  We suggest Hayden Harnett’s Loupe Belt, which comes in a variety of finishes.
    • For the evening, go for a daintier look. “Wrap a soft nappa leather belt around your waist, or a belt with a bejeweled buckle will add a touch of glam to your favourite LBD,” says Singh. “Otherwise a slimmer belt (around 1.5 inches) is best suited for dresses, rather than chunky thick leather belts.”
    • Our favorite way of wearing a belt?  Cinching it over a voluminous top or a seemingly shapeless frock.  It adds instant definition! 
  • Other tips to keep in mind?  Sise recommends scouring vintage stores for unique finds.  Singh reminds us that leathers can vary – glossy, embossed, animal prints, snakeskin, etc.  “We are quite spoilt for choice with tons of finishes! Try them all!” exclaims Singh.




  1. katie  |  21 November 2008 at 9:22 AM

    great advice, thanks!

  2. cchen  |  21 November 2008 at 9:41 AM

    Check out tips on belts and more from 80s rock stylist Annie O. Worked with Pearl Jam and Annie Lennox.
    She has a shop in the Hotel Rivington, NYC.

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