What could hold an outfit together better than that which literally holds the outfit together? Leather belts have long been, and remain, never-fail accessories, as well as complements to nearly all men's (and many women's) outfits. Be they sleek black leather touches or showy brown accents, leather belts have the potential to draw the eye in to the lines and angles of a well-managed ensemble. The perfect leather belt should neither distract nor go unnoticed.
Breaking Down the Basics of Buying a Leather Belt
When it comes to accessories, a leather belt can be a fickle friend. One misstep in the belt department and your outfit could end up looking disjointed and sloppy. As functional as it is fashionable, a belt does more than just hold your pants in place– it’s the focal point that pulls your whole look together. But master the belt basics and you can take your style from dull to dapper.
For formal wear and casual dress alike, the age old rule states: never mix your leathers. You will choose a black belt to pair with black shoes, and a brown belt for brown shoes. If you are looking for where to save and where to spend, look no further than your agenda. If your weekends are full of weddings and dinner parties, then invest in a black belt to compliment your black-tie attire. If your calendar has you hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, find a sturdy brown belt to go with your trusty brown hiking boots.
As with color, it is important to keep your textures coordinated. Particularly with formal wear you should match your patent leather shoes with a patented belt, and subsequently a pair of matte brocades with a matte belt. Reserve braided belts for laid-back occasions, like a summer barbecue. The added texture brings interest to your look without breaking the bounds of casual dress.
Keep it short. The end of your belt should tuck neatly into your first belt loop, not exceeding it by more than one inch. The easiest way to choose your belt size is to refer to your pant size. If you wear a size 36” waist, choose a belt that is 38”-40” in length.
When it comes to the buckle, size dictates formality. A slender buckle, no wider than the belt, is preferable for formal attire and grows more casual with larger sizes. Be it gold, silver or black, the majority of buckles will have some sort of metallic finish. The key is to coordinate. Pay close attention to the other details of your ensemble, like cufflinks and tie clips, to keep from clashing.
As with all accessories, a belt gives you the opportunity to bring a little personality to appearance. Invest in several styles, and maximize the potential of your wardrobe.