Don’t think that it’s just a belt and there’s no need to spend hours and hours to choose a good one, or ignore taking care for it. Though it’s just an accessory, a belt can take an important role in creating your gentleman look.
Thus, in this article, I will share you all the most basic things about a men’s belt. For examples, how to choose a good one, how to wear, mix and match with your clothes and last but not least, the best way to keep it last long.
How to choose the best men’s belt
When it comes to men’s belt, there are four main things you should keep in mind:
- Materials and texture
Whichever accessory you’re going to choose, comfort is first. Thus, choosing the right size is very important. With a belt, never go with a too-long or too-short belt. An ideal belt length is the one that after you try it on, loop it comfortably into the toggle with no breathing in or pulling hard, there must be three or four inches left for pushing though the loop to keep things cinched correctly. But don’t choose a too-long belt because they tend to fall down from the hip, which is not aesthetic.
Almost belt brands will use general sizing charts for their products so that you should make sure the size of your pants or trousers corresponds with them.
If this is the very first time choosing a belt, you should measure your size and here is how:
- Choose the most comfortable pants and take its size
- Add 3 or 4 inches to it so that you can have a baseline size
- Try some belts around this size range and choose the one that you can buckle up comfortable
Or this general sizing chart is very useful as well:
When it comes to belt’s material, there are two popular including leather and canvas. To choose the right material, you should consider that belt will be used in which case, a formal or casual situation? Usually, a leather belt is for formal occasions like business, appointments, etc. while a canvas is for casual uses such as daily wearing, holiday, hanging out with friends, etc.
Talking about leather, there will be many kind of leather belts: genuine, full grain, synthetic and bonded leather with different price ranges and quality. It’s based on your budget to choose a reasonable one.
Sometimes, your footwears will have influence on the decision of which belt material you should choose. For examples, a leather belt will go with dress shoes, and a canvas belt with sneakers.
Apart from leather and canvas, there are many other options like woven, braided fabric and polyester. They are not as durable as genuine leather so that I recommend you should choose them for casual occasions.
With active men, you should choose adjustable belts. Don’t think that they are just for the old men, once you try it one, you’ll find a huge pleasance and comfort because they don’t need holes. These adjustable belts are perfect when going with sneakers.
The color of a belt will say many things about you. Thus, if you want to express your individuality, choose your favorite color but don’t forget to mix and match them reasonably with your outfit.
Besides, the belt’s color should be suitable for the occasion you are in. For example, if you are going to a funeral, a brown or black belt is great. Or when it’s an appointment with your customers, a belt with dark shade is perfect like gray, brown and black.
You may concern:
Usually, when talking about belt style, it’s choosing the style of buckle. There are four major styles:
- Braided belts
- Buckles with a hook
- Buckles with a tongue
- Buckles with a sliding latch
Besides, there is a rule of thumb: the bigger the buckle is, the less formal it will be. From that point, if you are choosing a belt for casual style, pick a large buckle with rounded shapes. On the contrary, a narrow flat buckle belt is perfect for business.
Talking about belt buckle, either it’s gold or silver color. To choose the right one, it will depend on your jewelry (like tie tacs and cufflinks). For examples, the gold accent should go with gold buckle belt, silver with silver. However, it’s an exception with a wedding ring because it is independent of your personal style.
Apart from those main features above, there are still some others you should keep in mind such as price and brand name. Sometimes, the belt design will fool you. For example, a simple-designed belt can cost hundreds of dollars or some belts with similar look will have a wide range of prices. There are usually two main things effect on a belt’s price: brand and the material.
Those men’s belts made from animal skin are very expensive, like snakeskin and ostrich-skin. If you have a tight budget, consider a calfskin belt which is also the popular.
If you buy at a store, you should flex the belt to make sure they are not started to crack or brittle. A tip to test whether that leather belt is good or not is to use your fingernail to score lightly on the back of the belt. A fresh and soft leather belt will appear a faint line. On the contrary, if it resists your fingernail, you are choosing an old one.
Besides, you also should have a look at the belt’s stitches.
Last but not least, it’s brand name. This will become an important factor if you buy a belt online because when you decide to buy from a reputable brand name, it’s more trustful and they will guarantee the quality of the product. I mean, if there are any problems happened, there will always be someone to find for some helps.
How to wear belt and mix it with your outfit
1. How to wear
If this is the first time you wear a belt, don’t fret, this video will guide you in details.
After choosing the best men’s belt, the next challenge is to mix and match it with your clothes. In the previous part, along with the features to consider when choosing the right belt, I also mention some small tips to mix and match. Here, I will talk about them more clearly:
2. How to incorporate your belt into your outfit like a pro
2.1 Match the belt with your pants
The width of the belt should match with the type of your pants. Thus, keep these tips in mind:
- With narrow belts: Go with chinos, dress pants, trouser shorts and dark jeans
- With wide belts: go with cargo shorts, lighter denims and cargo pants
2.2 Which occasion you are going to?
I mean, is it a formal or informal occasion?
With the formal: Like job interviews, business meetings or important events, of course, you should dress professionally. Suit, suitcase and dress shoes are essential. When it comes to the belt, remember these rules of thumb:
- Buckle color is similar to the color of jewelry
- Belt color is similar to the color of dress shoes
- Leather belt is a priority but avoid something too ostentatious like ostrich-skin
With the casual: Like holiday, daily wearing or hanging out with friends, let’s choose something comfortable and simple like canvas, woven, braided belts with your favorite colors.
- Usually, a canvas belt will go with sneakers.
- Buckle color is similar to the color of jewelry
In such occasions, an adjustable belt is recommended because it affords a huge comfort. You don’t need to worry about the belt tightening your mid-section after a hearty meal.
2.3 Belt and shoes
First things first, the color of belt and shoes should be similar. However, if you choose a black belt, this is an exception. You can mix and match it with many other shoe colors because black is a neutral color.
Apart from color, shoe’s material should be the same with the belt’s. This explains why leather belt should go with dress shoes and a canvas with sneakers. In general, shoe materials have three main kinds: canvas, suede leather and plain leather.
2.4 Know when to retire your belts
Wearing an old sloughing belt is not a good idea. To dress like a pro, apart from consider all those things above, you need to know when to retire your belts. The lifetime of a belt depends on two major factors: material of belt and buckle.
- Whether the belt material is genuine leather or just the plain/suede?
- Is the buckle solid metal or plated?
With a leather belt, if you use it daily, it can last 9-12 months. With the canvas, its buckle usually shows the wearing signs first. Usually, a solid metal buckle can last 1-2 years of daily use.
How to preserve your belts
There are two parts to preserve: belt and buckle.
With buckle, whether it’s plated or solid metal, contacting to water many times will shorten its lifetime. I learn this useful tip from my friends. They told me to apply a layer of nail polish to the buckle. This way not only protect it from getting rustic but also help the buckle look shinier.
With belt, usually leather belt is effected by outside agents more than the canvas. An ideal illustration is crocodile skin belt. From that point, if you have a leather belt on hands, take care it carefully.
First and foremost, keep the leather belts stay away from sunlight, humid areas and water. For the best storage, hang them in a dry place. If you ignore and place it in humid areas or water, the leather belts will be deteriorated quickly and even have bad smell.
Don’t expose them directly under strong sunlight for a long time as the skin will be dried soon, which leads to the result of the belt being hard and easily perishable when they meet high temperature.
To save space of storage, some of us usually roll the belts after use, but this is not recommended because it will be deformed the belt after several uses. Thus, the best way to store your leather belts is to hang them vertically on the hooks or clothes hangers.
And don’t keep the belt stay on your pants even you don’t use it any longer. As I said, this will destroy the form of your belt. From that point, removing it out of your pants/trousers after use is fine.
Above are my guide on how to choose, wear, mix and match as well as take care of a belt. It’s not hard at all, right? Choosing the best men’s belt is important, and know how to preserve it is essential to not only keep it last as long as possible but also save an amount of money for you. Hoping that this article will help you a lot.