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Men's Belt Basics

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Belts are used for their style and function. They have a surprising impact on your personality despite being a small accessory. A belt can either be a thing that can hold your outfit in a proper manner or something that can destroy your overall impression.

Interestingly, despite wearing belts on waists daily, men do not know much about belts. In this article, we will discuss different types of belts and their utility in different circumstances like when to wear belts, how to look for a fine belt, and how to choose a well-fitting belt. In short, this article will serve as a guide for men who are looking for belts that best suit their style and personality.

Introduction to the Belt

A belt is put around the waist so that it can hold a person’s pants upright. A piece of string can serve the same purpose, but a belt has its own significance. It can be used as a means of carrying something like a utility belt of batman. However, most belts are meant for decorative purposes only.

Now moving onto the details of belts, it has two parts, the strap, and the buckle. Some belts have an end tip that prevents the belt ends from wear and tear and it becomes very easy for the users to fasten them. The keeper loop keeps the end of the belt from fluttering here and there.

Some belts have separate straps and buckles but, in some cases, they are joined permanently. The term chape is the region of the belt that includes the metal pin that is used to join the buckle and strap.

Need of wearing a Belt

Generally, belts should be worn with all kinds of pants. That is why there are loops present on all pants. Not wearing belts can make them look lax or loosely fit. If you are wearing formal outfits and your shirt is tucked in, belts become essential in this case. If you are dressed up casually and your shirt is not tucked in, you can skip wearing belts but you should remember that belts are not only for decorative purposes. They hold the pants up. If you are not willing to wear a belt with casual wear, you can use a suspender for making your style statement. Suspenders are a wise option for bulky men as pants are held up effectively. They also help you to look tall in contrast to belts which mostly give a shorter look.

Formal and Casual Belts

Belts are classified into two types: casual or formal.

Formal Belts

Formal belts have specific characteristics.

  • Buckle Type

Frame style buckles are mostly present on formal belts. The strap of the belt passes through the frame and the prong is hooked in the holes present in the straps. The buckle on formal belts is usually golden or silver, sleek or shiny, flatter, and smaller than the casual belt buckles.

  • Strap Width

The width of the dress belt is mostly 1-1.5 inches, formal belts are thinner than casual belts.

  • Strap Material

For dress belts, the preferable material is leather. The most used leather for belts is cowhide. It has some variations like full-grain leather and calfskin leather. Full-grain leather looks very good and is hard-wearing whereas calfskin leather is very supple and soft. The finest quality belts are made of full-grain calfskin. Lizard, alligator, ostrich, and crocodile skins might also be used for making straps. Ostrich belts are very expensive and are bold, having pockmarks or dimple like markings for an authentic feel. Alligator and crocodile belts are also expensive and have a specific texture. Faux leather belts contain a fabric backing with polyurethane. The major advantage of faux leather is that it requires minimal maintenance and is durable. Cheap leathers look fake whereas good quality faux leather looks real.

  • Strap Color/Pattern

A formal belt should have a rigid and smooth surface. It has a sheen and a subtle pattern as it adds to one’s style. Dress belts traditionally have brown or black colors. For a summer look, you may see formal belts with casual ends of navy, oxblood, grey, tan or white.

  • Matching a Formal Belt with Your Outfit

Match the metals you are wearing and match the leathers which you are wearing if you are dressed up formally. The belt strap should be of the same color and shine as your shoes and other leather things. The buckle should be of the same color as the metals you are wearing like rings and bracelets.

Casual Belts

Casual belts have more variety of colors, styles, and types than formal ones. Casual belts depict your styling sense and personality. They are thicker, have a big buckle, and can be made up of leather or some other material.

  • Styling your outfit with belts

In addition to holding up the pants, belts give an idea of your personality and styling sense. There are no styling rules for belts, but it requires good taste to choose belts. If chosen well, they can change your style game but failing in doing so can ruin your look. Dressing up formally with a shirt tucked in requires a very good choice of the belt as it is the center of attention. A mismatched belt will affect your attire’s personality. So, try to choose well-fitted belts of fine quality according to your outfit

  • Getting a well-sized belt

In order to get a well-fitted belt, the tip of the belt should go beyond the first belt loop. The size of the belt is mostly taken in inches or centimeters. This is the length of the strap from the buckle to the middle hole. You can also get the size for the new belt from the old one. Start measuring the belt from the buckle to the point where you fasten it. You should be careful while selecting belts to avoid ending up with a loosely fitted belt ruining the entire look.

Finding a good quality belt

You can replace casual belts quite often, but a formal belt may last up to ten years. So, you should invest wisely in purchasing belts. The quality of the leather is the main thing that should be kept in mind. The most common leather used for belts is calfskin. The construction of leather is another important factor. You should go for a belt with small tight stitching.

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