A belt might be something you wear every day for work, or it might be an occasional piece of attire, but it would be rare for just about any guy not to have at least one belt in his collection.
Are men’s belts a fashion statement or a necessity, and how do you go about choosing a good one to buy, or knowing what belt suits which outfit?
We’ll answer some questions about men’s belts in this brief guide.
Your Accessories Need To Match
This might not matter if you’re just using any old belt to hitch up a loose pair of shorts and the belt’s covered by an untucked shirt, but if the belt is visible, then you really want it to match up with your footwear.
In a semi formal or formal environment, preferably you’ll want the belt’s colour and material to match up with the colour and material of your boots or shoes. An example would be a brown belt made of leather worn with brown leather shoes.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, as you can mix it up a little, but it’s better if everything matches.
How Wide Should the Belt Be?
Men’s belts, no matter what they’re made of, casual or formal, do come in a variety of widths. Generally really thin belts don’t look that great and may even be a little uncomfortable to wear.
The standard size for a guy’s belt is usually between 1 to 1.5 inches, or 25-37.5cm.
While you might have a bulkier and wider belt buckle, the standard belt width works well with most shorts, jeans, trousers and suit pants.
What About Belt Length?
Obviously it needs to be able to make it all the way around your waist for starters. The other extreme is where a belt is so long that you need to punch in extra holes just to be able to do it up.
Ideally you’ll want about 4 inches or so of leftover belt after you’ve hooked the buckle through a hole. This gives you enough length to feed the remainder of the belt through the first belt loop on your pants.
Belts do come with waist sizes printed on them, which is handy for online purchases, but if shopping in store, simply hold the belt around your waist to check for the best belt length for you.
Common Belt Materials for Men
Leather is one of the most common materials used in the manufacture of quality belts of many colours, whether it’s a casual belt for jeans, or something more formal for business, a wedding or some other function.
The awesome thing about a leather belt is it’s just so durable. If you want a belt that lasts and stays looking good even after years of wear, then leather should be your first choice.
Some belts are made from synthetic materials such as vinyl. While these belts can look good and do the job for a while, they do tend to crack and split over time and won’t last that long if you’re wearing it regularly.
Fabric belts are also fairly common for casual day and evening wear. These are often made from a woven cotton and are also very strong, durable and long lasting, much better than the vinyl belt.
Let’s Look At Some Belt Styles
There are a few different styles of men’s leather belts to choose from:
- Dress/Formal Belt
- Casual Belt
- Suede Belt
- Woven Belt
Dress belts and casual belts can be somewhat interchangeable when it comes to formal and casual clothing. Often it’s the buckle which will make a belt look too casual or not. There’s no real reason why you couldn’t wear a nice casual belt with a suit, or a dress belt with jeans.
Suede leather belts are not as common these days as they once were, but they’re still around, and a good one makes for a really nice casual belt that looks great with jeans, casual pants and shorts.
The woven belt offers an interesting cross-hatch pattern that really adds a new look. It’s definitely worth considering for casual wear.
At the end of the day the best choice in belt for you will depend on how you need to wear it and where, and your personal tastes.