I think one of the easiest ways to start dressing better is to put on a belt. Wearing a belt immediately pulls your outfit together. It shows how you put thought and intention into your clothes. And, honestly, I just think it makes one look more like a grownup. Kids don’t wear belts; grownups do.
I started wearing belts way back in college for the sole purpose of keeping my oversized baggy jeans from ending up around my knees. Before the end of my first semester, I felt incomplete without one.
As my style evolved, my choice in belts changed from that first 2-inch wide, double-holed warhorse. Now picking out a belt is a part of getting dressed every day. I truly enjoy choosing just the right belt to complete my outfit.
Some tips for choosing a belt:
Match the style of your outfit.
If you are wearing shorts, don’t put on a dress belt. Choose a casual belt. If you are in dress slacks, don’t throw on a thick rugged leather belt and call it good.
Match the color of your leathers.
The rule of thumb here is leathers should match. Brown shoes = brown belt. Black shoes = black belt. Match your watch band as well, if possible. This gives your outfit a cohesive look. Try and keep the shade as close as possible. For example, tan and chocolate are both brown, but your outfit won’t look as polished if you have a light tan belt and dark brown shoes. If you’re rocking your classic sneakers, don’t worry about matching the color. This rule applies most to dress and business casual situations.
Not too long.
Does anyone else remember the late 90’s when cool teenage boys wore super long belts and let the extra tail hang down their legs? Don’t do that. Keywords in that first sentence: teenage boys. You do not want to look like a teenage boy. From the 90s. You should be able to use one of the middle holes and have the tail reach the first belt loop on your pants. If the tail of your belt extends more than an inch or so past the first belt loop, cut it off or buy a new belt.
Don’t worry about matching metals.
This used to be one of the rules for belt wearing. Gold belt buckle meant wearing a gold watch. Silver buckle = silver watch. This rule seems to have died. The matching metals police are off duty. No one notices if your ring is silver, your watch is rose gold and your belt buckle is brushed nickel. Take a look at the picture above about matching your leathers – did you notice the silver buckle/gold watch in the bottom left or the black metal watch with the brushed gray metal buckle in the top right?
Skip the clunky/witty buckle.
Unless you have recently won a rodeo, please do not use your belt as a showcase for a giant hunk of shiny metal. Do not give in to the (strong) temptation to display your wit to the world with a clever or ironic buckle. Do not, for the love of all that’s stylish, wear a seat belt buckle for a belt buckle. If you want to wear a seat belt, get in your damn truck.
If you want to start dressing better, wearing a belt is an easy first step. It immediately makes your look more mature and put together. Matching the leathers you wear gives a polished look even to casual outfits. Belts are easy and inexpensive accessories that upgrade every outfit you wear so you can be a better dressed butch.
Featured image by Keegan Everitt.