How to Shop for a Belt
For most men, belts are used simply for holding up the trousers. They are certainly ideally suited for this purpose, and they tend to be a lot more practical than suspenders. But belts can–and do–serve more than this basic function. For an increasing number of men, belts could actually be employed as a fashion accessory, or as a way to make a strong fashion statement. Whether for adding a visual point of interest to your wardrobe or providing a complementary accent, belts could help bring your overall “look” together.
There are a number of factors that should be considered when purchasing a belt: waist measurement, pants size, texture/material, color, and style. Each of these factors will affect not only your appearance but the enjoyment and satisfaction you will derive from your belt as well.
What size belt should you buy?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a belt is the belt size. Your comfort should be top priority, so make sure that the belt is long enough to fit around your waist comfortably. However, you should also avoid belts that are too long, which could leave an awkward length of material hanging from your waist. In general, it would be best to choose a belt that extends a few inches past the buckle when it is fastened.
Measuring Belt Size
Most belts available on the market are labeled for size. The majority of manufacturers typically measure the length from where the belt folds at the buckle end to the middle hole at the other end of the belt. Although you may think that your pants size should be the same as your belt size, this isn’t necessarily the case. Also keep in mind that belts in the United States belts are measured in inches, while belts in European countries are generally measured in centimeters.
There are two ways to measure your belt size: by direct measurement and by comparing it with your pants size.
Take a flexible measuring tape and thread it through your pants loops as you would with any belt. Take note of your waist and hip circumference, and add two inches to determine the appropriate size of your belt.
Comparing with pants size:
This method is less accurate than directly measuring your waist and hips, but it generally works well enough for men’s belts. The key is using a well-fitting pair of pants to measure against. Taking note of the size and adding two inches will enable you to determine the most appropriate size of belt for you.
Whichever method you choose, taking measurements is the most accurate way to find the right belt size.
Belt Texture and Material
Nowadays, there is a huge range of textures and materials to choose from when shopping for a men’s belt. Take note of the style and type of clothes that you wear most frequently and use them as the basis for making a selection. You will rarely go wrong with the classic black or brown, both of which work well with most wardrobes. Leather is also a traditional material that is versatile and perennially stylish, but do check out other options as well. Suede, woven materials, and other type of materials can be ideally suited for specific wardrobes and clothing combinations. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Checking out belts that would otherwise be outside your style and comfort zone could be the perfect accessory to tie your whole wardrobe together.
Using belts as a style accessory
Belts are more than just functional; they can serve as a complementary accessory to whatever you have on, or even serve as an individual style element in their own right. A belt that is the same or a complementary color to your wardrobe is always a safe bet, but you might also want to consider choosing a belt in a color that contrasts sharply with your clothes.
You can get away with pretty much any kind of belt if you are dressing casually, but more formal occasions require matching your belt with your shoes. Large or ornate buckles are best avoided for elegant settings or occasions.
Regardless of what type of belt you are looking for, careful consideration of the most important factors will go a long way in ensuring that you have the right belt for any occasion. Keep these tips in mind, and your belt could very well be one of the most essential fashion accessories that you could own.