How to buy a belt
A belt buying guide
Belts are an essential part of any wardrobe and are a wonderful fashion accessory. They polish the look of an outfit and are a functional piece of any wardrobe. If your pants have belt loops, you should wear a belt to complete the ensemble. In choosing the right belt, the most important factor is determining the correct belt size to ensure a proper fit. But other factors also play a role in determining which type of belt to buy.
>> Who will use the belt?
When determining how to buy a belt, you should consider who will use the belt and what that person is using it for. Is it for function or for fashion? Belt styles, belt sizes and belt designs should all be considered when choosing the type of belt you will buy. Men's belts tend to be wider than women's, and most men buy belts more for necessity than for fashion, whereas women tend to use a belt as apparel accessories in their wardrobe. It is often advised that belts for formal dress should match shoe color, and the buckle should fit the belt width. Dress belts tend to be narrow with small gold or silver-tone buckles. Leather belts are durable and the standard for business attire and more of a necessity than an accessory to a business professional. A useful choice in belt design is a reversible belt that is black on one side and brown on the other. This allows the wearer more versatility than just one belt. Nylon and cloth belt styles are good for casual wear and are durable. Your choice in belt design should depend on the occasion, outfit and formality based on your personality and preference in belt styles.
>> The fashion aspect of belts
Belts are a wonderful complement to an everyday casual outfit and may be used to accent something as simple as a pair of shorts. Wear your belt on your natural waist to create the effect of a smaller waistline. Use a belt to break up colors in an outfit or in a contrasting color to add an eye-catching dimension. Belting two heavy-material garments together will result in a bulky look and should be avoided. Make sure your midriff does not roll over the belt. Extra-wide belts tend to make the torso look smaller. A belt often becomes the focal point of an outfit, so how it looks with the rest of the outfit is very important. Don't be afraid to experiment or get creative with different belts, scarves or even an old tie. A complementary pattern, such as stripes, flowers or checks, works well with an outfit that is two solid colors.
>> Choose a belt type
Determining how to buy a belt means you should consider the belt style. There are many different types of belts to choose from. They can be made from leather, plastic, canvas, nylon, chain, elastic, fur or cloth. They come in a wide range of styles. Belt designs may be woven, adorned with beading or metal studs, weavings, rhinestones, grommets or fringe or made from reptile hides such as lizard, crocodile or snake. These are usually very expensive and have a trademark scale design pattern. Belts come in a variety of widths. A narrower width is a good choice for more formal wear. Belts come in a wide range of colors, although black and brown are the favorites and make good basic choices.
>> Determine the belt size
As you determine how to buy a belt, you need to consider belt sizes. The rule of thumb is to buy a belt size at least one size bigger than your pant waist size or one to two inches larger than your waist. This is to accommodate the material of your tucked in shirt and pant material. The measurement does not include the buckle. Belts should have enough tail left after buckling to tuck under the first pant loop or belt keeper; if the tail is too long, the belt may look odd. Some belt sizes are measured in metric units and some are measured in inches. The belt buckle should fasten into a middle hole, leaving holes on either side so you can adjust for weight gain or loss without having to purchase another belt.
>> Consider material and durability of belts
There are many belt designs to choose from. Most designer belts are leather. Look for quality in the stitching and workmanship. The stitching should be small and tight with no loose ends where the leather is sewn. Flex the belt to determine that it is supple and not brittle. Belt features include snaps on the underside so the buckle can be removed and a different buckle substituted for it. Use the belt as an accessory to apparel to add versatility to your wardrobe.
>> Consider the belt buckle
Buckles come in many shapes and sizes. They may be made of brass, German silver, sterling silver, leather, pewter, nickel or other metals. Choose a buckle that makes a statement and suits your personal style, but remember that it must be a size and shape that fits your body. A buckle will sometimes add length to the belt. Buckles may be polished with a metal cleaner or simply washed with a mild soap and water and then dried with a soft cloth. Knowing how to buy a belt and picking the right buckle will help you complete your wardrobe.
>> Consider cleaning and care
As you determine how to buy a belt, consider the care and cleaning it will require. Store leather belts lengthwise to avoid stressing the leather. This will keep them looking nice and they will last longer. Clean a leather belt with a leather cleaner to keep it supple, and avoid extensive exposure to sunlight over long periods of time. Most nylon and cloth belts are washable on the delicate cycle, but they should not be spun on the spin cycle because they may distort.
Because belts are such a diverse apparel accessory, experiment with them to add interest, dimension, style and color to your wardrobe. Belts are an inexpensive way to change your look and can make a statement with every outfit you wear. A belt can create a flattering or sophisticated look depending on how and where you wear it.