Take your waist management to a new notch with this ultimate men’s belt guide.
The history of the belt dates back to the Roman Empire when gladiators had their own specifically crafted style of belts to carry their weapons. Commonly known as a cingulum in those days, it was fastened around the waist and held a dagger.
Gladiators also wore a second belt called a balteus, which wrapped over the shoulder and contained a short sword.
It wasn’t until the Medieval period when a belt started to become a symbol of social status and fashion. The styles were significantly different depending on whether you were upper or lower class.
Yet, despite the longstanding history of the humble belt, not many blokes seem to know the basic rules for wearing them.
You could have the best Oxford shoes and tailored suit on, but without the right belt around the waist, the whole look goes down a couple of notches.
In this men’s belt guide, we share the essential rules which will help you pick and match the right belt. So, buckle up and concentrate, because this is a real gamechanger for the modern-day gentleman.
Men’s belt rule #1 – always double up
Not every belt will work with your clothes. That’s why you should invest in at least two quality leather belts. Brown or black for a solid and versatile choice and a more colourful choice to make a statement.
There are different belts for different occasions too. For instance, a formal belt works for suits, while there are woven or casual styles with elaborate plates for relaxed styles.
However, the decision ultimately rests on your shoes – which brings us nicely on to our next rule.
Men’s belt rule #2 – match your shoes (if possible)
Your belt should always match your shoes. Why? Because it helps bring cohesion to your appearance. If you can’t get a matching set, try roughly aligning the colour and texture.
Like your shoes, your belt colour also needs to coordinate with the rest of your look. If you’re wearing casual, fades jeans, a black belt would be too formal.
This is where brown really shines, as it works with any look and for any occasion.
If you’re ever unsure on whether a belt is too formal or not, take a look at its loops. Wider belt loops often mean it’s suited for a more casual look, while thinner loops work better with formal attire.
Men’s belt rule #3 – know your colours
It’s one thing matching your belt colour with your shoes, but if neither goes with your clothes, you could be at the centre of a few jokes.
Here are a few men’s belt colour rules you need to think about before you fasten that clasp.
As mentioned earlier, dark brown is by far the most versatile belt colour. For the best results, you need to wear trousers in a mid to dark tone, such as navy and grey. Black and brown aren’t a thing, so step away.
If you love black or grey jeans, this is the choice for you. Anything along the monochrome colour palette is perfect with a black belt, starting from light grey right through to charcoal and black.
A blue belt is perfect for adding a pop of colour and bringing your blue shoes out. To master this look, think khaki trousers and tonal blues. If you can get your outfit right with this one, you’ll really dazzle.
A white belt is ideal for a summer outfit. While it can technically work with a pair of white chino shorts, combining this with white shoes as well will make you look like some sort of tribute act for the Backstreet Boys. Instead, use it with blue for a nautical feel.
It’s not the most common choice, but if you’re a fan of our Burgundy Two-Tone Red Oxfords, this will tickle your pickle. Smart black trousers or jeans are the best colour combo here as it adds a richness to your look.
Men’s belt rule #4 – know your size
There’s nothing more pointless than a belt that doesn’t fit. To avoid floppy excess leather or your trousers falling down, take the time to get your measurements right before ordering.
The belt tip should extend comfortably past your first belt loop and stop halfway between the next one. If you’re ordering online, either use the size guides provided or choose a shop who offers waist size belts, instead of S, M or L.
Men’s belt rule #5 – avoid chunky belts
Any belt which surpasses one and a half inches in height should be avoided at all costs. You’re not a Roman gladiator who needs to hold weapons and you’re certainly not a superhero.
To learn more about our range of men’s belts, take a look at our dedicated page.