A gent’s guide to finding the perfect men’s belt, ensuring you keep your trousers up and style down with the times.
Let's get one thing clear; belts do more than keep up our breeches. Quite frankly, a belt can make or break an entire outfit.
A fashionable gent will know how to turn a belt from a functional accessory into a fashion-forward statement piece.
This guide is intended for those with a nous for what counts, as we take another look at the art of finding the perfect men’s belt.
Men’s belts inspiration
Fashion accessories are on the rise in the UK, with 2020 seeing an 8% increase as the overall market value grew to £3.6 billion. No doubt, men’s belts contributed a pretty penny to that pot with the variety and styles on offer.
Belt prices can range anywhere from £2.50 to £250k. The most expensive belt in the world is the Gucci diamond belt, worth a staggering $256,970. This special item is comprised of pure platinum and diamond materials studded into the fabric, along with 30 carats of diamond set in the platinum Gucci logo.
While this belt belongs to the very finest of finer things, it’s just an inkling into the extremes of what a belt can be, as some opening inspiration.
Types of men’s belts
Leather leads the way as the most popular material for its durability and overall quality, whether it’s informal or formal.
From accommodating a pair of Levi’s with a brown tanned leather strap to blending a black-tie outfit with a black dress belt, leather contains durability, strength and style – no matter the occasion.
Formal men’s leather belts
Formal belts or dress belts are the most popular for style and function for one simple reason – the necessity of the shirt tuck.
It would be simply unbecoming to wear your best and not bring harmony to the outfit due to some poor oversight of not addressing the appropriate dress belt.
If leather doesn’t sit quite right with you, not to fuss, there are plenty of other materials that will give off the same essential and established appearance.
Most vegan leather belts are made from polyurethane, however other innovative materials are fast becoming available. These materials include cork, pineapple leaves and recycled plastics. As the sustainable incentive grows, the market continues to provide newer and better options.
For a formal vegan belt, we’d suggest the selection at Will’s Vegan Store. The wide range of styles on offer is ideal to cater for various formal engagements.
While genuine leather is obviously not vegan, it still provides sustainability by being long-lasting and curbing the ills of fast fashion.
Purchasing a quality belt is the same as investing in a good pair of leather shoes, you won't need another.
Men’s ratchet belt
A men’s ratchet belt is a recommended formal belt. A ratchet belt differs from traditional belts by not having holes. Instead, a ratchet belt has teeth within the buckle that grasp onto the strap.
A good ratchet belt is more comfortable as it offers less tension while remaining durable.
Just because a man is sporting more casual attire doesn’t mean his trousers should be lying low and loose around his waist. Far from it.
A causal belt opens possibilities by being less restrictive than the formal belt, offering more variety in materials, buckles and overall styles.
Certainly, you should still aim to blend your belt with certain aspects of your casual outfit, but as casual wear naturally is more versatile, so is the belt.
The size of the casual belt is larger than the formal, with a strap width between 1.5 and 1.75 inches. The material is often tougher and more rigid, with a larger buckle. Casual belt materials can range from plastic to heavy cloth.
We recommend this 4cm brown chestnut belt, perfect with blue jeans and brown suede shoes/trainers.
Different types of men’s belt buckles to consider
Different types of belt buckles allow you to show some personality. While we recommend subtle frame-style buckles or ratchets for formal occasions, belt buckles can also come in:
Box frame style
Ring style – O – ring, D – ring
A box frame or plate style is the perfect chance to display some class and character. Whether it’s a sentimental symbol or a smooth clear sheen, the plate or box frame offers class and identity to the accessory.
Styling a men’s leather belt
A belt can destroy the balance of an outfit as much as tie it all together. Now, you want to ensure your belt does the latter by choosing a men’s belt that complements your attire.
Blend your leather and always double up
Look to match the colour and texture of your belt with your shoes, watch strap or other leather accessories.
For example, if you’re wearing a nice pair of brown dress shoes such as our Sherlock Oxfords, you’d want to compliment them with a similarly toned belt. Our chestnut leather brown 35mm belt is a perfect match.
Unless you wish to go out and make a statement, the ideal formal belt should be subtle. While a white belt will accommodate a white suit and a pair of our two-tone black and white Oxfords, a black suit would leave a less tasteful effect. Ideally, the main rule is to blend your leather.
Match your metals
By our standards, the dressier the outfit, the more your belt should match your shoes and any other accessories. Cufflinks, jewellery, and metal watch straps should blend with your belt buckle. Silver with silver, gold with gold and so on.
The size of a men’s dress belt is distinctly smaller than causal belts, sitting around 1-1.5 inches. The size of the belt depends on your personal measurements. We suggest one-inch suiting someone with a waste measure of 34 and under.
How are men’s belts measured?
Generally, finding the right belt measurement is a matter of finding your trouser waist size and adding at least two inches. For example, if you fit a 34 waist, you need a belt size of 36 plus.
However, belt sizes can be made to measure uniquely to the individual, depending on the supplier. At Percy Stride, all our belts are made to measure, no matter your waist size. Simply allocate your size when ordering from our range 100% genuine leather belts and we’ll add another five inches to make sure the belt’s a perfect fit.
Like our shoes, our belts are long-lasting, stylish and sustainable. Pick from:
With no stitched or bordered layers, you have a superior quality finish. All belts have a square frame ideal for formal events along with the Percy Stride logo imprinted into the leather.