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A belt is one of the most visible accessories in a man’s wardrobe, but not all belts are created equal. Thus, the best belts for men for every style become important.
A man’s belt can whisper about his confident sense of style or scream about his unforgivable lack of judgment. Choosing the best belts for men for every style is a matter of good taste, practicality, and well-established style rules.
To keep you from buckling under pressure, we’ve compiled a list of the best belts for men for every style so you can find the right one for you and look great. The best men’s fashion belts for every occasion are listed below.
What exactly is a belt?
A belt is, in theory, a useful accessory. In reality, it’s mostly for show these days. The best belts for men for every style can, at best, make loose-fitting pants feel more secure.
Anything can be wrapped around your waist and used as a belt. However, leather (with a buckle) is the best material to use for fashion. This is especially true when wearing your belt with a suit.
Depending on the style of the belt, your belt can be the focal point of your entire ensemble in certain outfits. You can also wear it as a statement piece.
Anatomy of a belt
The strap and buckle are the two most important parts of the best belts for men in every style. Both of these components can vary greatly in terms of style and function. As a result, the material and design possibilities are practically limitless.
Aside from those two most well-known components, a few others are frequently used to construct a successful belt. More complex mechanisms will also be included in some designs.
The buckle is usually (but not always) made up of a frame and a prong secured by punch holes in the leather strap. The buckle also has a bar that holds the belt to the strap.
The strap is finished with an end tip, typically made of the same material as the strap. Many belts also include a belt loop for tucking the end of the belt after it has passed through the buckle.
When should you wear the belt?
The most noticeable time to wear a belt is when your pants are sagging. You can, however, wear a belt for fashion or decoration.
Suppose your pants include belt loops, indicating that you should wear a belt. You can skip the belt if you’re wearing a casual outfit and leave your shirt untucked. You can also wear one if others notice your belt loops.
There are some situations in which you should never wear a belt. For example, if you’re wearing suspenders, your pants don’t have belt loops, or you simply don’t have a belt that matches your outfit.
Best belts for men for every style: Size guide
Simply add 2 inches to the waist size of your pants to get your best belt size. For instance, if your pants have a 36-inch waist, your belt size should be 38 inches.
An old belt can also be used to get your waist measurement. Find your most frequently used hole and measure the length from there to the end of your belt.
If you have an overly large belt that you want to wear, you might be able to make it work. You can cut a new hole in the belt to accommodate your smaller waist, but don’t try this at home; you risk ruining the belt. Instead, have a professional, such as a cobbler, do it for you.
Width of the belt
Your belt’s width is just as important as its length. Different widths are appropriate for certain outfits but not for others.
In general, your dress belt should be slim and sleek. It should be between 1¼ and 1¾ inches wide. Anything bigger would appear too wide.
Wider men’s belts are more casual. The broader it is, the more relaxed it is. These can be as wide as 2 inches. When paired with denim, you can get away with wearing it wider.
If you choose a belt with a large buckle, you will undoubtedly require a much wider belt.
Best belts for men for every style: Formal and Casual Belts
Belts are divided into two categories: formal and casual. Let’s look at how these belts differ and how to wear them correctly.
Formal Dress Belts
Formal belts are similar in appearance and share certain characteristics with few exceptions.
Almost all formal belts have a frame-style buckle with the strap going through the frame. To fasten the belt, the buckle’s prongs pass through holes in the strap.
Formal belt buckles are usually shiny and sleek, gold or silver in color, and smaller and flatter than casual belt buckles. A formal belt should be 1-1.5 inches wide, and thinner belts are more formal. A belt in the 1″ range is appropriate for a smaller man with a waist under 34″.
Best belts for men for every style: Buckle for the Frame-style
Because it is the most common belt buckle type, you are most likely familiar with it. The traditional metal square or rectangular frame has a prong in the center.
This belt buckle style can be found on a wide range of belts, both formal and casual.
The frame buckle is a straightforward concept. A prong tinkers through the hole in the strap to secure it in place, and the strap inserts through the frame. The belt’s tail is tucked into the belt loop so it does not flop around and get in your way.
Best belts for men for every style: Strap Fabric
Formal belts are only made of leather (or good imitation leather).
- Cowhide: The most common type of leather used for belts comes in several varieties- full-grain leather is the finest looking and most durable, while calfskin is the softest and most supple. Full-grain calfskin will be the highest quality formal belt.
- Ostrich, lizard, crocodile, and alligator: Are all examples of reptiles. These skins are technically more casual belt materials, but in a dark color, they can work as formal.
Ostrich belts have a striking appearance, with pockmarks from the feathers. They usually command a high price.
Crocodile and alligator belts are more upscale, with a more subtle pattern and texture.
- Faux leather: Polyurethane on a fabric backing is used to make faux leather. It’s long-lasting and low-maintenance, and the best faux leathers look realistic, even if they don’t develop the same patina as genuine leather. Cheap fake leather appears to be, well, cheap and fake.
Best belts for men for every style: Color/pattern of the Strap
A formal belt should be an understated and subtle addition to one’s outfit. Its surface should be solid and smooth, with a sheen and no more than a subtle pattern. Black and brown are the traditional colors for formal belts; for summer, you might see oxblood, tan, navy, gray, and white towards the smart-casual end of formal belts.
Best belts for men for every style: Matching a Formal Belt for Your Outfit
When using a formal belt, be sure to match your leathers and metals: the strap of your belt must be the identical color as your shoes and other leather accessories, as well as the same level of shininess, and the buckle should be the same color as your other metal jewelry and accessories (except your wedding ring, which can contrast with the other metals you wear).
Casual belts are available in many more types, styles, and colors than formal belts and can be used to express your personality and personal style. You can use belt buckles to make a variety of statements. With so many belt options and styles to choose from, there are men’s belt buckles to match any look you want to achieve.
Best belts for men for every style: Types of Casual Belt Buckles
- Box Buckle
This buckle is made of metal and is rectangular. It appears solid from the front but is hollow on the back. It also has two open edges.
You insert your belt strap through one end and out the other. When you push down on the box buckle, it presses against the strap, securing it against the box’s underside. There are no holes to be concerned about with this belt style.
- Plate Buckle
This is a detachable belt buckle. Plate fasteners on snap belts, just the leather strap, can be substituted. Plate buckles are usually large and designed to be decorative. Consider cowboy belts.
They work by simply hooking through the front of the belt strap. However, due to the throw of the buckle, plate buckles add a bit of length to the belt, so keep that in mind when sizing.
- Buckle with O-Ring/D-Ring
These buckles are commonly found on very casual men’s belts made of canvas or braided material.
Simply weave the belt strap through two parallel rings, then double it back through one. Finally, pull the strap tight to keep it in place.
- Buckle with a snap
This belt buckle design is similar to the straps found on backpacks. It’s made of plastic, and one end (the male end) fits into the other (the female end.) To release, simply click them together and press in on the sides. Snap buckles are extremely casual.
Best belts for men for every style: Width of the Strap for casual belts
A casual belt will have a width of 1.5-1.75 inches, with wider being more casual. A 1.5″ wide belt complements denim, chinos, and heavier fabrics. A belt wider than that is more unusual, looks good with jeans and casual pants, and can be worn with classic and “statement” buckles.
Best belts for men for every style: Strap Fabric
Full-grain leather- Leather casual work belts are typically made from the outer layers of a cow’s hide and are wider, tougher, and stiffer than leather dress belts. Some even include scars or brands that the cow acquired throughout its life.
Some leather belts have a snapped loop that can accept various belt buckles, making it a customizable piece ideal for men who like to collect and display different belt buckles.
Leather braided- Used with a frame-style buckle to create very adjustable belts: the prong can be inserted into any hole in the braid. Braided belts are a reasonable option to keep things straightforward and unobtrusive; they add a little texture without making an overpowering statement. They’re also simple to find and frequently inexpensive.
Braided belts, more casual than a flat strip of leather, should not be worn with suits but can work with a sports jacket.
Multicolored braided belts are more casual and can be worn with summer ensembles for an east-coast prep look, such as khaki shorts, a light polo, or button-fronted short-sleeved shirt, and boaters, with the bright belt anchoring the image.
Tooled leather- Tooling is a stamping process that leaves patterns on the leather that are often stained to make them stand out. Most are made with interchangeable buckles.
Tooled belts look great with simple outfits like jeans and a button-down shirt. Because they are visually “busy” pieces on their own, the look becomes overwhelming when paired with too many other patterned/textured items.
Suede- It is less stable than full-grain leather and is commonly used for casual belts, but it usually has a full-grain leather backing for added strength.
- Other Materials
Leather-backed ribbon- A relaxed material that allows you to make a statement with bright colors and bold motifs. These are typically worn with a frame buckle. Sailing, golf, and boat shoes look great with leatherback ribbon belts.
Canvas- Canvas belts with metal buckles are a simple, functional style found on uniforms ranging from the Army to the Boy Scouts. Most have a flat box buckle with a sliding peg that pins the strap at the desired position.
Canvas belts are most commonly found in plain and monochrome, with a single contrasting stripe running horizontally around the middle of the belt. Both have been staples in men’s casual wardrobes for over a century.
Webbing- Another useful material for outdoor activities. It’s available in various bright colors and patterns and usually comes with a D-ring buckle.
Rope- Women’s fashion mostly, but men in maritime circles wear it. They’re a bit preppy but durable, easy to clean, and can take a soaking better than leather. They’re often fastened with a knot and loop rather than a buckle.
Vinyl- Cheap, colorful, daring, and unique, Vinyl belts are popular among young men but can look tacky on older men.
Best belts for men for every style: Colors/patterns of Straps
Brown is the most widespread and versatile color for casual leather belts; however, black belts look out of place with jeans and khakis. Colors for casual non-leather belts can run the gamut to every pattern and hue.
Best belts for men for every style: Accent Piece or Centerpiece for casual belts?
While wearing a casual belt, consider whether you want it to be an accent piece or a focal point.
An accent piece is understated and complements the rest of your outfit. It’s usually in complementary or neutral colors. A centerpiece draws attention to itself and contrasts with the rest of your ensemble.
Casual belts can be accent or centerpiece accessories, whereas formal belts are almost always accent pieces. There is nothing intrinsically incorrect with either approach. You simply need to dress appropriately for the desired effect.
A good accent belt should have some of the same characteristics as the rest of your outfit. Similar or matching colors are an apparent choice, and most men choose their belts and shoes in this manner. A casual belt should still match your metals, but the leathers have more leeway – brown with tan or tan with white is fine.
Of course, you’re not always wearing leather in casual outfits – either in your shoes or your belt. It is not necessary to match the color of casual leather or other material belts with the color of canvas/cloth sneakers. Allow the color of the belt to complement your overall look; when in doubt, go with brown.
On the other hand, centerpiece belts are used to provide deliberate contrast and a sharp, divergent punch of color or style compared to the rest of your outfit. They look best when the rest of the outfit isn’t overly patterned or colored. More than one or two bright elements are excessively gaudy and busy.
Remember that you should not wear a statement belt if you’re uncomfortable drawing attention to your waist!
Best belts for men for every style: Formal or Casual?
When looking for a new belt, you’ll have a specific pair of pants in mind.
Based on the outfit you want to pair it with, you’ll know whether you’re looking for a dress or a casual belt. This greatly aids in narrowing down your options.
But how do you know whether the belts you’re eyeing are better suited to a pair of jeans or your new suit? There are a few key areas you can concentrate on to help you figure it out.
The material is always a good place to start, but it rarely provides a complete answer. The buckle, belt width, and buckle size are important factors in determining your belt type.
We can summarize the distinctions between formal and casual belts as follows:
- The buckle is smaller and sleeker.
- The strap width is narrower.
- Strap thinner, softer, and sleeker material, sometimes with a sheen.
- Always leather is used.
- A bigger buckle
- A wider strap width
- Tougher, thicker, stiffer, more rugged strap material that is often matte
- It could be leather or another material.
Best belts for men for every style: Belts for Formal Dress
The formal dress code is more stringent than the casual dress code. These guidelines apply to every aspect of your wardrobe, including the seemingly insignificant belt.
The only satisfactory material for a men’s dress belt is leather. Any other belt material, no matter how nice it looks, is too casual and will clash with the formality of your suit.
Relying on which color goes best with your suit, either black or brown leather is appropriate. Your belt and shoes must be the identical color.
Maintain a thin belt. A wide belt draws attention and sets a casual tone. A narrow belt, on the other hand, is less noticeable. The width of your dress belt must be between 1.14 and 1.34 inches.
Dress belts typically feature a small frame buckle. Although there are numerous buckle styles, only a frame buckle is appropriate for wearing with a suit.
Also, a small frame is best to keep your belt hidden because your belt isn’t meant to be noticed.
Your formal belt buckle should be made of metal. No one type of metal is required. The only stipulation is that the metal matches any other metal you wear.
Best belts for men for every style: Belts for Casual Dress
Casual attire is always more relaxed. You can wear a casual belt with almost anything. These are frequently meant to be more visible and are acceptable as part of your overall look.
Casual belts are available in almost any material. Leather is still an excellent casual option, but there are many other options.
Canvas, for example, can convey a specific tone, whereas webbing or vinyl can produce different effects.
Among casual belts, wide straps are supreme. If belts are worn as a part of a man’s casual outfit, wide straps are preferable because they are more visible.
A casual belt’s buckle can also be prominent. It doesn’t have to be the size of a dinner plate, but if you want to make your belt a statement piece, it can get quite substantial.
You don’t, however, need a cowboy-sized belt buckle. A more delicate, smaller belt buckle can also look great.
On casual belts, the buckle style is also much more adaptable. There are numerous buckle options available rather than just a frame-style buckle.
It can be ornamental, such as a box frame or a plate buckle. It can also be operating, as in the case of a snap buckle. It is acceptable if it complements the style you are going for.
Best belts for men for every style: The Top 3 Go-To Belts for Men
If you’re unsure about which belts to add to your wardrobe, we recommend the following three as essentials:
Formal Dress belt – appropriate for both business and evening wear.
- Strap measuring 11.5 inches
- It is only about 0.1 inches thick.
- Leather in black or brown
- Usually gleaming
- Unadorned — perhaps a little broguing or hand burnishing
- Frame style buckles are small, plain, and polished.
- Match leathers and metals.
Casual belt – For jeans/khakis
- 1.5-inch or wider strap
- It could be thicker than a dress belt.
- Tan leather or natural leather
- Matte, rugged, and braidable, textured or decorated
- A larger, more decorative buckle – plate, box, or frame – is an option.
- It is not necessary to match the leathers exactly (e.g., brown with tan, tan with white)
Webbed fabric belt – for summer casual.
- 1.5-inch or wider strap.
- Choose a strap color that complements your outfit.
- You can customize the strap.
- A double D-ring buckle is usually used.
- Combine with chinos or shorts.
Now that we’ve conferred everything you need to know about men’s belts let’s summarize. The best option is always leather. It is the most attractive material you can use, whether casual or formal. Just make sure it goes with your dress shoes.
Aside from your wedding ring, match the buckle’s metal to other metals you wear. For example, if you wear a watch or cufflinks, all of the metal on your body should match. Match your belt to your other accessories. Again, this makes a smooth appearance and ensures nothing sticks out like a sore thumb.
Choose the appropriate belt size. A belt too large for you will have a long tail hanging around your waist. You could try to tuck it in, but that will only add bulk and draw attention to it.
A belt that is too small, on the other hand, will crush your waistline and create an unsightly visual. Choose a belt with the same finish or weave as the rest of your accessories.
Best belts for men for every style: Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the different types of belts?
Formal Dress Belts
These are leather belts that add a stylish and sophisticated touch to your entire outfit. Leather belts never go out of style and are ideal for formal attire such as suits, trousers, and the like.
These are intended to complement your casual attire and vary in material, size, buckle, color, and style. Casual belts come in a wider range of styles.
- How do I choose the right belt?
Now that you understand the basic types of belts and their differences, you must choose a style that complements your outfit and needs. Choose a leather belt for formal or dressier outfits and a casual belt for casual outfits. Choose a leather belt if you want one that can be worn with various outfits.
- How do you pick the right belt color?
Belts come in a variety of colors. Always choose a color that complements your personality and goes well with the outfit you choose to wear it with. To make a statement, choose a belt in a contrasting color. Make sure you have one or two neutral-colored belts on hand because they go with everything.
- How do I choose the type of buckle for my belt?
A belt can be attached with various buckles, such as a tongue buckle, double ring, auto-lock, grip, snap-buckle, and so on. You should always choose a buckle that is easy and comfortable to use. Also, choose a belt with a buckle that you can use for multiple purposes.
- How do you know what size belt you need?
The difference is all in size. A perfect belt is only perfect if it is the right size and precisely fits your waist. However, remember that a belt should be slightly larger than your waist size.
The simplest method for determining the correct size is to try on belts in a store and select the one that fits perfectly.
Another option is to measure your waist size and add a few inches to it when selecting a belt.
- How do you find the ideal belt?
Always choose the appropriate size. Choose the appropriate belt for the occasion and attire. This includes selecting the appropriate color, type, buckle, and width.
Match your belt to your shoes, watch, and any other accessories you wear. Choose a wider belt for casuals and a narrower belt for formals. Try to coordinate your belt with your shirt or trouser. When in doubt, choose a brown or black belt.