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A Beginner’s Guide to Belts: Which Ones To Buy and How To Wear Them

For me, belts are an easy way to boost an outfit. Paired with dresses they help break up a long dress, they cinch in your waist for an hourglass shape, they’re an easy accessory, they can add a pop of color or pattern or metallic to an otherwise simple outfit, and oh yeah… they sometimes help keep your pants from falling down.

A few years ago I owned only one or two belts, and only wore them through my belt loops and solely as a way to keep my pants in place. Now I own a ton of belts and have learned how to be creative with them because I’ve learned how fun they can be!

Before I show you a few ways to wear them, here are a few tips for buying belts:

  1. Try the thrift store. I’m always shocked at the prices of belts, even at low priced clothing stores, but can always find some fun vintage options only a few bucks at the thrift store. 
  2. Buy the longest length available (and make sure it fits around your hips). Since so many people wear belts around their natural waist, some belts are sold for only that purpose. So even with the longest option, I can’t get it to buckle when wearing it through my belt loops. Before buying it, makes sure it’s long enough to wear with jeans so you at least have that option.
  3. Start with the basics. If you want to build a belt collection, there are three I’d recommend buying first, because they’re the most versatile and basic. Metallic, brown braided, and patterned—I have a leopard one from Target and find it unbelievably versatile.

Now click through below to see several ways to wear them, either on your hips with jeans, or on your natural waist over a dress.

  • 10 Ways to Wear Belts 1 of 11
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  • Men’s Belt 2 of 11
    DSC_0446

    When I first started wearing belts as an accessory, I really had only one or two, neither of which I loved. But one day I looked on my husband's side of the closet and realized he had a couple of belts that I really liked! So if you're in need of a nice thick leather belt to punch up an outfit, check the other side of the closet. Your husband might have just what you're looking for. 

  • Patterned 3 of 11
    DSC_0452

    Patterned belts are a great way to add just a little bit of interest to an outfit. I love wearing this leopard belt with all black, but here I've paired it with a striped top, which creates a fun little patterned mixed outfit. 

  • Skinny & Tucked 4 of 11
    DSC_0454

    Skinny belts are usually best for wearing around your natural waist. But if you do wear them through your belt loops, tuck your shirt in so you can see the entire belt and the space the skinny belt leaves exposed at the waistline of your pants. 

  • Doubled Up 5 of 11
    DSC_0456

    Everyone feels comfortable wearing two bracelets together on their wrist, so why not double up your other accessories, like your belts? These two skinny belts work great together because they're similar colors (one is metallic gold and the other is a nude color). You're already making a statement by wearing two belts, so keep the colors toned down. 

  • Backward 6 of 11
    DSC_0462

    I thrifted this camel colored belt a few years ago and it is one of my favorite belts. The beautiful color and the clean smooth belt is perfect for making a fun statement by wearing the belt backward and creating a continuous belt line. 

  • Skinny Metallic 7 of 11
    DSC_0466

    Now let's move to wearing belts at your natural waist, either with a tunic or a dress. For a simple black dress like this one, a skinny metallic belt is a perfect addition. It just adds a nice bit of shine to an otherwise plain outfit. Also, because the belt is skinny, the metallic doesn't overwhelm. 

  • Wide Monochromatic 8 of 11
    DSC_0468

    I only own two wide belts like this and they're both black. There is certainly a place for wide belts, and they are super slimming, but it's best to go with a neutral dark color when you're putting a big thick strip across your midsection. 

  • Colored & Knotted 9 of 11
    DSC_0472

    Skinny belts are fun because you can wear them all sorts of interesting ways. This mint green one adds a nice pop of color to the black dress, and a simple knotted loop creates some visual interest. 

  • Double Wrapped 10 of 11
    DSC_0474

    This belt is really long, so wrapping it around my waist twice is a way to mix up your normal belting. I crossed it in front as well, which makes it a little bit more visual appealing, especially since it's in a very neutral color. 

  • Braided & Knotted 11 of 11
    DSC_0480

    This brown braided belt, which I also thrifted, is probably the most versatile belt I own. It's neutral, but just wide enough to make a bit of a statement when you want it to. An easy knot in the front makes it stand out and a bit more interesting. 

find more of Merrick’s style and writing at Merrick’s Art.

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. 

 

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