At the Articles of Style office, we don’t wear a ton of belts. We’re tailoring guys, more often seen in side-adjusters and trousers that are properly adjusted to fit our waists. We also occasionally prefer the comfort of braces. But, of course, there will also be trousers with belt loops that need good quality belts.
Belts are one of those accessories that, if you buy quality and pick the right one, you shouldn’t have to replace it for a long time. I went through my personal collection, pulled out my most-worn belts, and put together a list of what I think would be a complete collection for a man’s wardrobe.
Here’s 5 belts that should have you sharply and appropriately dressed for any occasion.
The Black Dress Belt
This is the most formal belt in your collection. You should never wear a belt with a tuxedo or traditional formalwear, but if there’s a badass suit that requires something black and dressy, we recommend a slim leather belt (1″- 1 1/4″) with a simple silver buckle. If you can spring for an exotic skin, like this lizard, it will add a unique texture that is all luxury.
The Brown Dress Belt
In my personal collection this is the one that gets the most use. I wear a lot of tailoring, often with brown shoes (more brown in LA, more black in NYC). Again, for a dress belt we like something slim (around 1″ wide) and we prefer the exotics, like this American Alligator.
The Rugged Denim Belt
For a casual weekend involving jeans and/or other workwear-inspired pieces, look for a belt that is a little wider (1 1/2″ or so) and cut from a thick, rugged bridle leather that is ready to take a beating.
The Smooth Suede Belt
The key to good design is combining elements that are consistent in their level of formality and purpose. Take this belt for example: leather is traditionally dressy, but suede is slightly more casual. Similarly, a polished silver buckle is traditionally dressy, but an D-Ring is slightly more casual. This belt, thanks to its cohesive design, nails that perfect “dressy/casual” blend – which we’re all about.
The Slim Vintage Belt
Belts are a great accessory to dig for in Vintage shops. Just make sure it’s genuine leather (usually stamped on the inside) and it fits properly (if you’re crafty you can punch extra holes using a leather punch). This skinny vintage belt (just under 1″) is one of my go-tos for “casually tailored” looks involving unstructured tailoring, like a linen suit.
The Summer Fabric Belt
During the summer season dress codes lighten up and everything gets a little more casual, generally. Your belt should too. Look for something in a lightweight fabric (like this cotton weave or a simple grosgrain) that can be dressed up or down, for all those summer cocktail parties.