What Should I Consider When Buying a Belt?

J. Beam

A belt is a much-needed clothing accessory and can be both functional and fashionable. Since there are as many different styles of belts as there are styles of fashion, buying a belt can be a fun way to add something extra to your wardrobe. Things you might want to consider when buying a belt include fit, design, and functionality.

A woman wearing a belt.
A woman wearing a belt.

Belts are one of only a few fashion accessories that are made for men and women. However, as with many of those other fashion accessories, men tend to own fewer belts than women do. For this reason, men should make buying a belt more about practicality than fashion. If you frequently wear business attire, consider buying a belt that matches your most frequently worn pair of shoes. To be on the safe side, buy a belt in brown and another in black. Leather belts are the best match for both formal and casual business attire.

A woman wearing skinny jeans with a belt.
A woman wearing skinny jeans with a belt.

Regardless of gender, buying a belt that fits is an important consideration. Men’s belts are generally sized according to waist measurements, while women’s belts are often sized according to dress size. Though belts are adjustable in size, the adjustment is limited. If you try on a belt that requires you to use the first or even second hole, consider buying the next larger size.

A cinched-waist dress using a tie-on belt can make the stomach look thinner and hips curvier.
A cinched-waist dress using a tie-on belt can make the stomach look thinner and hips curvier.

Women should consider buying a belt that will accent more than one outfit. You might want to consider a belt that ties rather than buckles in a neutral color that can be paired with jeans and a casual skirt. Also consider the colors you currently have in your closet and think about incorporating a new color belt.

Belts are constructed from many different materials including leather and reptile skin. If you are opposed to buying a belt made from animal skin, consider buying a plastic or fabric belt. Canvas is a durable alternative to animal skin and many styles can be worn with various types of clothing. Also consider whether you want to be able to change your belt buckle. Some belt buckles are stationary, but if you own a variety and want the option to wear several different buckles with the same belt, then be sure to buy a belt that has a removable buckle.

You can usually find a decent selection of belts in the clothing departments of various department stores. If you are looking for a unique belt, consider shopping at smaller boutiques and specialty retailers.

Western style belt buckles are worn for self expression, as well as preventing the wearer's pants from falling down.
Western style belt buckles are worn for self expression, as well as preventing the wearer's pants from falling down.

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Discussion Comments


@Drentel - I can relate to what you said about the belts no longer fitting around your waist. I know I have to accept the reality that I am gaining weight when I my belt doesn't fit like it is supposed to. Whenever I have to go to a new hole to fasten the belt, I know I am having a weight issue. Usually the issue is that I am eating way too much food, and I need to cut back for a couple of weeks.


As you get older you might want to consider how your body is going to change. At one time, I had a half dozen belts and they were all to small for me to buckle. And yes, I did punch holes in one of them because I didn't want to throw them all away and buy a new belt, and I had to have something to wear.

On the positive side, there is no wake-up call quite like not being able to fasten your belt. This is part of what finally motivated me to get back in shape and drop some of those extra pounds around my midsection.


When I travel I like to carry only one bag. I have to be creative to limit myself to the one bag when I am on the road for a week. I used to carry two belts. I need one brown and one black so that I will be able to match the belt to whatever I am wearing on any given day. With a black one and a brown one, I can do this.

The other day I went to buy a brown belt to replace one that was about worn out. While I was in the store, I made a great discovery: two-sided belts. Now I have a belt that is black on one side and brown on the other side. All I have to do is remove the buckle and flip the belt over and then reattach the buckle when I want to change colors.

And this is not a cheap belt. It is a quality men's leather belt, and now I have a little more room in my travel bag. This is a great invention.

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