Tips and Tricks Tuesday: To Belt or Not to Belt?
This is my first Tips and Tricks Tuesday post and we are tackling…belts. We’ve all seen them. They’ve been around. Around dresses, around sweaters, around jackets. They’re not going anywhere. Yet, they remain one of the more popular fashion conundrums.
And so I say…give it a go. If it doesn’t work, plenty of other accessories to choose from. But you may discover that that skinny red belt (an essential in my book) perks up, dresses up, and sasses up your look in a way that you never thought it could.
The key is to find the right positioning and then the right width of belt for your body type.
First, figure out where the right spot is for you.
1. If you have a little extra around the middle, but are not curvier up top, position the belt right above your waistline and under the bottom of your rib cage — the smallest part of your waist.
2. If you have a shorter torso and are curvier up top, position the belt at the waist in the back, but pull down a couple inches below the waist in front.
3. If you have a longer torso, wearing a belt high on the waist (right below rib cage) is the best bet. It gives the illusion of a shorter torso and a longer leg line.
Next, figure out what size belt works best for you.
1. If you have a longer torso, opt for a belt that has a little more width. Depending on if you are a petite or not, usually something about 1 1/2 inches or more. Beware, though. Don’t go too wide as you may run the risk of looking like you just won the World Wrestling Federation match against Andre the Giant.
2. If you have a shorter torso, you can go skinnier with your belts.
Got it? Good. Now on to belt types. I recommend three types of belts in your wardrobe:
– A brown leather denim belt. Personal favorite is the Madewell Perfect Leather Belt. Great for jeans, but also punch a few extra holes and you can give that floaty, frilly summer dress a dash of toughness.
– A skinnier belt of a bold color (red will always do the trick, but this season, don’t be afraid to give neon a go) for dresses, skirts, pants, etc. Size up and then punch extra holes so you can use lower on waist with pants and then higher up with dresses, etc. Love this Limited patent leather option, with its adjustable back.
– A metallic or leopard-print belt. You will be surprised by how how both these neutrals go with everything, but are anything but boring. J.Crew’s options — gold and patent leather leopard — are my personal favorites.
Finally, what exactly are you going to belt? Cardigans? Jacket? Shirts? Dresses? Jeans? Trousers? Yes, you can belt all of these, but I like sticking with the last four. Not hating on those cardigan belters (and no one belts a cardi better than local DC fashion blogger, Sydney Poulton), but by and large there is something inherently fussy about the look. So, unless you’re feeling like your belting prowess is at an all-time high, stick with belting the piece underneath (dress, shirt, etc.) and then just let the cardigan hang out.
Most importantly? Just try. Style is a trial-and-error process. Try a few different kinds of belts, a few different spots on your waist. And, here’s a little inspiration to get you started. Happy belting!