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The Secret to Picking The Right Men's Belts

The Secret to Picking The Right Men's Belts

Men's belts are probably the second most important accessory in a man's fashion plate, trailing only behind the all-important pair of shoes: over the years we've been taught that shoes are an important indicator of who a man is, but a man's belt goes with his shoes in almost every respect.

It's not only an indicator of a man's style, either. The belt-and-shoes combo pulls his whole look together like nothing else can. Otherwise, we might as well all still be wearing suspenders (which is still an option, more on that below).

Men's Belts: The Secret Fashion Weapon

Yet even as men's accessories leap back into the forefront of men's fashion, most of that boom has gone to shoes, jewelry, and even luggage. We barely think twice about grabbing a belt off the rack and being done with it.

A good belt does a lot more than hold up your pants; it brings your whole look together -- and places attention where you want it, while taking attention away from where you don't.

Check out some of the secrets to shopping for men's belts.

Size Yourself Up

A good rule of thumb when buying men's belts is to add three inches to your pant size when sizing your belt; this is to ensure your belt will consistently loop on that coveted third hole.

Any shorter than that, and you'll be constantly unbuckling it every time you sit down or have a big meal. Longer than that, and you'll have that unsightly "tail" effect that does no one any good.

Men's belts start at about 27 in American sizes, which is usually known as a Small, and each size goes up three inches from there, so that a 30 would be a Medium and a 33 would be a Large. After that, just start adding those X's.

Match the Shoe Material

This is the most important part of buying a belt. A cheap plastic belt with leather shoes is pointless: you may as well not have the shoes, to begin with.

If you really want to tie your outfit together, you should always make sure to be wearing a belt made from a material that at least somewhat matches your shoes. The number of fine leathers that go into belt craftsmanship today is pretty impressive.

Similarly, there's no point in wearing a leather belt with crocodile boots when crocodile itself is available. You can go with something casual but not too distracting. You can even go with a cloth, denim, or woven belt if you're being really casual.

Match the Shoe Color

This is another important component, and it's an absolute must for formal wear: match black to black, brown to brown, etc.

Unless you're working with a fashion model level of swag -- and most people who think they are, usually aren't -- white belts are probably out. Find some other light color to work with.

Wide or Skinny?

This is another important aspect of fashion that men don't think of often enough.

Men's belts should be skinny when formal, wider when casual. In fact, wear any belt wider than 1.5 inches, and you're already in casual territory, whether you like it or not.

Belts as Fashion

A lot of people like to experiment with belts, and that's fine, but make sure you have the physique for it before you start.

The belt is literally the centerpiece of your outfit. It will draw attention to your waist if it doesn't mesh perfectly with everything else. This is why awesomely fit fashion models can wear outrageous, even ridiculous, belts and get away with it.

Most of us need to remember that a belt with a lot of personality is going to draw attention to your midsection -- which may not be where you want eyes to land first.

The Buckle

Here's a trick a lot of guys don't know about: what color metal should your belt buckle be"

We usually don't even think about this when factoring in men's belts, but we should. The buckle stands out from the rest of the belt, after all, which makes it more an accessory than anything else.

A good rule of thumb is to match the metal in your belt buckle with the metal of your watch -- or, failing that, your rings (or cufflinks if you're going formal). Whatever sort of man jewelry you're sporting, you look better if you match the buckle to it.

As far as size goes, here's all you need to know: the bigger the buckle, the less formal you're being.

Tailor Made?

Usually, most men buy belts off the rack and think about them only as a last minute accessory, like a pair of dress socks. But there's nothing that says you can't get a good tailor made belt that'll go with almost any outfit you have.

If nothing else, you can be sure that it'll fit you properly -- and a really good handcrafted belt will last you for years and years.


Yes, suspenders! They're forever going in and out of style, mainly because they have a classic sense of Americana to them, but they only tend to look good on guys with a great physique. Get a little pudgy, they'll just make you look like an old man.

They're forever going in and out of style, mainly because they have a classic sense of Americana to them, but they only tend to look good on guys with a great physique. Get a little pudgy, they'll just make you look like an old man.

If your body is nice and tight, however, knock yourself out. You can go with a strappy classic white American T, or short-sleeved collared monochrome shirts. These look great with other retro accessories, like straw boater hats, but again, you need a fashion-plate body to pull this off.

Men's Belts Are As Important As Men's Shoes

Far from being a last-minute add-on at the haberdasher's, the classic American men's belts can be the cherry on top of a perfect outfit, a style choice that brings the whole look together while affording you a good bit of comfort as well. but

But don't wait until you need a new suit! You can start experimenting with different types of men's belts right now if you're looking to craft a new look.

Whether it's tailor-made or off the rack, it can make a subtle but very definite impression at your very next guy's night out or social get together. The classic man's belt is the secret weapon in your fashion arsenal, and at Bickering Shop, we have the belts to bring out your true style. Just look around!


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