How to Wear a Belt: A Guide for Men in 2023

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how to wear a belt men

1. Different Types of Belts Available for Men

Leather Belts

Leather belts are the most popular and versatile type of belts for men. They come in various colors, styles, and widths, making them suitable for both formal and casual occasions. Full-grain leather belts are known for their durability and classic look, while top-grain leather belts offer a more refined appearance.

  • Dress Belt: These belts are typically narrower (around 1-1.5 inches) and have a sleek buckle design. They are perfect for formal events or professional settings.
  • Casual Belt: Casual leather belts tend to be wider (around 1.5-2 inches) with a more relaxed buckle style. They pair well with jeans or chinos for a laid-back look.

Fabric Belts

Fabric belts are a great alternative to leather belts when you want to add some texture or color to your outfit. They are often made from materials like canvas, nylon, or woven fabric. Fabric belts can be found in various patterns and designs, allowing you to express your personal style.

  • Canvas Belt: Canvas belts are durable and casual, perfect for outdoor activities or adding a rugged touch to your ensemble.
  • Webbed Belt: Webbed belts feature a woven design and are commonly used in military-inspired outfits or as a sporty accessory.

Suede Belts

Suede belts offer a softer and more textured appearance compared to smooth leather belts. They add a touch of sophistication to both casual and semi-formal outfits. Suede belts often come in earthy tones like brown, tan, or gray, which complement a wide range of clothing.

  • Thin Suede Belt: Thin suede belts (around 1 inch) are suitable for dressier occasions and can be paired with tailored trousers or suits.
  • Wide Suede Belt: Wide suede belts (around 1.5-2 inches) work well with jeans or chinos, providing a stylish contrast to the fabric.

Fabric Belts

Fabric belts are a great alternative to leather belts when you want to add some texture or color to your outfit. They are often made from materials like canvas, nylon, or woven fabric. Fabric belts can be found in various patterns and designs, allowing you to express your personal style.

  • Canvas Belt: Canvas belts are durable and casual, perfect for outdoor activities or adding a rugged touch to your ensemble.
  • Webbed Belt: Webbed belts feature a woven design and are commonly used in military-inspired outfits or as a sporty accessory.

2. Determining the Correct Size of a Belt for Yourself

Measuring Your Waist Size

To determine the correct size of a belt for yourself, you need to measure your waist size accurately. Use a flexible measuring tape and wrap it around your waist where you usually wear your pants. Make sure the tape is snug but not too tight. Take note of the measurement in inches or centimeters.


  • If you’re between two sizes, it’s generally best to go with the larger size so that you have some room for adjustment.
  • Aim for a belt that has its center hole at the measurement you obtained. This provides flexibility if your waist size changes slightly.

Understanding Belt Sizing

Belt sizes are usually measured from the buckle end to the middle hole. The measurement is typically stated in inches or centimeters. For example, if a belt has a size of 36 inches, it means that the distance from the buckle end to the middle hole is 36 inches. This allows for adjustment both smaller and larger than the stated size.


  • When buying a belt online or in-store, check if the sizing refers to waist size or belt length. Some brands may provide different measurements.
  • If you’re unsure about your belt size, it’s always helpful to consult a sizing chart provided by the brand or retailer.

3. Should Your Belt Match the Color of Your Shoes?

Why Matching Belt and Shoe Colors is Important

Matching the color of your belt with your shoes is a common fashion rule that can help create a cohesive and polished look. When your belt matches your shoes, it shows attention to detail and a sense of style. This coordination can elevate your outfit and make you appear more put-together.

Exceptions to the Rule

While matching belt and shoe colors is generally recommended, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re wearing casual attire or going for a more eclectic look, you can experiment with contrasting colors. Mixing different shades or complementary hues can add visual interest to your outfit.

Additionally, in certain situations such as formal events or professional settings, it’s crucial to adhere to traditional style guidelines. In these cases, it’s best to stick with the classic approach of matching your belt color with your shoe color.

4. Proper Way to Thread a Belt Through Belt Loops

Step-by-Step Guide: Threading a Belt Through Belt Loops

  1. Start by inserting one end of the belt through the first belt loop on the left side of your pants.
  2. Continue threading the belt through each subsequent loop, making sure it lays flat against the fabric without twisting.
  3. If there is excess length at the end of the belt after threading it through all the loops, adjust accordingly by pulling or loosening until it reaches an appropriate length.
  4. To secure the belt in place, insert the end through the buckle and fasten according to its design (e.g., using a prong or sliding mechanism).

Tips for Proper Belt Threading

  • Always start threading from the left side of your pants, as this is the traditional method.
  • Ensure that the belt lies flat against your waistband and does not bunch up or fold over.
  • Avoid twisting the belt as you thread it through each loop to maintain a neat appearance.
  • Adjust the belt length based on your comfort and desired fit, making sure it is neither too tight nor too loose.

5. Rules and Guidelines for Wearing a Belt with Formal Attire

Choosing the Right Belt

When it comes to formal attire, it is important to choose a belt that complements your outfit. Opt for a leather belt in a neutral color such as black or brown. Avoid belts with large buckles or flashy designs, as they can detract from the overall elegance of your ensemble.

Proper Belt Length

The length of your belt is crucial when wearing formal attire. It should be long enough to comfortably fit through the loops of your pants but not too long that it hangs down excessively. Aim for a belt that allows you to fasten it at the middle hole, ensuring a neat and polished appearance.

Matching Your Belt with Shoes

One important rule when wearing a belt with formal attire is to match it with your shoes. If you’re wearing black shoes, opt for a black belt, and if you’re wearing brown shoes, choose a brown belt. This creates a cohesive look and adds an extra touch of sophistication to your outfit.


– Invest in high-quality leather belts that will last longer and maintain their shape.
– Avoid belts with excessive embellishments or logos, as they can appear tacky in formal settings.
– Always ensure that the width of your belt matches the width of your pant loops for a balanced look.

6. Enhancing Your Casual Outfit with a Stylish Belt

Selecting the Right Belt Width

When adding a belt to your casual outfit, consider the width of both the belt itself and the pant loops. For jeans or chinos, opt for wider belts (around 1.5-2 inches) to create a more rugged and relaxed look. For dressier casual outfits, such as khakis or tailored trousers, a narrower belt (around 1 inch) works best.

Experimenting with Belt Materials

Casual outfits provide an opportunity to play around with different belt materials. While leather belts are a classic choice, consider trying out fabric or woven belts for a more laid-back and unique look. These materials can add texture and visual interest to your outfit.

Adding a Pop of Color

A stylish belt can be used as an accessory to inject some color into your casual ensemble. If you’re wearing neutral-colored clothing, opt for a belt in a bold hue like red or blue to create a focal point. However, ensure that the color complements the rest of your outfit without clashing.


– Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns with your belt and other accessories, such as socks or pocket squares.
– Consider the overall vibe of your casual outfit when selecting a belt. A rugged leather belt may suit a denim-based look, while a woven belt might be better suited for beach-inspired attire.
– Experiment with different buckle styles, such as matte metal or distressed finishes, to add personality to your casual outfit.

7. Current Fashion Trends and Popular Belt Styles for Men

Slim Leather Belts

In recent years, slim leather belts have become increasingly popular among men. These belts typically have widths ranging from 0.5-1 inch and offer a sleek and minimalist aesthetic. They work well with both formal and casual outfits and are versatile enough to be worn in various settings.

Canvas Belts

Canvas belts have gained popularity due to their durability and versatility. They are often made from sturdy cotton material and come in various colors and patterns. Canvas belts are perfect for adding a touch of casual style to your outfits and are commonly worn with jeans or chinos.

Woven Belts

Woven belts, typically made from materials like braided leather or fabric, have a relaxed and bohemian vibe. They are great for adding texture and visual interest to your outfit. Woven belts work well with casual attire and can be paired with shorts, linen pants, or even swim trunks for a beach-inspired look.


– Keep an eye on current fashion trends to stay updated on the latest belt styles.
– Consider investing in a few versatile belts that can be easily paired with different outfits.
– Don’t be afraid to experiment with unique belt materials or buckle designs to showcase your personal style.

8. Common Mistakes Men Make When Wearing a Belt and How to Avoid Them

Wearing Mismatched Belt and Shoe Colors

One of the most common mistakes men make is wearing a belt that doesn’t match their shoes. To avoid this, always ensure that your belt color complements your shoe color. Stick to classic combinations like black belt with black shoes or brown belt with brown shoes for a polished look.

Incorrect Belt Length

Another mistake is wearing a belt that is either too long or too short. A belt that hangs down excessively or barely reaches the first loop of your pants can ruin the overall appearance of your outfit. Take the time to find the right length by trying on different sizes and adjusting accordingly.

Overly Tightening the Belt

Tightening your belt excessively not only looks uncomfortable but also creates unsightly bulges around the waistline. Remember that a properly fitted belt should provide support without digging into your stomach. Adjust it so that it feels secure but still allows you to move comfortably.


– Invest in a variety of belts in different colors and styles to avoid mismatching.
– Take into account the thickness of your clothing when selecting the appropriate belt length.
– Regularly check the condition of your belts, such as buckle wear or leather cracking, to ensure they are in good shape.

9. Different Ways to Fasten and Secure a Belt Buckle Properly

The Classic Prong Buckle

The most common type of belt buckle is the classic prong buckle. To fasten it properly, insert the prong into the hole on the belt strap that fits comfortably. Ensure that the prong goes through one of the middle holes for an ideal fit. Pull the strap tight enough so that it stays secure but doesn’t feel overly tight.

Ratchet Buckles

Ratchet buckles offer a convenient and adjustable way to secure your belt. To use this type of buckle, slide the belt strap through the buckle until it reaches your desired tightness. The ratchet mechanism will hold it securely in place without requiring any holes. To release, simply press the lever on the backside of the buckle.

Double D-Ring Buckles

Double D-ring buckles are commonly found on fabric or webbed belts. To fasten this type of buckle, thread one end of the belt through both D-rings and then fold it back over one ring to create a loop. Pass the end through both rings again, pulling it tightly to secure. This style allows for easy adjustability and a snug fit.


– Practice fastening different types of buckles before wearing them out to ensure you’re comfortable with their mechanisms.
– Adjust your belt throughout the day if needed to maintain a comfortable fit.
– Avoid forcing or yanking on buckles as it can damage the belt or buckle mechanism.

10. Coordinating the Material of Your Belt with Other Accessories: Is it Necessary?

Matching Leather Accessories

Coordinating the material of your belt with other leather accessories, such as shoes or a watch strap, can create a cohesive and put-together look. Matching brown leather shoes with a brown leather belt, for example, adds an element of sophistication to your outfit. However, it is not always necessary to match materials exactly.

Contrasting Materials for Visual Interest

Mixing different materials can also be a stylish choice. For instance, pairing a fabric belt with leather shoes or a metal buckle with a woven belt adds contrast and visual interest to your ensemble. This approach allows you to showcase your personal style and experiment with different textures.

Considering Overall Aesthetic

While coordinating materials can enhance your outfit, it is important to consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Sometimes intentionally mismatching materials can create a more eclectic or edgy look. Ultimately, choose what feels right for your personal style and the occasion you’re dressing for.


– Experiment with different combinations of matching and contrasting materials to find what suits your style best.
– Consider the formality of the occasion when deciding whether to match or contrast materials.
– Pay attention to color coordination as well when selecting accessories made from different materials.

In conclusion, men can enhance their style and elevate their outfits by mastering the art of wearing a belt. By choosing the right size, material, and color, as well as ensuring proper placement and coordination with the rest of their attire, men can effortlessly add a touch of sophistication to their overall look.

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