Today I'll be tackling something every guy (hopefully) wears every day: belts! Belts often go overlooked in an outfit, but today I'll be showing you how to wear and match them like a master. Without further ado, let's get started!
Let's start with the most casual type of belt: fabric belts. Fabric belts are great for the summer and springtime due to to the season's brighter colors. They can be worn to more casual events like barbecues, going to the beach or just walking around town. Since they're more casual, they match best with more casual outfits, but can still be paired with things that blur the line between casual and formal (loafers, dress shirts, etc). In terms of color, go with something versatile but fun (like the one above). The wearing of a multicolored belt is strongly encouraged.
Casual Leather Belts
Casual leather belts are -- you guessed it -- made out of leather. The most common colors are black and brown, though there are others. This does not mean that anyone anywhere should even come close to remotely considering wearing an alternate color. Unless, of course, you're cosplaying or otherwise meming. But this isn't the article for either of those, so we'll stick to brown and black.
The nice thing about casual belts is they really go with anything (short of suits and work out clothes). So as long as your outfit falls somewhere between those two extremes, you're good to go.
"How do I know a dress belt from a formal one?" Good question, impressively inquisitive reader. A casual belt always has a rounder buckle and is a bit wider than a formal belt (compare the above and below pictures to see what I mean). A casual belt might also have a little something extra on it -- note the extra stitch on the brown belt above.
Formal Leather Belts
Formal belts are essentially casual belts with a slightly more sophisticated look. Formal belts will always be a bit simpler and thinner than casual belts. Like I said above, the belt buckle is also more square. They work well with dress shirts, suits and more formal outfits in general. Hard concept to grasp, I know. But stay with me and you'll be glad you came.
Choosing a Color
Time to pick a belt color! Well, you really should have at least a black and brown of each type (formal and casual) But this still leaves you with the question of exactly when to wear each color. Let's start with the basics: all colors convey a message, conscious or unconscious. Black is considered a more of a formal and traditional color and brown a slightly less formal, more playful color. This trend continues on the lighter the brown you pick. Try taking into consideration the function of the event and the message you want to convey; how do you want to be seen? Ultimately though, there's no real right or wrong answer here. It's all a matter of personal preference and how you personally want to come across to others.
Matching Belts with Other Things
Here's where we connect everything we just learned into a few key pieces of advice and methods for matching.
Now if you take anything from this article, take this piece of advice. This is one the the single worst and most prevalent style issues in the world today. Forgive me for waxing philosophical there, it just really stirs me up. Here goes: match your belt colors to your shoe color. It sounds so simple, yet so many guys mess this up. But you don't need to be one of them! All you have to do is wear the same color and shade of shoes and belt.
A pro tip to help you not commit this most heinous fashion sin: when picking out a belt/shoes that you plan to wear, bring along the matching piece. This way, you'll be able to get the shade just right. Trust me, this is a lifesaver.
If you want to take your matching game to style perfection, match the color of your watch/bracelets/jewelry with your belt. This'll give you an even sharper look and make you look that much better. Bonus style points if the watch/bracelet/jewelry match in color but are slightly different shades.
As for matching a belt with an outfit, here's another good tip (this also applies to matching shoes with an outfit since the belt color should always match the shoe color). Look at the overall color scheme of the outfit in question and try to choose a similar color for the belt. For instance, a lighter outfit might benefit from a light frown belt (3rd from the left above). Alternately, the right most picture looks best with a black belt.
However, this doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your matching. Take for instance the 2nd outfit from the left. Even though the matching is already great, it would still look fantastic when paired with a medium or dark brown belt. The far left outfit could've also been paired with either a black or brown belt, but that super light brown makes the colors really pop. Don't go too far into left field though, or you might find yourself on a men's fashion runway. And you really don't want that.