Buckle Up: A Quick Guide to Men’s Dress Belts by Professional Model and Style Guru Bryce Buell. – How To Choose The Right Belt! Below are the three most important rules surrounding the proper use of men’s dress belts:
1) Match your belt to your shoes in both color and finish. Black leather shoes = black leather dress belt. If you have brown shoes and are shopping for a matching belt, take the shoes with you. It’s hard to find an accurate match otherwise. If you cannot match the color exactly, choose the closest option, preferably with the belt slightly darker. Not much in men’s fashion looks more disconnected and vile than say, a black belt worn with brown shoes.
2) Match your belt buckle to the metals you are wearing. Silver cufflinks, silver tie clip, silver watch = silver belt buckle. The only exception to this example would be if you wear a gold wedding ring. On a side note, I usually took my wedding ring off for photo shoots. I recall one client saying they received quite a bit of negative mail when my wedding ring was seen in their catalog.
3) Your belt is the right length when the tongue fits into the third notch. Most dress belts have five notches (holes) where the buckle’s tongue (or prong) can be inserted. Regardless, the modeling industry standard is to always place the tongue in the third notch (from the end of the belt). On photo shoots, if the belt was too long the stylist would either shove a rolled up magazine between my belt and the trousers (out of view of course), or take the belt and loop it once around the rear belt loop to hide the excess in order to use the third notch. A few additional tidbits include:
1) The thinner the dress belt, the more formal, or dressier it is.
2) If dress slacks have belt loops, wear a belt – not suspenders.
3) The dress belt should be darker than the pants. This is a logical extension to the adage that your shoes should be darker than your pants.
Finally, do not think that a 36″ belt is meant for someone who wears a 36″ waist – it will be too short. When shopping for a belt it is always best to try it on with dress pants. What you will find is that the one that fits correctly will end up being about one-to-two sizes larger. For more style information head on over to Bryce’s Blog, Blue Steel.com