I’ve begun updating some of my greatest hits posts so they’re more current. This is one of them!
If you’re looking for a tutorial on the nuts and bolts of choosing belts for your outfits, I will quite happily refer you to Audi’s fabulous guest post on how to break into belting for a comprehensive guide to wearing these amazingly versatile accessories. It’s gospel, as far as I’m concerned.
But a refresher on how belts can be worn and how they affect your proportions couldn’t hurt, right? And I’m such a visual learner myself, I figured some photographic examples might help!
CINCH YOUR WAIST
The most obvious use, in many ways, but well worth mentioning. Cinching draws attention to your waist, and if that’s your goal, belts can help you get there.
If you’ve tucked in your shirt and the waistline of your skirt or pants falls ABOVE your natural waist, belting an inch or so below can draw the eye back down.
Hip-slung belts aren’t fabulous on my bod, but they are a great way to bring they eye even further down. If you want to create balance in your figure by making your hips appear larger, a low belt will help.
BRING UP A WAISTLINE
ADD A POP OF COLOR
Although many belts are neutral, it’s easy enough to hunt down colorful ones (especially at thrift stores), and they are a simple, fun way to add color to your ensemble. Even muted tones that contrast the rest of your outfit can add interest.
Belts are no cure-all. Ill-fitting clothes will always fit ill, no matter how beautifully belted. But a shirt, dress, or skirt that is just a bit loose around the waist can be adjusted easily with the addition of a belt. The dress pictured above is a great example from my closet: Too loose on its own, perfect when belted.
Don’t go thinking that self-belts must be worn, or that waist detailing must be shown. If an item of clothing sports waistline detailing that you loathe, belt over it. This cute dress had an annoyingly crude waist seam that tended to pucker. A belt covers it right up.
ADD DEFINITION BENEATH LAYERS
It’s kind of amazing how this optical illusion works. Even if you’ve got on a boxy or loose outer layer, belting your inner layer will make your waist appear more defined. MAGICAL.
Quick reminder: If you’re interested in experimenting with belts but not too keen to spend big until you’re sure you want to wear them on the regular, here’s my advice: Thrift, thrift, thrift. Belts can be bought secondhand for a couple of bucks and most thrift stores are brimming with them. Thrift a few styles and widths, spend some time in front of the mirror, and see what works for you!