6 Tips For Wearing A Belt Well

In the wake of last week’s belts slide show, we had a lot of readers asking exactly how to add a belt to an outfit without messing it up. The biggest issue seemed to be the “scrooching around” that can be rather difficult to avoid when pairing a belt with certain items. Because we’ve been there and we love you, dear readers, we’ve got a few tips and tricks …

  1. The whole jeans, tee shirt and belt thing is perplexing in the extreme and rarely particularly flattering. Fitted t-shirts do not need belts, which essentially just serve to highlight the love handle area. The error of adding a waist belt to a t-shirt/jeans combo is only compounded if said tee doesn’t hit at least three inches below the jeans’ waistband. Back away.
  2. Other shirt/pant combos, however, are begging for a belt. Pants and a fitted blouse look particularly fetching when belted. If the shirt is not at least fitted to some degree on its own, you will have “scrooching” issues that will leave you tugging at your outfit all day. In order for this to work, the button-down blouse needs to at least follow the curves of your body on its own before getting the additional cinching help of a belt. I feel silly for even saying this, but by all means do not tuck that shirt in once belted; few things are stranger-looking than a blouse belted at the waist then being tucking into low rise jeans.
  3. As far as tucking is concerned, only do it with a waist belt if the belt then sits on the seam between top and bottom. Inconveniently, this is also one of the most difficult belting situations known to man. But, as a frequent supporter of this method of belting, I can offer a few ideas for making the experience less terrifying: 1) If your belt keeps popping above the seam line, you’re probably pulling it too tight; 2) If it’s particularly important that you look fly, give the belt a little extra support with double-sided dress tape.
  4. Now, for wearing a waist belt with flowier, fancier tops, you’re going to have to be down with imperfection. Silk is slippery, a quality for which we both love and hate the material. This means that throwing a belt on it will necessarily result in a little scrooching. Embrace it. Pull a little bit of shirt over the belt line yourself to create a blousing effect. That’s what we call controlling the situation.
  5. There are a few outfit pieces that I literally always wear a belt with, even though they didn’t come with loops. If you know the same is true of you, have a tailor add discreet thread belt loops on either side for a few bucks and save yourself a lot of hassle.
  6. Finally, one universal tip: Thicker belts are easier to keep in place. Just saying.