How To: Choose the best belt for an outfit

Choose the best belt for an outfit

Don't just use a belt for keeping your pants up, use it to give you some style!

As important an accessory as a handbag, a belt doesn't just hold up your pants or pull in your tummy. Change your look by creatively matching your belt with your outfit.

Step 1: Try outfit first
Try on the outfit and decide where you want the belt to sit – hips or waist. Use a measuring tape to determine the proper belt length

TIP: Belts generally come with five holes; a comfortable fit will use the third hole. Tightening further can cause an unattractive "muffin top" effect.

Step 2: Determine width
Determine the width you need. A belt worn over a dress or shirt can be any width. If you're wearing it around your hips, use a belt that is narrow at the top and follows the contour of your hips.

Step 3: Choose a color
Select a belt that is the same color as your outfit. Or, if you choose a belt for contrast, make sure it complements colors or design elsewhere in the outfit.

Step 4: Enhance but don't clash
Enhance your outfit with a fancy-cut or textured belt, but avoid clashing. For a conservative ensemble the belt should be less noticeable.

TIP: Create a belt using a men's tie, fastening it with three-inch strips of adhesive Velcro.

Step 5: Highlight your waist
Highlight your waist when wearing separates by tucking your shirt in. Add a belt that best fits the belt loop width.

Step 6: Try fun alternatives
Wear metal belts with segments, Indian beads and leather, fancy fabric weaves, even scarves, for a fun look when going casual.

Did you know? Belt buckles date back to the Bronze Age.

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