How to choose a belt that matches
Probably the simplest item in your entire work ensemble, there aren’t many places to go wrong when choosing a belt. But even so, I (along with the rest of you) frequently see people making the wrong decision.
Basic Rules for choosing a belt
Here are the bare minimums for making a work appropriate choice
- Your belt leather should match your shoes
- Your belt buckle should match the rest of the accessories or jewelry you have on
- Do NOT wear a belt with suspenders
- Subtle patterns and finishes only
- Logo buckles and the like are too flashy for work
- Choose a size that is 2 or 3 sizes (in inches) longer than your pant size
Your shoes should be a similar color as your belt, as close as possible. Obviously no brown shoes and black belts or vice versa. The only other possible color option that is still business appropriate would be grey. You also need to match the appearance of the material in addition to the color. If your shoes have a patent finish, then your belt should too. If you are wearing suede shoes or a duller pair, then your shoes should have a matte finish.
If the color of the buckle is a sheen silver, then aim to wear accessories or jewelry with a similar finish and color. Acceptable items in this category include watches, cuff links, tie clips, tie chains, or tie tacks. When it comes to rings, you don't need to match a wedding ring to anything, but if it is another ring that you are wearing then you should probably make sure to coordinate it to your outfit. Check out The Tie Bar for their vast selection of ties, tie clips, cuff links, belts, and other accessories.
A belt and suspenders accomplish the same goal, holding your pants up. So there is no need for both, and aside from it looking peculiar, people will assume you don't know how to dress.
When it comes to business wear, you want the patterns of your belt to be more subtle. Either a plain leather strap or a finely woven braided belt are appropriate styles for work. A fine grain on your leather is acceptable, as is a patent finish.
Buckles - are they work appropriate?
Many high end menswear brands manufacture a belt with their signature logo used as a belt buckle, this style is much better suited for casual wear, as it can seem too flashy in many industries for one to wear it in a work ensemble. Buckles in general should be as simple as possible in design for your work attire, since your shirt should remain tucked in always, and you don't want everybody to be immediately fixated upon the "LV", Double G's (or replace with pretty much any other letters), or Medusa head in the exact middle of your frame.
Buying the right size belt
Belt sizes are usually measured from the middle hole to the buckle. If there is a size rating (eg. S, XL) then it usually provides you with a range, such as 34"-36". In this case, they tend to measure from the end hole on the short side, so most belts you purchase will have a hole or two extra in case you gain some more weight in the midsection. You want the belt to be long enough to go through the first belt loop on your pants after the buckle when it is fastened. It should reach at least two inches past the buckle, but not far enough to reach the next loop near your hip or long enough to hang down.
Like I said previously, there aren't that many rules that you need to know in order to avoid making a mistake. And now you know all that you need to in order to prevent yourself from looking like a fool.