How to Wear Belts: It’s a Cinch


To belt or not to belt, that is the question. A belt really polishes off an outfit — and yes Trivago guy, I am thinking of you. Belt it or untuck it. Maybe get a steamer too while you are at it, and a quick shave. That or go full on lumbersexual. Disheveled doesn’t count. Now back to belts.

I love belts. They are probably my favourite accessory. Actually, that’s a lie. I love just about every accessory with the exception of the belly chain and toe ring. Who is going to take responsibility for those? And why do I need a belt with my bathing suit? Unless you are belly dancing, let’s leave those to the showgirls.

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Belts can pose a challenge for some. Do I wear one or leave it be? What width do I choose? Where do I position it on my body? Should I avoid them with my shape? Then there is the whole pattern, width, colour, texture and buckle issue. It can be confusing when you see so many beautiful belts in the shops or worn by others, try it and it doesn’t look the same on you. So how do you wear it?

How to Wear Belts

Try cinching it ladies. You will be surprised to see how good it looks and the shape it can create. A belt can act as a great illusion to giving you an hour glass figure. The big thing to consider when selecting a belt is what is your torso length and what is your stature. Let’s take me, for example. I am tall with a long torso, so a belt is definitely my friend. The bigger the belt, the better it is because it optically divides me and give the illusion of a shorter torso. Contrasting with a different colour creates a more defined waistline as well. A skinny belt is tougher for me to pull off and often looks wrong or weak. I still wear them with a boxy cut, wide leg pant or suiting trousers because it is elegant and work appropriate, or if the loops are not sufficient enough for a wider belt, but it doesn’t look nearly so good on me as it does on a more petite frame.

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The reverse is true for petite women or those with a shorter torso. A wide belt will overwhelm your frame or seemingly swallow you up. Stick to a skinny belt. Also, wearing tone on tone colour will look better than a contrasting colour.

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The same colour blending trick is true for those with an undefined waist. Apple shaped ladies should choose darker coloured belts, with an elasticized band and wear it higher up than the natural waistline. Think under the bustline, which has the added benefit of an additional lift feature by wearing it this way. Or loop and tie it.

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And for those that do not have much shape, a belt can visually give you some. Try a medium width belt cinched over top of a cardigan and layering your look to give shape and definition. Select a different colour from your outfit. I like it best when you take quite a long belt worn knotted and looped down rather than belting it in one of the holes. The other option for those without much shape is to wear a skinny belt with low slung pants. This will give structure to your shape.

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Where do I Wear My Belt?

If you are going to wear a belt, opt to wear it at the narrowest point of your body. Select your natural waistline or a bit above it. It essentially acts as an arrow to say “here’s where I’m best.” That being said, if you are wearing low slung pants and want to wear a belt, it will need to move down to the same location as where your pants fall so as not to create two waistlines, which is visually confusing.

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Pattern vs. Basic Belts

A pattern or statement belt can be the only accessory you need. How simple is that? A belt can instantly add emphasis to an otherwise uninteresting outfit. I love an animal print belt or a metal plated statement belt over top of a simple black dress to completely change the look. However, if basic is more your style, consider trying a woven belt.

Do You Match Your Belt to Your Shoes?

One of the most popular questions I get is do you have to match your belt to your shoes or your handbag. Absolutely not, is my answer. Old school girls may prefer to match it up, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you do go this route than I suggest matching a maximum of two items and no more. But don’t be afraid to mix it up. Just consider the colours of the outfit and matching it within these confines. So wear a coloured shoe with a  cognac coloured belt and animal print bag. Though I say three colours should be your maxium, including the outfit. If you are selecting a coloured belt or shoe, personally, I prefer if it does not match one another. It looks better when it’s not so matchy-matchy, but rather colour complementary. You can always refer to the colour wheel to help you figure out how to match colours. Opposites are a sure win.

Matching does not always look best

I hope belting 101 has given you a few guidelines to work from and now you know that it’s as easy as 1,2, 3 notches in the belt.

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Side note: This has nothing to do whatsoever with belts, but I just wanted to say how impeccable I thought Jennifer Aniston looked in that red-on-red pant suit she wore to the Critics Choice Awards. Well done Lady Aniston! Love, love, love it!

jennifer aniston cca

And can we also talk about Miss Canada’s Miss Universe outfit? Why? Is this art or is this just wrong? Maybe I’m missing something . . .I’m definitely missing something. But we are all talking about it. Are those hockey sticks or Victoria’s Secret wings?

63rd Annual Miss Universe Preliminary Show


Carolyn Bissett



  1. OMG! Are you kidding me with the hockey sticks? What is up with that?? Can’t complain too much, pretty funky in my youth too! Belts 101 is wonderful …I may go back and buy the leopard print 1 inch belt if they still have it.

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