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Buckle up brilliantly with this advice from the founder of experts in the field Elliot Rhodes
Belts can often be a fashion afterthought, yet they have the ability to entirely transform an outfit. Belatedly, their importance is being appreciated, helped by recent fashion trends that demonstrate a focus on belts in both the sports luxe and tailoring arenas.
Now in its 15th year, dedicated luxury belt brand Elliot Rhodes boasts a collection that showcases the highest quality leather, suede and technical fibre belts designed for any imaginable occasion.
Elliot Rhodes founder, Justin Rhodes, has put all of those years of expertise into these hints and tips to ensure that you make the right choices when investing in a new belt – and you can buy a selection of the company’s finest items right here on the Debonair website.
When it comes to choosing a belt – and I guess this could also apply to your overall dress style – to my mind, you have three main factors to consider:
Occasion – where am I going?
A little planning and foresight will set you on the right path here. Give some thought to the place you are going to, the people you will be there with and the way you want to feel when you are there. Your outfit is an extension of your persona and tells people a lot about you.
If you know it is going to be a smarter occasion, then I would always err towards being slightly overdressed. If you are considering wearing tailoring, a lounge suit or smart trousers, keep your belt choice smart, too. You can use different leather finishes to add a stylish statement and play around with buckle finishes to express your own style and combine with the colour palette of your outfit.
Colour – what to match with?
Colour matching your belt to your shoes is always a good option, but make sure the tones really do work together – they don’t have to match, but they do have to live together. If in doubt, match your belt to your trousers/suit – for example, for denim, you will never go far wrong with a navy belt. If the occasion is more relaxed, then go ahead and use your belt as a colour vehicle, match it to your shirt or watch strap or if your outfit is more neutral (black/white/denim/khaki) then let your belt be a solitary jolt of colour. In warmer climates especially, a coloured belt on white or pale trousers is perfect.
Style – design and detail, but how much?
Let’s start with the leather – a belt made from a chunky unlined leather is never going to be suitable for a smarter occasion because the weight and feel of the leather will not work with the look of your outfit. On the flipside, this type of leather is ideal for a more casual occasion.
For smarter occasions, a belt with a subtle grain is great; a light printed texture is also fine. A little tonality in the leather will work nicely, but nothing with an overt contrast.
If the occasion demands something a little more formal still – say an evening event or important work meeting – you still need to dress up for the occasion and show you have made an effort.
Now is probably not the moment to express an excess of flamboyance, so perhaps keep the look neutral and elegant with a belt that has subtle detail at most (a little stitch detail or contrast texture are fine), then choose a buckle that shows attention to detail through small design elements.
A belt that tones in with the colour of your clothing makes sense and is actually safer than trying to match your shoes, unless the match is well managed.
If the occasion is a little more light-hearted, then now is a great time to have some fun with both belt and buckle, moving into smart-casual. Even a fairly low-key outfit can be contemporised with a cool belt, perhaps something with studs, stitch detail, distinctive texture or stronger contrast tones. The more your outfit is low-key, the more I think you can make a statement with your belt.
What else do you need to know?
Belts for denim
The world we live in nowadays is a lot more relaxed than it was in times past, and denim is now a staple choice for all sorts of occasions. But beware, the look you are going for with your denim can be undermined by the wrong choice of belt, so it is vitally important to make your belt choice in a considered manner. For a more detailed look at the subject, this guide might help you: https://www.elliotrhodes.com/blogs/news/finding-the-perfect-jeans-belt-there-s-more-to-it-than-you-might-think
Your outfit is an extension of your persona and tells people a lot about you.
How should my belt fit?
Traditionally, belts come with five holes, and most people will tell you that you should fit into the middle hole of these five.
When Elliot Rhodes started in 2004, our belts also used to have five holes, but we soon dropped the two closest to the tip because it became evident to us from experience that we would never wish for our customers to end up wearing their belt on either of these two holes.
Why? Simply put, it makes the belt look like it is too short, with the tip length looking somewhat mean relative to everything else (and can also potentially make you look like you are overweight).
When we size our customers in-store, we now aim to place them in the middle of the three holes because we feel it achieves two things: it gives the belt a nice generous tip that does not look mean; and it gives you flexibility to drop down a hole without the belt suddenly looking too short – say if you are wearing lower cut trousers or have had a big lunch!
It gives you the flexibility to tighten up a hole, too – say for higher waisted trousers or if you lose a couple of pounds.
This rule applies for classic prong-style buckles and is one you can live by most of the time.
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