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Belt, Buckle Bonanza

BY: Judith Rasband • Dec 22, 2019

A week ago, I worked with a client who had an exciting way with belts and suggested that I do an article about them.  To get a better feel for my subject, I combed the stores looked at belts, and I was amazed at the endless variety in belting materials.

I found belts made of smooth leather, textured leather, suede, and vinyl in strips and links, there were fabrics of all types, from velvet grosgrain ribbon, and in solid colors, stripes, and prints.  Rope or raffia, string, and straw provided other options.

There were cords with tasseled ends and macrame knots tied in patterns.  Metallic strips and links, wooden links, coin, bead, and be-jeweled belts added to the choices.

Wide or narrow, straight or contoured, stretchy or solid, heavy or lightweight, simple or elaborate, creative or conservative, casual or dressy, a belt style is available to suit your fashion needs.

As a fashion item, belt styles come and go in popularity.  If you have a good one but it’s currently out of style, save it.  Its day will come again.  If it’s a favorite belt and the look is right with your outfit, wear it anyway and phooey with fashion.

If you want to be creative, you can make your own belt to get just the right color, size, and design. The project may be relaxing and fun for you or the kids.  Save it for the evening or those long summer days that are not far away.  Kits, as well as supplies, tools, and instructions, are available in hobby shops.

Buckles may be made of gold, silver, copper or brass, or even wood, ivory, bone or plastic. They may be simple and unadorned or elaborate and bejeweled.

If you’re a woman building a beginning belt wardrobe, start with a good-leather one, about one half to three-quarter inches wide in a cinnamon brown “luggage” color. Make it a flat classic style with a simple, gold buckle.  If you can have only “one” this is it.

Next, get a narrow gold chain type to dress up an outfit.  After these comes a variety of classic leather belts, narrow and wide, in colors coordinated with your clothes.

You might want a soft fabric sash, cummerbund or tubular tie belt made of matching or contrasting fabric.  Perhaps you’d like suede tope or cord for variety.  How about a double wrap-around-the-waist belt?  But remember, a wide cinch belt, tight-fitting and elasticized or laced up the front cinch only for women with hourglass figures.

A brightly colored band may be used to pick up one of the colors in a beautiful blouse and pull together the look with emphasis at the waist.  Envision a sporty white Western belt worn with a white lace-collared blouse and white slacks. It works!

A man ought to start by selecting a smooth leather belt about one-and-one-half inches wide in black or brown to coordinate with his suits.  A small gold buckle with classic squared lines is best for the basics.

From there, a top-stitched belt in cinnamon brown or a classic Ivy League fabric belt with leather closing makes a nice addition for casual sportswear.  White belts are strictly for summer and save the heavy-tooled belt and big buckles for blue jeans. 

And while belts may make a marvelous personal statement, only a dyed-in-the-wool Westerner can get away with the cowboy boots, belt and hat combine with a business suit.

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