One thing I quickly learned in doing the BCRL styling sessions is that belts intimidate more than a few people. I do understand; I’ve been there. For anyone who doesn’t boast Situation-worthy abs, adding a belt to the mix seems like a really questionable idea – it might draw attention to the wrong thing, add bulk where it’s not wanted, and generally be a pain in the, er, side. I avoided belts for a long time, and it wasn’t until I started to push myself to be more adventurous (having a style blog will do that to you) that I began to appreciate the power of belts. Because make no mistake – Wonder Woman is not the only one who can benefit from a kick-ass belt.
A belt is a true multi-tasker. First and foremost, it will define the waist and balance proportions. If you’re not comfortable wearing a belt, start off by trying one under a jacket or cardigan (make sure that your cover-up choice is tailored or streamlined); although the sides will be obscured, the eye will still perceive the same waist-enhancing effect. A belt can work miracles on a looser top or dress, which will often benefit from the added structure.
If you’re not afraid to go bold, belt everything … as long as you can do so comfortably, without the layers getting the “bunched up” look. The thicker the layers, the wider the belt will have to be to avoid that.
A belt can also change the whole vibe of an outfit. Take this one for example:
There is nothing wrong with this, but it’s pretty basic. A belt can make a subtle, or a not so subtle difference.
Here is another quick belt-makeover:
Switching up a belt can transform the whole feel of an outfit. Belts themselves have distinct styles, which will interact differently with different looks
A few words on picking belts. You can almost never go wrong with a skinny, red patent leather belt; depending on your proportions, it may be worth investing in one you can wear at the waist and one that fits around the hips for pants. A braided belt is also a good investment, as it is generally more accommodating that one with notches; black is a great stand-by (of course, it goes with most things), but a cognac brown is also a versatile choice with a more casual, boho vibe. Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid extra bulk – buckles that stick out, extra hardware (anything that clinks as you walk is a good rule of thumb), thick belts (as opposed to wide). A skinny belt in the same colour as the pants in your outfit will create a monochromatic look that visually “smooths” away any tummy concerns.
Keep an eye out for more ‘belt magic’ in upcoming style sessions.