Real Life Style: A Beginner’s Guide To Wearing A Belt

Today I want to talk about belts for beginners. I am a beginner, so pull up a chair and I will tell you my belt story. You see, I bought a belt at this time last year, and I kid you not it was the first belt I had ever purchased in my adult life. Please do not drop dead of shock at my inability to accessorize. Belts just seemed like such a fuss, so I never really bothered. But also, for a long time I thought I couldn’t wear a belt.

The reason I thought that belts were out of my league is that I don’t really have a waist. Actually I prefer to spin it more positively and say I don’t really have hips. HA! Doesn’t that sound so much better? No matter which way you slice it though, I am straight up and down and basically as square as they come. See?

I mean both “glasses” have their use, of course, so I’m not complaining. But even the curvy magic seams of Lululemon cannot trick you into finding my waist.

But guess what I realized — making a waist where there isn’t one? This is one of the reasons why belts were invented. You can trick the world into believing you have a waist! It’s kind of amazing and today I thought we’d talk about not only that but a few additional reasons I’ve found that belts come in handy.

Disclaimer: If you are already a belting aficionado, you probably know everything I’m about to say, so let me give you a minute and you can put on your surprised face. There it is! Fantastic. Now let’s just pretend I’ve made some grand revelations, mmmmkay?

Alrighty, let’s get this party started.

Belts define a waist where there isn’t one.

Put away your geometry textbooks, I’ve already provided proof above for the hypothesis that I don’t have a waist. But sometimes clothing can make that even MORE apparent. Blousy hippie dresses that are listed as “Multicolored Boho” on your store receipt are going to be the biggest offenders. Something has to convince the world of the waist.

So guess what: Put a belt on it.

Types of Belts That Work Best: Actually this one is the most versatile. You can go with a thick or thin belt as long as you are belting at the narrowest part of your waist. For me, this is right below my chest. It sounds ridiculous, but the proportions work. Don’t be afraid to experiment with high versus low.

Belts can hide a hot outfit mess

So listen, I know Fergie tried to sell us this bill of goods a few years ago about how lady lumps are lovely and all that, but I’m telling you, when it comes to style — lumps and bumps ain’t cuttin’ it. I always look at ladies who walk around with their shirts tucked into their skirts or pants and think “Wow…they look so pulled together.” But usually when I try it, all I can say is “Man, this is just a hot mess!”

So guess what…put a belt on it!

Types of Belts That Work Best: A thick one is my suggestion. And one that has a little bit of stretch so that it moves and flexes with all of your business. Just tuck and zip and then wherever you’ve got an edge that isn’t the smoothest, wrap that belt around it and pretend it never happened. Score! You’ve got a pulled together look.

Belts can add some interest or detail to your outfit

Sometimes you put on an outfit and it’s nice, except it’s just missing something. I find this especially true with dresses. My new solution?

Guess what: Put a belt on it!

Sometimes it’s just fun to add contrast, or sometimes you just need a conversation starter. Why is leopard ALWAYS a conversation starter? (RAWR!!!!)

Types of Belts That Work Best: Thin or thick don’t particularly matter for this item, just make sure they are in an interesting pattern or color. This is where you get to have fun! But out the leopard and the patent leather. Pick up a shiny yellow belt and throw it over your turquoise dress. Take a conservative printed dress and add a saucy red. Let your style speak for you!

Still Scared? Let’s Talk Training Wheels

So even if you are gung ho to get belting, it can feel sort of awkward at first. So here are two of my favorite ways to dip your toes into the belt wearing waters without getting too out of your comfort zone:

A Few Things To Keep In Mind:

*You will not always wear the belt in the same place — sometimes it will be higher, sometimes lower — so make sure you get a versatile size. Or if you are made of money, buy many sizes! Get crazy. It will give you more options.

*Buy cheap belts first. Experiment with what’s on sale. Shop second hand. Cruise the clearance aisles at Target. Then when you know which types of belts really work for you, you can invest!

*Have fun. Seriously. It’s not that serious, and I don’t know what took me so long. It’s an easy way to add some polish to an outfit or to add a bit of sass where there isn’t any. And we can’t have outfits with no sass, can we?


So tell me:

What are your best belt wearing tips?

Do you think you’ll try to start incorporating some belts into your wardrobe?

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17 comments to Real Life Style: A Beginner’s Guide To Wearing A Belt

  • Katie
    May 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud at my desk with the leopard belt purring comment–I needed that this morning! Great post as usual; might have to stop by Target on my way home…

  • Denise
    May 29, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I never wore belts either – wearing a belt 200+ pounds on a small frame seemed to squish my fat up or down so I looked lumpy. At 180, I’m thinking of giving belts a go. You’ve inspired me.

  • sizzle
    May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I only started wearing belts about 3 years ago after I dropped some weight. Now? I must have about 30 belts. I am obsessed! I just think they can really elevate an outfit and I love how they will define my waist in a dress that’s not accentuating my curves (I’m more hourglass in shape). Or when dresses come with a tie belt? I ditch it and change it to an actual belt. I like the definition. And cinching it at the smallest part of you is super smart!

    I have yet to wear a belt with pants though…probably because I rarely wear pants?

    • Holly
      May 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      You know what is funny…I am really enjoying belts lately and it makes me not WANT to wear pants. Um…rereading that sentence I feel I need to clarify that it makes me want to wear dresses INSTEAD of pants. But you know what I’m saying. A good belt + dress combo is a match made in heaven! :)

  • TenaciousCleo
    May 29, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I’d never been a fan of belts until I was at my friend’s clothing store and she had the most gorgeous, huge black leather belt with silver buckle, and I knew it would look awesome with everything. But it only came with a dress. That was actually a little too big for me, even at the time. So you know what I did? I bought the dress to get the belt. to this day, I do not regret that decision!

    GREAT post:)

    • Holly
      May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      I recently bought a pair of pants at TJ Maxx and the pants were only ok, but the belt was AMAZEBALLS and so I totally rationalized the pants. Dig it!

  • Linda Sand
    May 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    My favorite (and only) belt at the moment is a Dockers woven leather belt that has holes the whole length of it. As I lose weight it still keeps my jeans up. Each time I finally break down and buy the next size smaller jeans, the belt still fits!

    • Holly
      May 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      You reminded me that I forgot about the MOST important reason to wear a belt — or at least what got me to buy one last year — um…to keep your pants up! HELLO!?!?! ha! It’s totally useful! :)

  • sizzle
    May 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    That’s why dress/belt/boots is my go to outfit!

  • Maggie
    May 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    So I suppose what you’re saying is: if I want to TRY a belt I need to BUY one first. Aha. As if I needed another reason to go to Target…

  • On Cynicism and Getting Better With Age
    May 30, 2012 at 6:01 am

    […] Maybe you want to train for marathon. Maybe you want to try out a CrossFit gym. Maybe you want to change the way you eat. Maybe you want to pursue that dream you had when YOU were 21 and graduating college. Hell, maybe you just want to wear a belt. […]

  • Emily
    May 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Holly, I wish you knew how much your fashion posts inspire me!!! Ok, so I wore my first belt last night and today I just spent an HOUR going through my closet and trying on things that I don’t necessarily love and figuring out whether I WOULD love them with a belt. :) So now I am convinced that this little black dress I have will be perfect for a fancy rehearsal dinner WITH A LEOPARD PRINT BELT. I have you to thank. Keep doing these posts! I love to see what you wear, because we have such similar style. XOXO

    • Holly
      May 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      HOORAY! I’m so glad. Belts totally save some dresses for me that I am not sure about. I’m sure you will look fab! :)

  • Beth
    May 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    This might be the inspiration I needed to finally wear the Target clearance belt I impulse purchased months ago. Love your fashion posts!





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