How to Wear a Belt

Woman wearing a belt on top of a turtleneck sweater
Belts are a nearly universal fashion accessory. Both men and women wear them. Some people use them for function, while for others they are merely an added attraction to an attractive ensemble. But today we’re going to discuss some of the basics of wearing belts for women of different sizes and builds and hopefully help you understand some of the key things to remember.
Types of Belts
There are almost too many types of belts to list. You can find belts made from cloth, leather, woven cords, beads, metal links, and other shapes of nearly any substance you can imagine. The belt may be designed as an integral part of a particular garment, or designed separately as a form of jewelry worn from the waist. Whether it’s a strip of leather or vine used to hold the loincloth around the primitive tribesman’s waist, the chain of jingling bells swinging from the waist of the middle-eastern dancer, or the alligator strap with the sterling silver clasp cinched at the hips of a runway model, it is - simply put - a belt.
The Gold-Belted Rule
If there is one rule that you always remember when it comes to belts, it’s that you have to pay attention to proportion. More than just making sure that a belt is long enough, or not too long, the width of the belt is important in making sure that the belt will look good on you. If you never forget the rule of proportion, you can avoid most of the worst mistakes in selecting a belt for your body type.
To go along with this gold-belted rule, here are some others that will help you with your specific body type:
Average Builds
As with other “average” categories, the woman with an average build can usually make good use of a wide variety of belt types. As long as she keeps the belt in proper proportion to her body’s specifics (length of torso specifically) she can feel assured that she’ll look good.
How to wear belts
The one thing to watch out for is for those women of average build who have either longer than average torsos, or who are considered “short-waisted”. The short-waisted woman should avoid wide belts because these will only reinforce the disproportion of the length of her torso. Likewise, the long-waisted woman needs to avoid belts that are too thin, since these either get lost on the body, or reinforce the fact that the torso is longer than that of an average woman.
In general though, the average woman has curves, and her belted looks should respect those curves. The look should either enhance the curves or follow them, yet some belted looks result in the opposite effect and completely camouflage the natural shape of the body. Ideally, the belted look for the average build would be one where the belt was part of a fitted ensemble and served to accent the garment as an accessory, rather than creating a design element on its own (as through cinching fabric).
Thin Builds
Thin women are often believed to have no problems when it comes to clothing, but even their clothing choices must be carefully considered. And frankly, unless she is a fashion model, most thin women are as unhappy with the shape of their bodies as many larger women are.
For thin women, the benefit of many belted looks is that it allows them to create a silhouette that enhances their shape by making it appear slightly more contoured. A cinched waist makes both the hips and bust appear wider. However, for thin women, unless a belt is specifically intended for wear as a jewelry-like accessory, the belt should be worn either loosely fitted or cinched where appropriate. A loose-draped belt for a thin woman too often looks as though the belt is too large, and only makes the body appear unflatteringly skinny.
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