Fashion » 23 Best Designer Belts for Women to Elevate an Outfit

23 Best Designer Belts for Women to Elevate an Outfit

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Let’s talk about belts, baby! And not just any belts but designer belts that you’ll want to wear season after season. Belts are a truly magical item since they can totally change an outfit. They instantly add formality to a pair of jeans, and they can totally transform the silhouette of any dress. Having a few different styles of designer belts in your closet can allow you to change your looks in dozens of new ways.

With this article, I aim to help you figure out how to add all of this variety to your closet by selecting the best designer belts on the market for any look. I then go on to give a brief history of belts, which is no easy task since they have been around for millennia!

I then get into what you’d really like to know: how to choose the right designer belts for you, as well as how to style them perfectly. To finish things off, I truly believe designer belts are an accessory you buy for life so I give maintenance tips that will maintain your belt’s longevity.

Your Ultimate Designer Belt Guide: Contents

23 Most Iconic Designer Belts for Real It Girls

From that sparkly rhinestone belt to all-time classic leather designs, here you are sure to find the best designer belts to add to your closet.

1. Saint Laurent Belt with Silver Buckle

This elegant black belt from Saint Laurent is timeless. It is made of very lightly textured calfskin leather in a slim design. It has the iconic YSL logo woven in very subtly along the side of the intricate silver-colored buckle. The buckle itself is just large enough to draw attention but still understated enough for the office. It will soon be available in a wide range of sizes. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Saint Laurent Logo Leather Belt

2. Chanel Gold & Crystal Logo Belt

This is the kind of designer belt that is meant to stand out, so we think it’d be ideal worn over an LBD on a wild night! It is made of a gold-colored chain in an ultra-slim design, with crystal strass studded CHANEL lettering as the focal point. The belt fastens at the back in a manner similar to a necklace, so you have a lot of control over its length. Buy it directly from Chanel!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Chanel Logo Chain Belt

3. Balenciaga Gold Buckled Slim Leather Belt

This is another one of the best designer belts for those with a classic style. The slightly textured black leather and slim design is classic, guaranteed to look great around either the hips or waist. The Balenciaga logo on it looks elegant rather than garish, and because it conceals the buckle it adds a unique touch. It is available in multiple sizes at Nordstrom.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Balenciaga Logo Leather Belt

4. Off-White Yellow Industrial Belt

This is exactly the kind of industrial design we’ve come to expect from the streetwear brand Off-White. This designer belt would be a little too casual if anyone else had presented it, and it’s still going to be too casual for the office. It is made of a yellow polyamide/ poly blend, which is super durable and has the brand name printed over it in black. It has a matte ratchet buckle, which makes the length totally adjustable and allows for double wrapping. You can rock it around either hips or waist. It is available at Forward.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Off-White Industrial Belt

5. Gucci Reversible Black or Brown Belt

This unisex belt from Gucci is totally iconic, with every fashion influencer worth her salt owning one. It is made from soft-grained textured calf leather that is black on one side and brown on the other. Because it is reversible you can really have the best of both worlds, especially if you own a multitude of accessories in both colors. The gold GG hardware buckle is quite noticeable, which adds glamour to the classic design. You can get it directly through Gucci in a range of sizes.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Gucci Logo Leather Belt

6. Bottega Veneta Double Strap Ivory Belt

This gorgeous Bottega Venetta belt breaks rules in the way only designer belts can. This double-strap belt can be worn around the hips or waist, with a push-stud fastening that allows you to wrap and wear it whichever way you like. The end of the belt is purposefully long, so don’t worry about having it dangle around. The ivory shade of the belt will complement lighter outfits but it can also work with earth-tones. It is sold online via Net-a-Porter.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Bottega Veneta Leather Belt

7. Valentino V-Logo Black Belt

This ultra-slim belt from Valentino is perfect for cinching in petite waists or adding a touch of glam to your work wardrobe. This simple belt is made with textured black leather and is embellished with the Valentino logo as the buckle. It is an ultra-skinny variation on classic designer belts. Pick it up from Forward!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Valentino V-Logo Leather Belt

8. Marc Jacobs Pink PVC Belt

The see-through trend made its way over from PVC shoes and clear bags to other accessories, designer belts included. This belt is made of playfully pink PVC that allows the pattern of your clothes to show through from below. It comes in a single, smaller size so it’ll only work around the waist. Use it to add structure to billowy summer dresses or autumn blazers. Purchase it from Shopbop!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Marc Jacobs The Jelly Belt

9. Alexander McQueen Corset Belt

The latest Alexander McQueen collection has brought corsets firmly back in style. This corset belt has buckles, which add sophistication and edginess to simple silhouettes. It is very structured and severe, but the design is simple enough to be wearable with different outfits. The buckles give punk-inspired sophistication to the hips, while the thickness helps to streamline the figure and add length. This is how this design gets around the thickness of the belt. You can buy it from Net-a-Porter.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Alexander McQueen Corset Leather Belt

10. Alessandra Rich Suede Belt with Square Crystal Buckle

This belt has a distinct ‘80s vibe, so if you still find fashion inspiration from shows like Dynasty then this will be one of the best designer belts to add to your wardrobe. It is made of luxurious black suede, with a large square buckle embellished with black and white crystals. It will add enough drama to make any look daytime soap worthy. Order it from Moda Operandi!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Alessandra Rich Crystal Belt

11. Black & Brown Candy Rhinestone Belt

This silver-colored rhinestone belt is totally encrusted with tiny, colorful crystals. It is a thinner belt, but because of all of the bling, we think it’d be best for wearing around the waist. The candy-colored crystals are a charming choice that will go especially beautifully over lighter colored outfits. It is handmade in the UK so you can definitely trust the quality. Get it from Net-a-Porter!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Black & Brown Rhinestone Belt

12. Versace Belt with Logo Buckle

This designer belt shouts Versace thanks to the large V buckle that takes center stage in the look. It is a thicker variation on waist designer belts that help cinch in the waist and add structure to a loose outfit. The lines of the belt are quite severe, so we think it’ll look best over bulky or structured jackets and dresses with strong shoulders. Find it through My Theresa!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Versace Logo Leather Belt

13. Jacquemus Le Porte Ceinture Pink Pocket Belt

This playful belt has a semi-hidden pocket, which seems very fitting for Jacquemus. It’s a slim belt in lively pink that will look best in the summer. It comes in enough sizes to allow you to choose from wearing it around your hips or waist, though we think we’d prefer the latter style over a little white dress or blazer. Buy it from Moda Operandi!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Jacquemus Le Porte Ceinture Leather Belt

14. Fendi Skinny Snake Embossed Belt

Snakeskin accessories are still a stylish choice, and this designer belt is a great option. It is made of embossed leather rather than the real deal, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing. It has a slim design, with Fendi’s Roma logo encrusted with crystals making for a lovely little buckle. This is definitely more of a formal belt that you can wear to the office or on a night out. Purchase it online from Farfetch!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Fendi Skinny Roma Logo Leather Belt

15. Cult Gaia Brown Canvas Belt with Vintage Buckle

Not all great designer belts have to be leather! This gorgeous Cult Gaia belt is made of soft, smooth canvas in a rich brown shade that will work well with an earthy wardrobe. The buckle is made of tortoiseshell acrylic in a matching color. It’s definitely more of a waist belt, since it has a thicker band and only comes in two sizes. Order it from Net-a-Porter!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Cult Gaia Dani Fabric Belt

16. Moschino Skinny Leather Belt

If you’re a Moschino kind of girl then this belt is a must. It has a similar style to other classic calfskin designer belts on this list, but it’s exact slim and modern. The gold Moschino logo is the main point of interest, as it takes up quite a bit of horizontal space but doesn’t add bulk to the belt. Pick it up at Nordstrom!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Moschino Logo Leather Belt

17. Farah Rhinestone Belt

When you wear a rhinestone belt this sparkly you can be sure that it will become the focal point of your outfit. The belt is constructed in such a way so that the buckle point can be placed anywhere along its length, meaning it works just as easily around the waist as it does around the hips. Grab it from Shopbop!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Farah Belt B

18. Miu Miu Classic Leather Belt

Miu Miu is a brand with a youthful feel, which is expressed through the logo in this instance. It’s a logo with a modern feeling that draws attention since it is placed over such a classic black leather band. It is a very slim belt that will work worn high or low, and it’s a great option if the mainstream designer logo belts don’t appeal to you. It is sold at My Theresa.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Miu Miu Logo Leather Belt

This is a luxurious twist on the leather logo belt, courtesy of the designers who are usually more extra than anyone, Dolce & Gabbana. The slim calfskin belt is quite smooth with seemed edges, so it looks more mature than other designer belts on this list. The D&G logo buckle provides a great counterpoint, since it is totally encrusted with crystals. Purchase it via Net-a-Porter!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Dolce & Gabbana Crystal Logo Leather Belt

20. Givenchy Pale Pink Logo Belt

The square double G Givenchy logo is pure sophistication, with a lot of negative space which sets it aside from other logos. It is particularly fetching over this pale pink belt, since it elevates the soft color and keeps it elegant. One of the best designer belts, you can buy it from Farfetch.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Givenchy Double G Logo Leather Belt

21. Isabel Marant Lecce Knotted Tan Belt

Who needs a buckle? This unique belt from Isabel Marant has a wrap-around style knotted fastening that makes it stand out from other designer belts. It’s a style that can still be worn in professional situations but is also much easier to pair with casual outfits. The tan leather belt is great for someone with a wardrobe filled with warmer colors. It is available online through Net-a-Porter.

Best Designer Belts for Women: Isabel Marant Lecce Leather Belt

22. Khaite White Double Wrap Belt

This is another one of the best designer belts for those who want small twists on conventional designs. Made by Khaite, this belt has a unique double wrap silhouette that allows you to fold the extra-long edge over the band and add interest to your look. The belt is stark white with a gold buckle accent. Get it from Moda Operandi!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Khaite Brook Leather Belt

23. Loewe Anagram Emblem Leather Belt

We’re finishing with a beautiful and timeless belt from Loewe. This simple black belt is as well-made as can be, in a soft black leather that will fit any look. The anagram emblem that makes up the buckle is impossibly beautiful, adding just a touch of femininity to the neutral band design. Find in on Net-a-Porter!

Best Designer Belts for Women: Loewe Logo Leather Belt

The Fashion History of Belts

The primary purpose of a belt always has been to keep things secure – especially loose garments like pants that can easily fall off. It was quite early in our history that we realized that by fastening a cord or band around our body we could restrain fabric and keep things close.

Early Interpretations of Women’s Belts

We are all familiar with the media depictions of coin purses or swords hanging on a belt in historical and fantasy films or television shows. Using belts for these utilitarian purposes spans hundreds of years, with examples from a variety of different civilizations. Belts were used to carry swords during the Roman Empire, for example.

The newer development is the use of the belt as a fashion accessory that purposefully changes the silhouette. This development is not as new as we think, however. Women’s belts are closely associated with corsets, which became popular in Europe in the 16th century.

From the early Medieval period and onwards we see belts come in and out of women’s fashion, sometimes drape around the hips and other times cinched tightly around the waist. There are examples of women wearing embellished chain belts that are more akin to jewelry, and other instances of sashes wrapped around the middle. High-class women were likelier to don ornate belts made of expensive materials, while peasant women would wear simple belts made of cheap materials, if they wore them at all.

The Fashion History of Belts

There is a clear interplay between corsets and belts in women’s fashion all throughout history, with the two rarely worn at the same time and with corsets being predominant, especially among the upper classes. There were a few exceptions including brief periods in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the 1920s when the flapper drop waist silhouette was all the rage.

The ’20s-‘30s Belts

Because belts were so ubiquitous throughout history and worn differently in different eras and in different parts of the world, I think it’ll be best to jump forward to the 20th century. In the 1910s women were definitely sporting belts around their waists, but the belts were usually made of fabric made to match the precise dress they were wearing. Dress patterns would often include a belt as part of the very design of the dress or jacket.

The first trousers fit with belt loops showed up in a Macy’s catalogue in 1908. Before that, men’s belts were not part of daily life outside of certain military uniforms. Belt loops (and, by extension, belts) would only become truly mainstream for men in the 1920s when belt loops on trousers became de rigueur. So in fact, belts were mainstream for women much longer before they were mainstream for men.

Illustrations from Elizabeth Erwin’s History of 20th Century Fashion show women in the 1930s wearing long, streamlined silhouettes with cinched waists, this time with both belts made to fit the garment like in the 1910s as well as with belts that look a bit more similar to the buckled men’s belts of the time. It’s important to remember that back then men’s trousers were worn high on the waistline.

Belts from 1940s through 1980s

From here on out, women’s belts would be worn to conform to the fashionable silhouette of the era, especially since corsets were no longer a part of everyday life. Belts remained waist-cinching in the 1940s and ‘50s, with options that contrasted with the outfit becoming acceptable as well.

The Fashion History of Designer Belts

Marie Claire UK recently published a particularly fetching image of Barbara Stanwyck in the ‘40s wearing a slim leopard print belt over a light blue suit, a look that would work just as well today. The main change in the 1950s was that women could finally rock the same silhouette with the occasional pair of high-rise trousers instead of skirts or dresses.

Mod fashion in the ‘60s marked a return to the drop waist silhouette of the ‘20s, albeit in a more structured way. This is when we begin to see women draping belts around their hips, especially over dresses and A-line skirts. The waist rose back up around the mid ‘70s (think disco-era high-rise trousers) and then descended again in for certain portions of the ‘80s but not without a period of thick waist belts being worn over oversized sweaters.

Modern Designer Belts

As we are all aware thanks to the resurgence of the early-90s, women’s jeans were fairly high-rise so belts would be worn around the waist, but then the rise of jeans descended to the hips toward the end of that decade. That’s when the embellished belts of the early 2000s truly had their moment, with stud- and bling-covered rhinestone belts becoming very commonplace.

Though the low-rise pants weren’t quick to go away, ultra-thick waist belts worn over loose tunics and sweaters had a slightly overlapping popularity that would come in and out of style season to season for the next 10 years or so.

These days we can see micro-seasons create micro-trends, so while low-rise pants haven’t had a comeback yet, thankfully, recent seasons have definitely given room to both thin and thick waist-cinching designer belts (with thinner options certainly being more timeless) as well as a variety of different belts worn around the hips, just like in menswear.

Women’s Guide to Choosing a Designer Belt

When you buy a designer belt from a reputable retailer you don’t need to worry too much about quality control, since you can trust that both the fashion house and the retailer will only sell high-quality designer belts. You need to be able to check for quality if you’re buying a belt in store, especially when you’re looking at a high price tag.

How to Choose Belts for Your Body Shape

• If the belt is made of leather, make sure that it is soft and supple to the touch.

• Check the front-facing part of the belt for any cracks in the leather or other signs of brittleness like unusual texture or roughness.

• Run the tip of your nail along the inner part of the belt to see if a small line will form, which is a sign that the leather is fresh.

• In previous articles, I’ve talked about looking at the seams to recognize a counterfeit or low-quality designer bag. The same applies to belts! Any stitches should be tight and sturdy, with no loose threads anywhere.

The Belt Length

• You are not likely to find a traditional belt that will work both around the hips and around the waist, although there are a few options on our list of the best designer belts.

• The difference between the waist and hip measurements of an American woman is about 8-10 inches. That difference should also correspond to the length of your belt.

• You can easily measure your waist and hips before starting your belt shopping adventure. Place your measuring tape around the part of your body where you intend to wear the belt to figure out your size.

• The belt you choose should be around 3-5 inches (8-12 cm) longer than your waist or hip measurement so that just a bit of length extends past your buckle.

• The exception is with belts intended to have extra length, which you can allow to dangle or fold over. These kinds of belts are an example of designers innovating by breaking old fashion rules. You can also just buy an extra-long belt, but you’ll probably need a belt hole puncher to add more holes to make sure it fits you.

• Additionally, if you intend to layer your belt over bulkier garments, it is better to add a few more inches to your measurement.

How to Choose Designer Belts

Shopping by Width

• These guidelines are general because it’s important to remember that the width of a belt should also depend on your height. The taller you are, the thicker the belt you can get away with wearing.

• The most classic belt width is 1.5-2 inches (about 3.8-5 centimeters), and it will probably never look off or out of style.

• 1-inch designer belts are a little more popular these days, especially for wearing around the hips. They are very flattering, as they tend to look good both around the hips and around the waist. A slim belt is a great idea right now!

• Thick waist belts (around 3 inches or thicker) are only starting to come back into style, particularly as double belts or corset-style belts. Plain or embellished thick waist belts in more traditional designs or made of elastic material are still going to look a little dated, since the last time they were in style was the early 2000s. Though we adore the new thick waist belts that are coming back in style, we’re aware that they probably have an expiry date.

Finding the Best Designer Belts for Your Figure

Now that you know how to shop for designer belts based on the correct size, it’s time to fine the perfect one for your own figure.

Best Designer Belts for Pear Body Shape

If you have narrow shoulders and torso with wider hips, you have a pear body shape.

• When it comes to waist-cinching belts, you can wear both thicker and thinner ones. Placing them higher on your waist will give you a more balanced proportion, while wearing them right at your natural waist will emphasize your curves in a way that is differently flattering.

• Stick to slimmer hip belts with either small or elongated buckles. You might want to take Trinny Woodall’s advice and choose designer belts in colors that are not going to stand out against the fabric of your trousers.

How to Style Belts

Best Designer Belts for Hourglass Body Shape

An hourglass body shape is characterized by both larger hips and a larger bust, but with a narrow waist.

• A waist-cinching belt will do a wonderful job of emphasizing your figure. The taller you are, the wider your belt can be, but generally it is better to stay away from super skinny waist belts.

• For hip belts, stick to classic and slim widths to keep your hips looking neutral.

Best Designer Belts for Apple Body Shape

Larger bosom and midsection, slim legs and narrow shoulders define an apple figure.

• Waist cinching belts are great because they help break up the torso a bit and cinch things in. It’s better to choose a slimmer belt, particularly if you’re short, and to wear it a little above your natural waist.

• Alternatively, you can choose a thicker belt as long as it has some elongating elements, like a buckle that adds negative space in the center or a slightly pointed shape.

How to Wear Belts

Best Designer Belts for Inverted Triangle and Rectangle Body Shapes

Inverted triangle and rectangle body shapes tend to be more athletics with narrow hips and more streamlined waists.

• A waist belt can help define your body a little bit and to add curve where there is none so it is worth an investment. Choose a medium to wide belt and also look for ones with central embellishments, pointed negative space or buckles that pull things in a bit to create a more shapely effect.

• If you have a triangle body shape, wear the waist belt a little lower on your waist. If you’re a rectangle, just wear it at your narrows point.

• When it comes to hip belts, don’t be afraid of embellishments! Drawing a bit of attention to your hips and making them seem larger is usually a good thing for rectangle and triangle body types.

• While a slim or medium-width belt won’t hurt, you can definitely rock more noticeable designer belts as well.

Choosing the Right Designer Belt Style

As you can see from our selection of the best designer belts that are sold right now, they definitely fall into a few stylistic categories. No matter the style of belt, make sure you go for a color story that will work with your existing wardrobe. Neutrals are always a safe bet, as well.

Classic Leather Belts

• Plain leather belts, perhaps with an embellished or logo buckle, are a staple that anyone can use in their wardrobe.

• They will last a very long time as long as you take good care for them.

• The most common colors leather belts come in are black or brown, but there are some colorful exceptions that can add a pop of color to your look or tie together a color scheme.

How to Wear Designer Belts for Women

• A snake or croc-embossed leather belt can be a great variation on a leather belt that can feel a little more unique and will be in style more often than not.

• There is an outdated idea that you have to match your leather accessories to one another (i.e. leather belt should match leather shoes and bag), which you may keep in mind if you’re really sticking to a classic style or if most of your shoes happen to be made of the same color leather. Don’t feel too constrained by this, however, as plenty of fashionable women break this rule every day.

• Leather belts are easy to combine with a casual wardrobe, vintage-inspired wardrobe, trendy wardrobe, professional outfits, and even with edgy styles.

Blinged-out Belts

• Metal chain belts as well as crystal or rhinestone belts are really fun to have for nights out or for taking your casual looks to a whole new level. They add a touch of glamour to any outfit.

• Often, metal belts are more adjustable and can be worn both around the hips and around the waist. They are a great option if you like variety.

• They are usually too loud for someone with an office job, so choose them to be a part of a larger belt collection rather than your go-to belt.

• Because they are somewhat see-through, they are easier to pair with a dress without breaking up its print.

Types of Belts for Women

Wide Belts

• Thick belts worn around the waist are always coming in and out of style, with the current fashion skewing towards corset-style or multi-strap ones.

• Since thick designer belts are more constrained by fashion, it is better to choose one that will always flatter your particular figure. Thick belts with a central buckle that allows for some negative space tend to flatter all figures by not breaking up the torso too severely. The other option is a belt with a slightly curved center design, which creates the illusion of a narrower waist.

• Corset-style waist-cinching designer belts are awesome to pair with a goth or punk aesthetic, but they can also work well with a billowier, bohemian aesthetic as long as there are enough modern elements in the outfit. It is easy to veer into “Renaissance faire costume” territory if you’re not careful.

• Avoid designer belts that add bulk with a protruding buckle or a chunky material, as that is not going to flatter and it’s also going be harder to match to outfits.

• Stick to a belt that is somewhat elastic, as you cannot rely on the narrow shape of the belt to cinch you in properly, and it’ll be less forgiving should you gain weight or even get bloated after a meal.

• If you want a thick belt in a design that happens to be trendy at the moment but is not inherently flattering, then don’t feel like you have to buy a designer belt. A more affordable option will definitely work for the time that the belt is in style.

How to Wear Designer Belts

Fabric Belts

• Choosing a fabric belt is a great idea for a variety of reasons! Fabric belts can be your go-to if you avoid animal-derived products like leather, and they are also more eco-friendly than faux leather.

• A fabric belt may not be as long-lasting as a leather belt, but it will also be more affordable, so you don’t have to worry about avoiding quick-passing fashion trends.

• When it comes to choosing a color or width, keep in mind the same suggestions I gave for leather belts.

• If you choose a fabric belt with a more unique texture, color, or print, keep in mind that styling it will be a little harder.

• A braided fabric belt in a natural color will be easy to work into a more bohemian style.

PVC Belts

• PVC is definitely having a moment in fashion right now, which is why we can see so many PVC belts!

• Clear belts are especially great to wear with prints and with more structural or street style looks.

• A PVC belt is probably not going to be formal enough for an office environment.

• There is no telling how long obvious PVC will remain in style, but a belt made of PVC meant to mimic leather is as timeless as any leather belt.

How to Wear Belts with Dresses

How to Wear a Belt with Every Outfit

• The color story matters! You can use a belt in a complementary color to break up a monochrome outfit, or use a belt to tie together the color story of your separates into a flattering color scheme.

• When it comes to prints, it’s best to wear a belt in a color that shows up in the print but is not predominant. See-through belts can also work as can belts in neutral colors.

• A single belt can be very versatile. Play around with wearing your belt around your hips, around your waist, turning it inside out, or spinning it so the buckle is at the back or side. While some designer belts will only look good one way, other belts might look good in 3 or 4 different ways!

• There are some DIY hacks you can utilize to deal with a belt that is a little too long for you. You can pick up a leather hole punch tool to add more holes if necessary.

• To deal with an overly long end extending past your buckle (especially with a thicker belt where the dangling looks sloppy rather than purposeful), you have two solutions, both of which come from Trinny Woodall. The easy and non-permanent one is to slide a small elastic over the belt – it has to be taut but not overly so. Then, once you have your belt on, tuck the loose tail into the elastic and it’ll stay up. This will only work with certain belt styles and colors, while in other instances it might be too obvious and sloppy.

• The second solution is more elegant but it takes a bit more work, and it’ll only work with fabric belts. Sew in two sides of a snap fastener into your belt – one on the back side of the tail end and another on the outer part of the belt as many inches away from the buckle as necessary. This will allow you to fasten the tail end to the front of the belt and prevent it from dangling.

Designer Belts Styling Tips

Special Tips for Waist-Cinching Belts

• There is a bit more room to play around when it comes to placing a waist-cinching belt since you are not constrained by the trouser fit or the placement of your belt loops. There are definitely more and less flattering ways to wear a waist-cinching belt.

• Belts create a line of separation that breaks up the body. Depending on how you wear the belt this may flatter your figure by adding separation or it might do the opposite. While designer belts can literally cinch things in, they are still a horizontal line, which can widen the area where they’re placed.

• If you are a little fuller in the midsection, it is better to place your waist belt a little above your natural waist where you will likely be slimmer. This is also where you should place your belt if you have a longer waist.

• If you have a short waist (which actually means that your waist starts a little higher on your torso) you’ll want your belt to sit a little lower on your waist.

• If you have a normal waist, then simply cinch your belt at the part of your waist where you are the slimmest, which is usually near the center.

• A waist-cinching belt worn over an already tight outfit is not going to help you look slimmer or more hourglass-shaped the way it would if it were worn over a billowier outfit.

• Speaking of, avoid wearing a waist-cinching belt over your top if the waistband of your skirt or trousers is visible. If your top is long enough to cover the waistband then you can wear a waist-cinching belt.

• There are a few fabulous ways to wear waist-cinching belts, with the easiest classic being over a billowy dress with no waistline.

• A waist-cinching belt with a slightly thicker band (2 inches and wider) can also help adjust the waistline of a dress that doesn’t sit quite right on you.

How to Style Designer Belts

• With the comeback of vintage high-waisted jeans, thinner waist belts are particularly useful! Since these pants are not as tight as they used to be, belts can help keep them from falling off your hips. They can also add sartorial sophistication to your look by making it seem more thoughtful and put-together.

• If you’re pairing your waist belt with high-rise jeans, tuck your top into the waistband. Choose a looser top to give yourself an hourglass look, or wear something tight if you would like to emphasize your hips. You can also wear a crop top that will show off your awesome belt.

• If you’d like to add definition to a blazer, opt for a slimmer waist belt, but if you’re dealing with a bulkier jacket, robe or coat you can opt for a wider waist belt.

• You can take some inspiration from ‘50s fashions by wearing a circle skirt with a blouse tucked in, and then use a classic waist belt to tie the whole look together. In this instance, make sure the belt matches your shoes!

• Two average or even slim belts in the same material and color can totally be worn together, at least right now when multi-strap and wrapped designer belts are a trend. Stack them one on top of the other but make sure the buckles are not totally aligned. This will look great with a darker or more avant-garde look.

Special Tips for Belts Worn at the Hip

• When it comes to jeans and trousers that have a regular or low-rise fit (meaning that they sit a little lower on the waist or right at the beginning of the hips), we recommend taking inspiration from Emmanuelle Alt (the current editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris) and choosing a slimmer belt. It will up-class simple jean and T-shirt looks without making the hips look wider.

How to Style Outfits with Belts

• Trinny Woodall suggests wearing a belt in a color that doesn’t stand out against your trousers in order to elongate the legs. This means wearing a lighter gray or blue belt against light jeans or a black or navy belt against dark-wash jeans. Don’t feel obligated to follow this rule, as a bit of separation and a shorter silhouette is not necessarily a bad thing.

• If you would like to widen your hips then a thicker belt that sits right on the widest part of your body can help draw attention to that curvy area.

• It might be redundant to mention, but avoid wearing designer belts with pants that don’t have belt loops, as the belt will inevitably slide up and you’ll find yourself uncomfortable for most of the day.

• A belt can be the missing ingredient that ties an outfit together. It can make formal accessories like a shoe or a watch as well as formal separates like a blazer work better with casual separates.

How to Take Care of Your Designer Belts

A designer belt is the kind of item you can buy for life and leave as an inheritance to your children. This is, of course, assuming you take good care of it. Proper maintenance is very important for keeping designer belts in great shape.

How to Care for Designer Belts

Caring for Leather Belts

• Store your leather belt in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

• Should your belt get wet, wipe away the moisture as soon as possible with a soft cloth.

• To clean away dust, just wipe the belt down with a dry cloth.

• Condition your belt about once a year with a dedicated leather conditioner or shoe oil. Simply rub it down with a very small amount of the oil, let it sink in for a few minutes, and then wipe away any excess product with a clean cloth.

• If your belt gets scuffed, you can apply a shoe polish to it in a color that matches the belt.

Caring for Fabric Belts

• The best place to keep a fabric belt is your closet, away from direct sunlight or water.

• Should your belt get dirty, wash it according to the fabric it is made of. It is almost always better to hand-wash a belt, but if the fabric is more durable, you can put it through the washing machine on a low cycle and sitting in a protective pillowcase. Hang it to dry.

• If the buckle is removable, it is better to take it off before putting the belt through the wash. If it isn’t, stick to hand-washing and dry the buckle immediately after.

Designer Belts Fashion Tips

Caring for Metal and Chain Belts

• Metal and chain belts should be treated exactly like jewelry.

• Store them in a cool, dry place. You can either keep them hanging in a closet to prevent tangling or store them inside a dust bag made of cotton. Avoid keeping them next to woven fabrics that they can catch on.

• You can give your chain belts a shine boost right before you put them on simply by wiping them down with a soft, dry cloth.

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