A Man’s Guide to Belts | Casual & Formal Attire

Can you think of a person in formal attire without a belt? At the sight of such a person, you can understand the significance of a belt even though it is a small item.

A belt is a string that is worn around the waist to hold up a person’s pants. Other than that, belts are used for carrying things and even a piece of string can be a belt. Belts are made fashionable so that they draw the attention of others increasing the beauty of the wearer’s outlook.

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What a Belt Consist of?

Belts usually consist of two parts which are the buckle and the strap. But some belts come with additional metals like a keeper loop and an end tip which protects the belt from being flayed. Among these, some belts come with a permanently attached strap and buckle. The keeper loop stops the free end from flapping around after the belt is buckled.

When to Wear a Belt?

Actually pants with belt loops leave the necessity for wearing a belt around. Can you tell me when wearing belts become highly essential? Definitely when you are in formal attire, because, as the shirt remains tucked, it looks peculiar without a belt. But that doesn’t mean, you can leave wearing belts when you are in a casual outfit.  However, you can get away with skipping a belt, when your shirt remains untucked.

Suspenders can be a good option in the absence of a belt, and it goes well with larger men. Those who are short can also take shelter of suspenders as these make a short guy look taller.


Sorting Categories: Belts are of two types including formal and informal. Formal belts have some common characteristics, which are discussed below.

Buckle Type: A dress belt’s buckle is sleek and shiny, smaller, and flatter than a casual one. Gold and silver colors are mostly used in dress belts buckles. Buckles are mostly frame-styled in which the prong makes its way through holes in the strap helping fasten the belt.


Straps in detail

Your preference must be on leather belts while buying them for formal attire. Cowhide, Faux leather, and leather of Ostrich, lizard, crocodile, and alligator are widely famous for belts raw material. Calfskin is of the highest priority due to its quality. As we know cowhide comes in a few variations, full-grain leather is the best one among them.

On the other hand faux leather even being durable is made with polyurethane providing a realistic look. But if you only lean towards casual wear, the leather of ostrich, lizard, crocodile, and alligator is the best choice for you, as these will provide you with a bold look.

How thick should a leather belt be? Some people ask so. In response to their question, I must say, usually, belts that are thinner are more formal, but bear one thing in mind that a width of 1-1.5 inches will make you a bit more formal indeed.

Black and brown are mostly preferred and used colors for formal attire. Along with these color options, the belt’s surface must be smooth and solid. Among other options you can go for, some notable are grey, navy, oxblood, tan, and white.

How about Casual Belts?

More and more stylish looks are boomed in casual belts, as casual attire is less simple than formal. People buy casual belts according to their own choice and personality. Some are characteristics of casual belts are as follows:

Buckle Types: The buckle styles of casual belts are frame-style, plate-style, box-frame, D-Ring/O-Ring, and snap. The frame style buckle is quite as like as formal belts. But in the plate style, the plate is decorated and the hook goes through the front of the strap. When you come to box-style, the box is hollow, metal, and open-ended.

The belt is fastened by threading through the rings, which can be one or two, in the D-Ring/O-Ring style. On the other hand, snap buckle style being more casual and functional are suitable for both male and female.


Straps: Wider belts are more casual indeed and so a casual belt should be 1.5 to 1.75 inches in width. What about strap materials? Full-grain leather, braided leather, tooled leather, and suede are highly appreciated strap materials in the case of leather. Full-grain leather is made from the outer layers of a cow’s hide is tough, stiff, and broad leaving its demand to the perch. But a belt with the snapped loop is a variation here.

When you are searching for a simple and unobtrusive belt with a little texture, a braided leather belt is a perfect one. Braided is well befitting with suits or jackets. Tooled leather is decorated by tooling and is mostly designed for interchangeable buckles. If you are in a simple outfit like wearing jeans and a shirt, this belt is a perfect choice.

Among other materials notable are leather-backed ribbon, canvas, webbing, rope, and vinyl. Coming to color options we can say, colors are not a big deal in casual attire. But as you are thinking of having a leather belt, we recommend you to take the brown color.


Formal or casual

We made some key differences between formal and casual belts. The first one is, formal belts are smaller with sleeker buckle whereas the casual one has a larger buckle with a broader strap width. Formal belts must be made of leather and unlikely that casual belts can be made of different materials along with leather.

Unlikely dress belts, casual belts are mostly worn with jeans, khakis, and sports. But dress belts are highly suitable for suits and business attire. But you will look nerdy, f you wear dress belts with casual pants. At the same time, it will make a jarring in your look, if you wear a casual belt with your formal attire.


Choosing The Right Size Belt

At the time of buying a belt, take the 1-2 inches longer belts than the size of your pant waist. Make sure the throw is added to the length of your belt while buying a plate buckle. Suppose you have brought a belt which is the wrong size, don’t worry about it, just go to the local cobbler and puncture a hole. But don’t do the job on your own. In the case of a dress belt, there should have a short tail end. Make sure the tail is not too long in dress belts, but a casual belt can have a bit more of a tail. By taking care of these clues, you can buy the right size belt.


Finding The Best Quality Belt

A quality belt lasts for years, so invest your money in a top-notch belt that will meet your demand alongside being stylish. Definitely, calfskin is the best material for belts. Whether a belt is turning brittle can be measured by flexing it. Then score the back with your fingernail and if you notice a faint line appearing, you can think the leather to be soft and fresh.

A quality belt must have tight-stitching with no loose ends. You have to pay more if you want the flexibility of a snapped belt. Buckles are sometimes removable whereas some are stitched. To find the best for you.

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