I have been thinking lately about removing the belt loops from some of my bespoke suit trousers.
I was previously convinced that I wanted to remove the belt loops, but now I’m confused after discussing it with my Neapolitan tailor.
She is a proponent of belts. She argues that the Neapolitan custom, at least for 2 piece suits, is for belts. My recent survey of well-dressed men in Naples seems to confirm her view. Having visited Naples several times, what is your view on the custom for belts on a Neapolitan suit?
She also says she prefers the look of a nice leather belt to having only fabric at the waist, and argues that her casual cut lends itself more to belts than side adjusters, which are viewed as being more formal.
An additional problem is that there isn’t enough fabric remaining in turn-ups to make side adjusters. Several of the suits are made from Smiths Whole Fleece, which has been depleted with no plans to be made again. Therefore, it doesn’t seem possible to have side adjusters made, or at least not in the original cloth.
Given that I’m not a fan of braces, what would you suggest?
The Neapolitan standard is indeed for belts with suits, but not all Neapolitan tailors insist on it at all. I have a couple of pairs of trousers from Elia Caliendo with side adjustors, which work perfectly and suit both the cloth and the material. And of course Ambrosi also makes trousers without belt loops.
The preference towards belts in Naples is more a stylistic tendency that, perhaps, should make us all reconsider them. I certainly prefer side adjustors, particularly on a suit, but a leather belt can also be a thing of beauty.
I’m not sure I buy the argument that all Neapolitan suits are more casual and therefore go better with belts. A dark worsted suit, no matter how lightweight and flounced of shoulder, is still pretty formal. You could even argue that belts are unsuited to Naples because they are constricting, with the thick band of leather that much more noticeable in contrast to the lightweight suit.
But of course you undermine all this with your last point – that there isn’t enough cloth on the inside of the trousers anyway. You can have side adjustors made out of another material, but it would be a statement and one not easy to pull off. Certainly you don’t want it on many pairs of trousers.
So it sounds like you’re stuck with belt loops or braces.