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?

Many thanks


Hi Andrew,

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.



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fredrick Parker

I love the look of a suit without a belt. Every suit that I have had made, except that misguided first one, had side tabs or buttons on the waistband. My reason, it’s a much cleaner presentation, a smoother transition from the jacket to the trouser. The only belt that I can stomach is a sleek alligator belt. The most unsightly scene is when a guy wears the widest belt he can find with a suit. Very off balance!

Christopher Ashley

I love this blog 🙂


I believe, it is a question of the “rise”. If you wear your trousers on the high side (coming up to the belly button, or even an inch higher) belt-less trousers can look very good. But if you wear your trousers below the belly button (not talking ‘hipsters’ here) they ought to have a belt.

And for the big chaps who drape their beer belly over the waistband, a belt for support is an absolute necessity.


After my first few bespoke suits with side tabs on the trousers, I’m coming back around to having trousers with belt loops and wearing belts. I think they are worth having for the additional texture they bring to the ensemble. Also the older I get, the more I prefer the feeling of wearing a belt. I think the key here is having a variety of widths and textures for the belts , not just a black and a brown one and giving some thought to the overall balance of leather to the particular suit. I agree, it’s unsightly to have a wide thick leather belt with a chunky buckle that would be more appropriate with jeans, worn with a fine wool suit. Just a little thought as you get dressed should have you picking a complimentary belt to the suit. It also helps if you can stretch to getting your belt made to order ( made to measure ?? ) so that your buckling is made right in the middle with not too much or too little belt coming out of the buckle.

Christopher Ashley

i’ve just been measure for a navy 3 piece suit with no belt loops and side tabs based on reading this… i’ve never gone sans belt before, but then i’ve never bought a waistcoat. i’m going to see how i feel wearing it as a 2 piece.

i’ve got a few weddings to go to in the next couple of years, so if it’s a little outlandish i won’t wear it to work.

Carl Melin

Is it possible and/or appropriate to have side tabs on trousers that have buttons for suspenders. I am thinking about having a bespoke suit made with two trousers, one pair of lowrise (standard) with belt loops and one pair of high rise that I can use with suspenders. I will probabaly also order a waist coat.


Hi Simon, I find myself in a similar situation as that described by your reader question above. Would it be too risky or distasteful to simply have the belt loops removed without adding side tabs? Cheers


Hello Simon,
I have also been thinking whether I should remove belt the loops from some of my trousers and add brace buttons inside instead. I was wondering though what is your opinion on trousers that are worn with braces, but still have belt loops. In my view it doesn’t look so good, but I have seen many well dressed gentlemen doing that. I was wondering what your view is on the subject?

Thank you in advance

ed hayes

are they still in business? they are not answering my emails


Hi Simon, I’m 28 years of age and I’m looking for a new career. I’m very passionate about menswear, especially sartorial menswear. I’m very confused as to where to start!? I’ve been a Gym Instructor and Painter and Decorator amongst some other jobs which were fun, well paid etc however my heart was not in them. My main aim right now is to do something that I enjoy doing, turn my hobby into a job so to speak. Could you please point me in the right direction as to steps to take etc. may I add my time in retail was not fun at all ?. Thank you for reading this, I will look forward to hearing from you soon.


Lindsay McKee

Here’s my situation with belts v side Adjusters.
I totally agree that side Adjusters look clean and neat versus a belt.
In my case, I find there is a certain comfortable and indeed secure feel in wearing a belt.
I find that my side Adjusters slip, making the trousers looser…. definitely not good! Hence my need to add braces, which frankly I find rather fiddly to attach but not difficult.
Many next commissioning will be belts and loops.
The point is, will a trouser with belt and loops look worse with my navy bespoke jacket. I imagine not altogether.
Can you please advise me on this?

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks for your great help here. It’s belts. I’m pretty decided on belts ..slim ,smart and high quality. Sounds great!
Who would you recommend in the UK or even Europe for makers of good belts?
Further away being the exception.
Maybe any good tailor would stock good belts which would be pretty obvious anyway.

Lindsay McKee

Regarding suit jackets, I’ll be trying my current Steed Jacket, currently paired with trousers and braces/side-adjusters, with another pair of “belted”and indeed very much cheaper RTW grey trousers to check the look with a belt. I hope it’ll be OK!!
No-one wants to see a belt showing through at the forequarters of the jackets and it maybe something I’d need to take into account in a future commission.