Why I’m wearing more belts

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In recent months I’ve been wearing belts more often, after years of hardly doing so at all. 

I never wore them with tailoring, preferring the clean, elegant look of an unfettered waistband with side adjustors. 

And I didn’t even wear them with jeans, as I felt it looked more chic and relaxed. In fact, a woman once made the mistake of telling me it looked sexier, which as many readers will know is more powerful than any menswear rationale. 

My view on jeans hasn’t changed (fortunate, as I actually had the loops taken off some pairs) and I’m not sure I will ever wear them with suits; why so many Italians in otherwise elegant suiting cut themselves in half with a thick piece of leather is beyond me. 

But I increasingly like belts with sports jackets and trousers, which like many others I’m wearing a lot more these days. (We touched on why in this article.)

So why the change? Well, because otherwise with a jacket and trousers there is often not much else going on. 

It rarely feels appropriate to wear a pocket handkerchief anymore (article on that here) and a tie feels increasingly formal. In their absence, a belt is a useful option. 

You’re not going to wear a belt in the same colours or patterns as a tie. Something is still lost there. But a belt does give a jacket-and-trousers a focal point, and gives you the ability to play with different materials and textures. 

I’ve used the outfit here to show that even when an outfit has a fair amount going on, a belt adds significantly to it. 

This is my gun-club check from Ciardi, with a striped PS Oxford button down. You'd rarely have much more pattern in an outfit, but still the suede belt (from Rubato) is a nice touch. You could even say it ties the outfit together.

It’s also pleasing that the belt is central, rather than off-centre - more like a tie than a handkerchief. (Although I won’t talk about what it encourages the viewer to focus on, given a tie is meant to lead the eye towards the face…)

If the outfit is plainer - say a twill oatmeal jacket and a white shirt - the effect of the belt is greater still. And it’s also nice with just knitwear and tailored trousers. 

I’ll show more outfits like that in the coming weeks. 

To illustrate how different belts can change an outfit, I’ve shown a few different options here. 

Above is a brown suede belt from Silver Ostrich. It's the same leather as the Rubato, but very different due to the Western-style buckle. It’s less formal than the simple suede, perhaps younger, and certainly more of a look. 

With the Rubato, by the way, I like that the belt is slim (one inch), has a stitched edge (making it look slimmer still) and has a simple, small buckle. All those make it look more formal and more contemporary. Thick belts with thick buckles are better with denim, if anywhere at all.

The next option, below, is an alligator belt - made by Equus in the UK. Actually, Charlie salvaged this one for me from a much thicker, wider belt I was given by Zilli years ago. 

It’s nicer as a one-inch belt, although in retrospect I should have asked Charlie to stitch the edge too, rather than just ink it. 

The last option, below, is probably the most common: a leather braided belt. 

Braided belts are very practical, given they can be fastened at any point in the braid. They’re also often softer than solid suedes or leathers. 

The only disadvantage, I think, is they can seem a little old fashioned - the kind of thing Drake’s would have fun with, undermining those associations with playful textures and colours. 

I know some people dislike braided belts for this reason, and if you’re one of them, I’d recommend a plain, slim suede like the Rubato for a smart look, or a braided suede for a casual one (article on my one from Sergey @tightly_stitched coming soon). 

The point of these different combinations, though, is that a belt can change a look. 

All of these are dark brown, all fairly plain, but they range from standard-to-the-point-of-stodgy (braided leather) through simple-but-elegant (suede) to definitely-going-to-be-noticed (Western). 

However, what if none of your dress trousers have belt loops? Well, I had loops added to these flannels by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. It wasn’t hard, it just requires the same fabric to be available from the mill. 

Of course, sometimes the same fabric is theoretically available, but it’s a new piece (batch) and the colour is slightly different. 

So far I’ve haven't found this has mattered. Not just with dark greys like the flannels here, but with lighter ones too. I can imagine, though, that it could be a problem with very pale colours or much stronger ones. 

The real issue I’ve had is deciding which trousers to add belt loops to, and which to keep with side adjustors. 

Ideally I'd like a belt to be optional decoration, like wearing a tie or a handkerchief. But once you have belt loops, it looks much better if they’re used. And unless the fit is absolutely right, you’ll probably need the belt to keep the trousers up too. 

I have seen some trousers with loops and adjustors, but it looks messy - and doesn’t avoid the issue of the unused loops. There are some complicated ways to have removable loops, but they're very fussy.

So I need to decide if I’m basically going to wear belts with all my trousers, or just keep it as an option with one or two pairs. It would be far too indulgent to have two versions of everything. 

At the moment, I’ve made the switch on these dark-grey flannels, my mid-grey ones and a dark-brown pair. Time will tell whether this becomes a fundamental part of how I dress, and I end up changing all of them. 

Photography: Milad Abedi

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Flynn

Side-adjusters: another unwitting victim of the COVID pandemic?

When I was refreshing my wardrobe I went for side-adjusters on all my new trousers… with your previous pieces playing a key role in persuading me that was the way to go!

I’m having a quiet chuckle to myself now; I wonder if I will swing back to belts in the near future?

However, I’ve rather gone the other way and dressing up rather than down for work – and very much enjoying it, too! The pandemic reinforced to me that my prized tailored pieces made to be worn rather than cosseted….

Richard Benson

Gun club check coat, flannel trousers, OCBD, belt. Classic but nothing new.
All of the above with added baseball cap?
Descending into cartoon caricature for me I’m afraid.

Flynn

I see myself staying with side adjusters for the foreseeable future, mainly because it’s a point of difference style-wise, albeit understated (the best kind!).

Even in my quite conservative workplace setting where most of my colleagues wear a jacket/blazer, I’ve only ever noticed one other who wears trousers with side adjusters.

Andrew

Hi Simon
As a wearer of belts with all my trousers (including suits but not formal wear), I thought I’d share two thoughts on why I do so:
I think there may be a British cultural connotation based on Savile Row’s use of side adjusters that belts are inappropriate for tailored trousers. Having grown up in America and preferring Northern Italian tailoring, where wearing belts with all types of trousers is the norm, I don’t share that point of view. If anything, given my cultural background and preferences, beltless trousers with side adjusters look a little funny to me, a bit like trousers with only one back pocket, no pleats or no cuffs. Almost as if they are incomplete.
The second is very practical: belts hold up my trousers better than side adjusters. I have tried side adjusters from every tailor I’ve been to and ended up having them removed and beltloops put on. I decided that trousers falling down is less elegant than wearing a belt. I never tried braces because they look a bit anachronistic to me even if they work best of all
All the best, Andrew

Tommy Mack

I’m Team Belt in this regard! I’ve found some side adjusters much better than others in keeping the trousers up whereas that’s the bare minimum you’d expect of a belt!

Andrew

Hi Simon. Maybe it’s body shape or maybe it’s execution, I’m not sure. I really did give side adjusters a try for trousers with more formal suits but they just didn’t work out for me so I ended up back with belts.

Ajbjasus

I’ve got to agree, I really like the look of belts, including an elegant 1 inch one with suits. I feel not quite dressed without one in fact.
with jeans – well mine give a little as I wear them after a wash, so a belt is essential to take up the little bit of slack that develops.
Last but not least – I really dislike the “dangling end” look on the western belt, I like mine tucked into the belt loops.
cheers

Winot

I have the same problem – side adjusters just don’t hold up my trousers. So it’s belts for outfits where I might take off the jacket and braces otherwise.

The next question is how many belt loops? (I favour 7)

Jim

This does seem to vary considerably among individuals, which to be honest I’d never considered before. Even when I’m race-fit and trim, I do not find that belts hold up my trousers particularly well; and if they do, it’s when they’re very tight, which I find very uncomfortable; also a poor idea given that I suffer with chronic acid reflux. Side adjusters work pretty well, but I find braces the best, not to mention supremely comfortable. I’d never want them to be visible, though, and I’m not aware of any RTW options that are made for braces but aren’t in a nostalgic, Oxford bag-ish cut, which I wouldn’t want to wear.

Chris

Interestingly, on my pants the use of side adjustors or belt loops rather comes from the cut : high-waisted pants all have side adjustors, while low and mid-rise rather have belt loops, as I consider them more casual and usually wear them with a cardigan or an overshirt, not a jacket.

Also, maybe you’ve touched this topic elsewhere, but what are your views on the material and colour of the belt vs that of the shoes ? Would similar colour, regardless of material always be fine ?

Hugh

I’m similar in that the cut determines whether I have belt loops, but I only wear a belt really when it’s decorative (shirt, no jacket or knitwear). It feels odd to me to have an exposed waistband of jeans or chinos, yet not for wool trousers. I appreciate that is inconsistent

Tommy Mack

Although wearing a jacket means your waistband is far less likely to be exposed so perhaps not that inconsistent?

I agree with Hugh and Chris: cut and formality tend to push me one way or the other. I nearly always wear a belt with casual trousers, never with a suit and sometimes with blazer and slacks (my work attire when I’m teaching in school)

I’m with Simon that wide belts with big buckles are fairly unwearable. Just before Christmas I bought a Hadston x BLA 1 1/4″ brown belt which is about as wide as I’d go and sits very nicely on my BLA E8s. I tend to go for plain brown belts though I have a nice 3/4″ black Loewe belt with a top opening clasp that I grabbed out of a bargain bin at Retro Man in Notting Hill decades ago, not knowing the brand back then. (When I was in a band, I used to wear a white monstrosity with black jeans and often white brothel creepers but that’s another story!)

Gary Mitchell

As with many of us, I never wear a belt with a suit but generally I do with trousers or chinos but like you I do prefer jeans sans belts…. They, belts, are however a necessary evil sometime to hang things off and carry the required accessories of my world. Unlike you though I do wear braces a lot (with suits)

P.A.

Interesting, funny how tastes evolve sometimes.

I personnaly love belts, and never wear a chino, a pair of jeans or shorts without a belt.
However, for dress trousers, i always prefer side tabs.

Tommy Mack

I’m the same: I feel casual trousers look unfinished without a belt somehow.

I never wear a belt with a suit though I think they can look good with more casual suits. My dad wears a belt with his cord and linen suits now he’s retired.

zo

I leave a belt out of casual trousers because I specifically like that unfinished look, ha!

RDH

Looking at the pictures above, I see that you are positioning the belt buckle over the button/zip of the trousers. On some trousers I have noticed that the distance between the belt loops on either side can be small. If the belt loops are tight, then in order to wear a belt, the keeper (if the belt has one) needs to be taken off the belt and threaded on after the belt goes through the belt loop nearest the centre – which can look a little odd. If the keeper is sewn in place (some of bigger belts have this) then the buckle must be off-centre.
Have you had these problems? I have been told that repositioning belt loops can be difficult, particularly on denim

Tommy Mack

I have to poke the keeper through the belt loop with some belt/jean combos if that makes sense? I wear slim belts so. fortunately it’s manageable.

Carl

I actually prefer belts to odd trousers. Even if I rarely use them for suits. I actually think that it looks strange to not have belts with jeans. Even if I get your point.

Emerging Genius

The Gun Club Check jacket is great. I see you wear it often, so it must be one of your favorites.

I still remember your loopless jeans. They never looked right to me given the heavy blue collar roots of jeans.

James

Hi Simon, how do you think about the relationship between shoe leather and belt leather, if at all?

Robin

With pleated trousers is it ‘better’ to have side adjusters or belt loops ?
Likewise with flat fronts …. are they better with belt loops ?
I would have thought pleated , being more formal , deserve side adjusters and thereby flat fronts warrant belt loops .
Interested to hear your thoughts.

Ian F

Interesting to read in this and other posts how some of your ideas have changed over time (which is, of course, perfectly natural) so what do you consider to be permanent in Permanent Style and if you were starting the site today with all you have learned would you choose a different adjective?
 

zo

do you sometimes feel being the blogger behind PS, you somehow have to stick to that ideology? in other words, do you feel your own blog sometimes hinders you from experimenting?

Gary Mitchell

That’s why its Permanent ‘Style’ not Permanent ‘Fashion’ 🙂

Aaron

Even if the style has changed, it’s remained permanently stylish!

Peter O

IAN F presumes the relationship between word and meaning is permanent, he might read Owen Barfield, History in English Words. Simon Crompton is not aware he might very well be responsible for a new i.e. additional meaning.

Craig

I prefer belts in trousers where the fabric is so thick that side adjusters are hard to adjust, like heavy corduroy. But this is a practical consideration, not a stylistic one. While I don’t dislike belts nearly as much as flat-front trousers, in general I prefer the beltless look more, and fine it more comfortable, though only slightly so. It isn’t enough to get me to remove the belt loops on a pair of RTW trousers that I like, I don’t think I’d ever get a pair of trousers made up with belt loops, unless it’s very thick, casual material, as noted.

Stoffa’s self-belted trousers, where the belt is made form the same fabric as the trousers, is a nice compromise and I find I like them as much as my beltless trousers. It’s a unusual but subtle look.

zo

I find the opposite true re fabric. side adjusters on heavy twills etc are difficult to adjust but they also stay put. adjusters on finer, worsted trousers just keep slipping back.

And

Totally agree. The self belt was a big surprise to me, I was expecting it to be a gimmick that doesn’t actually solve anything, but flipping through a couple photos quickly convinced me it actually works pretty well, for the intended purpose of not breaking the silhouette.

Johnny

Did your lady friend elaborate as to why she thought it more sexy to not wear a belt? I’m struggling to see the rationale. It seems to me and in my experience that someone’s perceived sexiness is more overarching or all encompassing. I would never base it on such specific and dare is say trivial points such as wearing or indeed not wearing a belt.
Sexiness is a subject i think lots of readers might shy away from or dismiss as being un-gentlemanly, crude or perhaps below them in some way but it think it rather interesting – and subjective of course. My wife says she finds me most attractive in a white crew neck t-shirt. Tailoring and other expensive and traditional clothing seems to me to be first and foremost for the wearer. If i were to always dress in a manner that is perceived to be the most sexy i could save a fortune. I think an article on this theme would be good. What do you feel most sexy in Simon and does your wife agree? Your statement that it be ‘more powerful than any menswear rationale’ would suggest it deserves more air time and discussion.

limekiln

There’s a US-specific dimension to what a woman thinks of a man without a belt IMO. As a European having lived in the US for many years, I was surprised to hear someone once ask (tongue-in-cheek) “did you forget your belt?”. I think the US sensibility is that a man is sloppily undressed without a belt – I’ve seldom seen anyone not wear one here. Even including on shorts – it’s certainly a “look” to see in the dog days of summer, quite often, men with impeccable polo short tucked into shorts (sometimes ironed)…with belt.

Rondell Humphreys

Nothing provides more encouragement for a man to make an effort with his wardrobe than a woman giving him a compliment. I realized this back in the misty dawn of my youth. Nice to know I’m not the only man to discover this basic truth.

Noel

I have mostly side adjusters on my tailored trousers. I think the looks is cleaner and somewhat more unusual yet understated (a PS objective I’d volunteer to add). I also find belts heavier and less practical when travelling. I still think your flannels look better without the belt. The jacket adds enough interest. I wouldn’t go and change all your trousers Simon. As you tend to say, better to wait and see how you feel about them. There are other accessories, like scarves or even the PS watch cap that can add to an outfit.

However, when it comes to jeans and chinos, I do think the belt can add to the look in the way you’ve described.

Noel

Thanks for the clarification Simon. I agree that the plainer the outfit the more a belt adds.

If ties and pocket squares are on the way out for all but the most formal occasions, perhaps more distinctive (yet far from unusual) jackets such as this one, will be more useful than more plain ones?

Noel

Well yes, they’ll stand out in so far as tailoring stands out, but I wouldn’t say this jacket of yours looks unusual to the point that it can only be used infrequently like your purple liverano jacket.

Justin

Interesting article, Simon. I often wear similar outfits to those you present here with no belt and also fee the texture of a belt could add something.

Though I presume the added loops will narrow your options to wear them more formally. I think the belt looks great in that tieless outfit but perhaps would be less successful if you dressed the trousers up a bit more (I’m thinking flannels, navy jacket, OCBD, and a tie)?

Nick

Hi Simon,
What do you think of the silver ostrich belt quality? Also, the tweed is epic and I would buy a length in a heartbeat if you ever brought it back.

Gabriele

Hi Simon! I saw a pair of black tassel loafers on your IG story today, can you please tell me who the maker is? Are they a recent purchase? Thanks!

Gabriele

I see, doesn’t the Belgrade’s usually include the braided details though?

Gabriele

Belgravia*

SSummers

Is wearing a belt going to give so much interest to the outfit if one wears their sports jackets buttoned? I tend to always keep my jackets buttoned, unless I am sitting down.

Jtkuga

Interesting article Simon and very relevant to me as I have been trying to decide whether I should go beltless or have a belt with my odd trousers. I have, up until this point, been a suit guy only at the office, and have settled in on no belts with suits.

I haven’t made a decision with odd trousers and this article gives me something to think about. Covid has made my once very formal office less so. I’m leaning towards using a belt with trousers. Although, unlike you, I will frequently wear a tie with an odd jacket and trousers, there may be times when I go just shirt and trousers. I feel in that situation especially, with no belt, the outfit would look very plain, considering I generally wear shirts and trousers with little to no pattern.

It also (sort of) brings up a formality question I have for you. I’m an attorney who frequently has to appear in court. I always wear a tie when I go to a courtroom of course, but I was at the courthouse seeing a court reporter not too long ago, and was chided by a judge friend for not having a tie on. Now I wasn’t appearing in court itself, just in a back office and had on my grey serge suit, so was pretty formal except not having a tie. The judge was lamenting the lack of ties he sees now especially on younger attorneys, and I took the chance to point out that throwing a tie on his outfit consisting of an OCBD and cotton chinos did not make his ensemble formal. Who was right in the situation? Does just throwing a tie on what would otherwise be sport clothes make it more formal than my my dress suit and shirt without a tie? Thanks as always.

Grant

“Good point on wearing just a shirt and trousers – a belt makes even more of a difference there.”

How come one doesn’t see this kind of outfit on PS and similiar blogs? This is what I wear 70% of the time, yet never do I see it in the sartorial realm of the Internet. Your thoughts?

Grant

Yes, definetly. And the details / styling of the trousers, their choice of footwear and the issue of collars (non-buttondown) collapsing when not wearing a tie.

Jtkuga

I wear a jacket whenever I can without looking out of place. Unfortunately, in Dallas, Tx, I would look out of place most of the time outside of the work environment. I think, in general, those of us who live in hotter climates dress less formally by necessity almost. So church, certain restaurants, and certain social events a jacket is appropriate, but most other occasions I would look out of place.

And I do agree Simon that it would be nice to do something that shows what people actually wear. I followed your blog mainly for insights on business dress. Most of the other stuff, which is probably most of it, I find interesting and from time to time inspirational, but it is far less relevant to me personally. Its just not stuff I wear.

For example, your “How to Dress Like” series features some interesting guys but I have never seen anyone, in person, dress like most of those individuals. They seem like the type of guys you find at Pitti Uomo but nowhere else on earth. For the record this is no criticism of the blog at all, it is one of my favorites and I follow it religiously, just giving a reader’s perspective…

A

There’s a certain fetishistic relationship to ties in American culture, where people understand “tie” as “formal” regardless of everything else about the outfit. Especially in the legal profession.
The relaxation of dress codes during COVID has been pretty weird – .on one occasion a prosecutor showed up in a Hawaiian shirt, which I think is really pushing it. I would not want a guy in a Hawaiian shirt saying that I should go to prison.

R Abbott

Formality is contextual. At least in American courts, the convention is for men to wear a tie. Whether a suit without a tie would be considered more formal than chinos with button down shirt and tie by people in menswear circles is irrelevant. Also, as a practical matter, the judge is the master of the courtroom so I would go by the dictum “the judge is right”…
You also have to keep in mind that most people don’t notice details such as a shirt is button-down or not. In contrast, whether a man is wearing a tie is obvious and can be noticed even at a distance of 100 feet.
Finally, although wearing chinos definitely makes the judge’s outfit relatively casual, I wouldn’t dwell to much on the fact that the shirt was an OCBD. OCBDs are ubiquitous in America and although they are technically considered more casual, it’s common to see them in all sorts of settings.
As for who was dressed more formally, I would call it a wash. A suit sans tie strikes me as an after hours or happy hour look whereas chinos and tie is more of a daytime look.

Jack Williams

Simon,
An interesting thread here but one that is missing a key component of the three ways to hold up one’s pants: one’s actually body shape and the changes as one ages. Side-adjusters work well on a trim, youthful figure, belts too, but as one’s waist disappears (even with keeping in shape) braces become far better than either. The line around a man’s middle does shift and sometimes should be disguised by clothing. Celebrate your youthful figure while you can and prepare for the time when high-waisted pants with braces provide the best solution.

Jack

Alexander

I think I will always keep side adjustors on all my tailored trousers. Apart from style I think they are very practical. For example: When I have to sit down for longer (meeting, train etc.) I can open up the adjusters discreetly. This is really comfortable. And opening and closing a belt in public doesn´t seem like an alternative to me.
I think it was Tommaso Capozzoli who said in one of the PS-youtube-videos, that side adjustors are useless on bespoke trousers. I never understood what he means by that.
On the other side: my instagram feed is annoying me lately with those horrible pictures of denim trousers with pleats, creases, side adjustors or gurka closings. I have no idea who is buying this stuff.

And

I’m pretty sure people are (also) making them in actual denim materials. I’ve seen several online.
This one is from collaro.co
comment image?v=1640770735

And

It is, the image is the correct one. At least it is for me? Do you not see off white denim trousers?

David

I’d have to disagree with Tommaso Capozzoli: your waist is never exactly the same in the morning when you get up as in the evening, especially after a substantial meal. So (for me at least), side adjusters are better than most belts because you can fine-tune how tight you want the waist to be. Braided belts offer the same benefit, as Simon writes.

Otto

Dear Simon
A great article and a lively discussion in the comments section. I have a question related to the color of the belt buckle: How do you think about coordinating it with other metals, in particular your wrist watch? I mostly wear a steel watch and somehow find that it clashes with brass buckles, as opposed to gold or bronze. Less with informal outfits and more when wearing sports jackets and trousers.

Peter O

Simon seems to have overlooked cowboy and Wild West and other excentric buckles which might be beautiful. Charlie Trevor hasn’t to my knowledge offered cowboy buckles. Elvis was from Mississippi and wore various unusual buckles, but most were for show business and require a good voice as well.

Peter O

PS: Charlie is after all Oxbridge, located in UK, not “home on the range” 🎶 🐎🐂

zo

Can people suggest some belt brands? I have a small waist, and nice, stylish belts are difficult to find in my size. Rubato is a good call. Ostrich, too expensive. Don’t like the styles at Anderson’s as they’re too broad. Any other?

Alexander

Berg & Berg? If you like slim.

Randolph

Berg & Berg, perhaps?

And

I searched for *months* for a style such as the Rubato shown here, which I actually had seen first on Berg & Berg (out of stock in brown): suede, slim (2.5cm/1”), small rounded buckle (I strongly dislike rectangular and bulky buckles).
The Rubato one is great, btw, just way too expensive for me (as everything Rubato does).
Happy to say that I finally found it on the polish shop Poszetca. Seems it’s already out of stock, but a lighter brown, silver-colored buckle one is still available for anyone on a similar difficult quest:comment image

On a funny note, I saw some belts from Scuola del Cuoio in Florence, and while the women had nice super-slim models (probably too much for men, less than 1”), all belts for man were huge. Were it not for Poszetca I’d probably be looking in the women sections for slim belts, at this point.

Tommy Mack

I recently bought a brown one of these in the 1 1/4″ width: https://blackhorselane.com/products/brown-bla-x-hadston-leather-belt

Beautifully crafted and goes well with jeans and heavy chinos. Might be a bit heavy/rugged for anything finer or more tailored.

Ajbjasus

Macrostie up in Scotland, wonderful quality, well priced, made to measure.

Grant

Morjas sells 30mm belts, which is approx 1 1/6 inches

https://www.morjas.com/product/the-belt-brown-suede-1/

Nikolai

https://kreis-ledermanufaktur.de/belts
Kreis offers a belt configurater. Never tried their belts but other products are of great quality.

zo

cheers guys, some good recommendations here.

R Abbott

I agree with Andrew that the preference for side adjustors may be partly a British phenomenon. As an American who lived for 7 years in England (first in Oxford for university and then in London for work), I couldn’t help noticing that side adjustors are the norm in England in the way they aren’t in America.
In America, belts are ubiquitous, thanks in large party to the influence of the “Ivy” look. Additionally, you’re seeing more influence from the Western US on the East Coast, with many people wearing “Western”-styled belts. In fact, as far as I can tell, Americans generally tend to wear belts under suit jackets. (Unfortunately, you also see a lot of people wearing suit trousers with belt loops without belts, which looks rather messy). In contrast, until recently, wearing trousers with side adjustors under a sports jacket was a bit of a look, at least outside NYC. That said, with RTW sellers like Suit Supply marketing trousers with side adjustors, these are becoming more common and no longer look so effete or “sartorial.”

Peter O

Mr Abbott is a good observer of USA trends because my impression was Wild West belt buckles are more popular – they do express phantasy

Michele

I wonder if belts are especially suited to fall/winter tailoring. Maybe substantial and textured cloths stand up better to a strip of leather.

Michele

Thanks!

Screen Shot 2022-01-08 at 12.22.52 AM.png
Dan James

Never really thought it was an “either/or” argument and I don’t think that is what you are suggesting.
Like many others above, I wear a belt for jeans and chinos but side adjusters for tailored trousers. Force of habit for the former if anything. If people find trousers with side adjusters slipping down one would suggest a smaller waistband as Simon as mentioned before. If that fails, then rearrange your EDC so your pockets’ contents are better balanced.
Two last points:
Side adjusters make much more sense in really hot weather. Humid Asian summers do not lend themselves to leather belts.
Working in academia where conservative views tend to persist for longer, ties are still very much de rigueur especially for meetings whereas pocket squares hardly ever make an appearance (myself excluded). Tieless “business casual” works in the summer but winter offices often hark back to the 1980s or beyond.

Thomas

Simon, not sure if you know or have heard of Mickael Benarroch from Duret Paris. I ordered a beautiful suede belt from him at his truck show at Leffot in NY three years ago. His work is incredible. His revamped website allows you to construct your own belt, from a wide selection of leathers, suedes etc, choosing the buckle material and style as well as thread colors. I like the more classic simple styles but he also does exotic skins which are not for me for various reasons. On top of that Mickael is an amazing artisan. Warm and charming, someone who may even become a friend if I see him more often. Worth following him on Instagram, some of the videos of his work are impressive.

Matt

(Although I won’t talk about what it encourages the viewer to focus on, given a tie is meant to lead the eye towards the face…)

Oooh Matron!

Peter O

Dear Simon,

I was excited to see your theme was belts because my double fold-leather Equus belt got unstitched by daily brutal use, forcing me to use my Bree braided, and I wanted to see your view on braided belts. You wear a belt with two rings for belt end fastening, I prefer to avoid that, but if the belt length is too long it’s necessary. Charlie Trevor repaired the stitching of my belt the first time without charge, but now he recommends the single leather fold as replacement. You don’t discuss the braid end if braided or capped.

Benn

Simon – great post as I too have shifted to much of the clothing (and belts) featured. Regarding braided belts, as their made up of individual strands or woven leather, do the tend to stretch? Any advise on sizing? Like in your picture I’ve seen these softer belts often worn a little longer on the tail. At what point does it just look too long?

Peter O

Dear Simon,

Charlie Trevor was right to correct my initial request for a single hole in my belt and insist on three esp because I got fat. Your anti-pocket hankerchief position is not advocated by Charles Windsor, who appears since Trump’s visit in single breasted jackets.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

I don’t think Charlie Trevor offers braided belts, correct?

John

Hi Simon,
Eventually, I’ve got around to wishing you a happy new year, which I hope will have us leave Covid 19 behind us once and for all!
Happy new year to all PS readers too!
First, a brief comment on your post dedicated to “cocktail attire”.This was a great idea! This topic is poentially going to gain traction in the post-covid world. I’m delighted that it was raised on this blog. The question worth considering now is how to keep it in the readers’ mind.
As to today’s post, I would just say that I’ve always been a little bit puzzled by the trend toward the ubiquity of the side adjusters, whereas it should remain an option.
I’m not even sure whether side adjusters are good for all fabrics.
John

James

Hi Simon, thanks for covering this! Having mentioned more than once that you weren’t a belt guy, I wasn’t sure if you’d venture to address them. But now that you have, maybe there’s another opportunity to examine some of the important design considerations? Along with material, width and stitching (which you did mention above), the buckle, color, texture and finishing all seem to imply different levels of formality and different paradigm associations, which make shopping and matching items a little complicated. A bridle belt seems to work in some contexts but not others, as does a dressy calf belt, for example. You’re so great at providing a reasoned approach to these things, I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts.

John C

Hi Simon,
I think the photos illustrate very well the way that tailoring is mostly worn. Open-neck shirt. Jacket unbuttoned. It reminds me a bit of the fashion when I was a kid to leave shoe laces undone. It looked very casual, but wasn’t very attractive or practical.

It seems to me that with the sides of the jacket hanging down, the swoop and shaping of the jacket (much of why we pay for bespoke, surely) is lost. The shirt, with flapping collar and visible buttons, cries out for something to cover it and pull it together.

I wonder if this style of wearing jacket and tie can really last. If it does, I think it must harm tailoring – because what’s the point? Better to wear something that we’re allowed to wear in the way it was intended! I wonder if we’re like road runner – off the edge of the cliff but haven’t realised we’re about to fall. We haven’t ditched jackets yet because we wore them when we were younger, and because we know (remember) that nothing looks as good as a jacket.

But I’m not sure this way of wearing jackets will commend tailoring to the next generation. The whole things is so clearly missing something (and not just a belt, I fear). Whilst ties are hard to wear at the moment, I’ve had a go with roll-necks – but they risk looking affected in a different way. I’ve not even had a go with a cravat! I’ve seen jewellery used, but rarely to good effect. But I suppose all these attempts that people make highlight the problem. (And, as an aside, some TV presenters who wear open-necked shirts are told to shave their chest hair…)

Maybe our / my / tailoring’s hope rests with some new music group taking up the style. I saw that BTS wore suits (with ties) in some recent performances. I don’t know whether they were being ironic.

Apologies for a long message. Thank you for trying to give a way forward for wearing jackets. I’m just not convinced it will work yet – until there’s a replacement for the tie / the shirt, I think we’re heading down a route that will ultimately lose us the jacket.

JC

John C

Thanks Simon.

It’s interesting you say you mostly wear your jacket closed. I do too. And I find a belt gets in the way of the shape. It’s as though I’d gained a few pounds in a place my tailor didn’t expect. My jackets aren’t tight – they’re very English (more structured than I think you favour – but it was looking at your images many years ago that convinced me that structured jackets were the way to go – we have similar heights, colouring, sloping shoulders and prominent behinds – as well as being nearly exactly the same age) – but the belt is exactly where the tailor is cutting the jacket at it’s slimmest.

But I note you side-stepped (probably sensibly) my biggest concern. With open-necked shirts, the whole thing looks like shoes with their laces undone. If ties, roll-necks, jewellery and cravats are off-limits for most of us, how do we pull the thing together? I can’t figure this one out. I do what others do and wear my shirt unbuttoned, but it looks ugly on me (and not as good on you as a tie does…)

Thank you again for your response. And for the site. I’ve gained a lot from it and appreciate your (written) style. If I’m writing long comments it’s because I’ve been saving them up!

JC

Stefan

I’m right now changing my wardrobe and the suits. I am throwing away the old ones and replacing them. I don’t wear suits every day so I will actually only have two good suits. 1 navy and 1 grey (both from saman amel). I think grey is a difficult color to wear in general. I often look pale and feel like an accountant in grey… 🙂 what do you have for advice in terms of color and texture? Somewhere between mid grey and charcoal, a pin head for example? Or is it a better choice to go with a brown suit instead of grey? I want to be able to wear it to work with shirt and tie and also dress it down with a cashmere sweater. A really dark grey flannel suit? Of course I’ll discuss with the people at saman but always interesting to hear your thoughts.

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Technical question what is the difference (if any) between a gun club and dogtooth check? I thought the former a simple check where the different colours of the pattern cross over and latter has a ‘tick’ akin to a tooth – apologies I haven’t explained that very well!

Stephen

Thank you Simon

M L Santorsola

I never liked belts because I was constantly pulling them up. I discovered braces and have always used them instead because them held my trousers up naturally.
When I was looking for a wallet, I saw in the Equus Leather websites belts. I saw a belt that looked interesting: The Countryman’s Belt.
The leather is British Racing Green , 1″, Lichen thread color with blind embossing. I like the concept of having a lot of holes in it so that I can fit a better length fitting.
I have not receive it yet which I ordered seven months ago with my black crocodile Lloyd Billfold (which I received recently) when I do, I will wear it with jeans, chinos and corduroys but always wear braces when wearing suit or blazer with trousers.

Russ

I imagine side adjusters replaced braces in the days of three piece suits and belts, and for obvious reasons, belts cannot be comfortably or aesthetically worn with waistcoats. But today in London is very cold and I’m enjoying the additional warmth provided by a burgundy velvet waistcoat (contrasting with my blue jacket) from Favourbrook. So I shall not be adding belt loops to any of my side-adjuster trousers. In fact I find a contrasting waistcoat and its two little pockets ) to be a very useful fashion addition for summer (often without a jacket) and a provider of additional warmth in winter (with or without a jacket). Waistcoats need to make a comeback as they can tie the look of upper and lower garments together without the bulk or horizontal body division of a belt.

Ram

Perhaps one thing to add here is also the style of the trousers, much like the Hollywood type particularly when Sexton does it. I just love the trim waist and dramatic sweep of the fabric in such cuts and while some also work with side adjusters, there are at least a few patterns on the casual end which work well only when you wear them a little loose with a tightly belted waist.

Oh, and one belt-ward indulgence I made during the pandemic era is commission a special piece from Il Micio. Their linked style is as statement artisanal as it gets for a more adventurous casual look. Pictured here is one from Heddels but I ordered the same with some differences and works somewhat similar to braided belts. They also seem to make the same in plainer colours and it’s a good time to support small artisanal operations ☺️

9E8FFEE3-4BA6-4FDE-9C4F-61EB9696F06E.jpeg
Jacob

Simon

I find it great that while this is a source of information, it is also somewhat of a personal style journal for you. Seeing you “break” some of the rules old you would gasp at is fun to read. I may be bias though because I love casual tailoring and neo prep. I think the hat and belt looks great with the flannels and jacket. If you haven’t, I think you should look into Brycelands alligator belt. It would rock with your outfit.

I also have a question for yeah. For someone who’s just getting into tailoring and about to buy their first pair of flannels. Do you think having belt loops would be smart for the first pair? I see you added loops to your mid greys but you also have suits and other trousers if you needed something smarter.

Jacob

Jim

I can see why this works with the way you dress now, and you’ve made some really nice choices here. Since you’ve covered Ivy a number of times recently, how do you feel about the classic surcingle type belts with colourful webbing etc?

Jim

I tend to agree with that, really. I’ve yet to find a belt I really love the look of. The idea of having a strip of smooth, smart bridle leather around my middle just doesn’t appeal to me much – it needs to have some textural interest, but without being showy in the way that some reptile belts are. And then there’s the issue of buckles, and width…

John

Do you think brown suede belts go well with brown suede loafers, or is there too much matching there?

Rob Mac

I’ve always worn belts as all of my trousers have had belt loops and I’ve never been skinny enough to pull off the jeans with no belt look. Love the sport coat. The pattern, style and fit – perfect.

Malthe

I have to chip in on the “wear belt” group. My reasons are not aesthetics but rather just practical. I would love to always just use side adjusters, but my waist simply vary too much during the year

Sean

The cut of the trousers is beautiful! May I ask what the hem width and front rise of these are?

Sean

Cuff width, too?

Henry

Hi Simon,
what do you think about reviewing something made by Maximilian Mogg?
im sure many readers can appreciate his style

Henry

As far as I’m aware most of his business is in fact MTM but he does offer ‘bespoke’ which is Made in England.
I’m sure it would be very interesting to the continental readership of PS. I myself am living in Germany right now and I think it would be an interesting company to review.

In the current menswear space Mogg does offer a very unique style, I particularly like three piece, three button silhouette he makes.

Joe

Any reader experiences with Maximilian Mogg would also be interesting and appreciated!

Philip

Hi, Simon. What is the cloth of that jacket?

Philip

Thanks.

Paul

Do you think that chinos would look incomplete if I do not wear belt when the belt loops have been given?
Most of the days i am just wearing a shirt and chinos and mostly avoid wearing a belt. I feel the incompleteness kinds of add a bit of a sprezzatura to my outfit and even if it doesn’t I really do not like wearing a belt.
Would love to hear your advice on it.

Paul

Would you consider it to be sprezzatura?

Joe

Is a silver buckle more formal than a brass one? Or is it just me?

Joe

Thanks!

Joe

Hi Simon,
a question on the flannel color: I think you mostly recommend a mid grey as a more versatile color, but I really like this dark grey/charcoal. I think would be easily to combine the charcoal trousers with a lot of shirt/knitwear colors but my imagination struggles a bit when it comes to sports jackets. What other sports jackets would you combine with these flannels?
Many thanks in advance
J

JH

Simon, what is your take on wearing a matte alligator belt with a raw brass buckle with jeans, chinos, etc? I have a fetish for alligator but, as you with the paisley, I’ve managed to stay away except for my cardholder. But your alligator belt here is reigniting the flame…

JB

Perhaps too much of a hassle or hard to get, but what about the idea of interchangable belt loops? My idea is you’d add very discrete button holes on each end of the waistband, where you can slip through loops like a cuff link. Or have buttons for them on the inside of the waistband, like you would for braces, and have them sewn inside a coin pocket on each side so you could flip them out and close them.
You’d probably have regular ones on the side and in the back, with the assumption they wouldn’t really be seen much with jacket or knitwear.
Just a random thought.

Monty

Thank you for the suggestions you have been giving me and many others for dressing better.
In my office we do not wear jackets, I wear a normal button down shirt with tailored tropical wool trousers(mostly charcoal grey or olive). I have always preferred side adjusters with it.
1)Do you think it’s much better that I have belt loops added to it?
2) What is your opinion on black suede belts with black oxfords?

Jesse

Thank you for this article. What type/color of belt do you wear with your Alden LHS in Snuff?

Henry Bennett

Hello Simon,
Do you know anyone in London that can shorten a belt that is too long? I.e., Chop the end off and reshape the curve.
Many thanks,
Henry

Henry Bennett

Thank you I’ll give Equus a go.

Joe Pickering

Simon, maybe this article kind of functions as one but would you consider doing a ‘If you only had five belts’ or capsule collection-type article? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on where guys should start, what thickness/material/colour is most versatile, buckle, etc. For example, I don’t own any suede belts, just leather, but from reading your piece and the comments a brown suede might be just about the most versatile you can have.

Joe Pickering

Thanks, Simon.

Sorry, a couple of follow-up questions if that’s not too annoying. If you were wearing a belt with jeans would the Rubato work, or is it too refined? Something like this Anglo might be better; a bit rougher? https://angloitalian.com/collections/accessories-1/products/suede-belt

And what do you wear if you’re wearing a pale colour shoe, such as your EG Shanklins (is the colour ‘milkshake’?). At that point can a simple dark brown work or is it a clash?

Thanks again, as ever.

Marvin

Simon, what size of Rubato belt do you wear (you’re a waist 32 if read elsewhere)? Thanks

Lindsay McKee

I decided to check out the website of the Leffot shoe store in NYC and they stock leather belts made in Paris by a firm called Duret. Have you heard of them. I then checked their webpage where you can design your own leather belt. They even include Pony Leather, which I found very disconcerting. They are found at 29 Rue Duret, 75116 Paris.

Nicholas

Dear Simon, I was wondering who would you go for today, if you had to buy an alligator/crocodile belt? (Needed for a gift)
Thanks in advance