How to Choose the Best Belt for an Outfit

As important an accessory as a handbag, a belt doesn’t just hold up your pants or pull in your tummy. Change your look by creatively matching your belt with your outfit.


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You Will Need

  • A measuring tape
  • A variety of belts
  • A selection of outfits
  • A men's tie (optional)
  • Velcro (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Try outfit first

    Try on the outfit and decide where you want the belt to sit – hips or waist. Use a measuring tape to determine the proper belt length

  2. Belts generally come with five holes; a comfortable fit will use the third hole. Tightening further can cause an unattractive "muffin top" effect.

  3. Step 2

    Determine width

    Determine the width you need. A belt worn over a dress or shirt can be any width. If you’re wearing it around your hips, use a belt that is narrow at the top and follows the contour of your hips.

  4. Step 3

    Choose a color

    Select a belt that is the same color as your outfit. Or, if you choose a belt for contrast, make sure it complements colors or design elsewhere in the outfit.

  5. Step 4

    Enhance but don’t clash

    Enhance your outfit with a fancy-cut or textured belt, but avoid clashing. For a conservative ensemble the belt should be less noticeable.

  6. Create a belt using a men’s tie, fastening it with three-inch strips of adhesive Velcro.

  7. Step 5

    Highlight your waist

    Highlight your waist when wearing separates by tucking your shirt in. Add a belt that best fits the belt loop width.

  8. Step 6

    Try fun alternatives

    Wear metal belts with segments, Indian beads and leather, fancy fabric weaves, even scarves, for a fun look when going casual.

  9. Did you know? Belt buckles date back to the Bronze Age.