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How to Wear a Belt

Learn how to wear belts like they do in NYC from fashion editor Verena von Pfetten in this Howcast video.

Transcript

One of the things you hear about when people talk about New York fashion is that everyone's wearing head to toe black. Yes, it's true, and people do it because New York's a hard city. There's a lot of walking. You're in and out of the subway. Maybe you're taking a taxi. And you never know where you're going to end up.

So wearing all black is a really easy way to just not stress about your outfit. One way to get away from that look, though, and maybe make sure you don't look like you're going to a funeral is adding a belt. It's a great way to add color, add definition to your waist even over a jacket, or to play with something that maybe you've worn a few times and you're a bit sick of.

A few examples. A belt I love, again, is anything that emphasizes your waist. This is great for almost any body type. It's going to make you look slimmer. Something like this where you have a little bit of an elastic, and maybe in a cool color. This is a metallic gold. You could find just a red fabric belt or even a leather one. Anything that sort of is going to fit right around your waist.

In this case you could wear it with a bright summer dress and maybe make it a little dressier. Maybe you had to wear this to the office, but you want to go out for cocktails. Add a gold belt right around the middle, and some big jewelry, and you're set.

One of the problems with winter dressing is you end up with a lot of lumpy, bumpy coats. You sort of feel like the abominable snowman when you're walking around. So what I love doing is taking a belt that's, again, going to fit around your natural waist but is a bit bigger, leaves room for layers and coats, and wrapping a belt around the center of the coat.

This is a coat that just falls straight down the middle and doesn't have a belt. If you take a coat like this that's really simple and just cuts straight down, and take a belt and wrap it right around the middle, it also adds a definition of color, and you're going to see a little bit more of your waist. It's a cool way to take a winter outfit and just sort of spice it up a little bit. We all get sick of wearing coats.

Another belt that's really common right now is a skinny belt, and you'll see that people are wearing them with jeans, they're wearing them with shorts, they're wearing them around dresses. They're really about form over function. These aren't going to hold your pants up, but they are going to add a little bit of spice and a little bit of accessory.

Today I'm wearing a gold skinny belt with my jeans. They're skinny jeans. I don't need to hold them up. But I wanted to break up the outfit a little bit and I thought this was a fun way to dress it up. Something like this, like a neutral braided skinny belt, is great around dresses, maybe something that's a little blousy in the summer but you want to add a little bit of definition. You could even wear these with jean shorts and a T-shirt or a tank top. It's just a cute way to look natural and get a little bit more glamour to your summer look.

If you're working, and then you maybe want to go for a cocktail, and then maybe you have a black tie or something really fancy, another way to take a simple black dress, your little black dress that everyone has, and spice it up is take a belt. Take one that has some gold hardware or something that almost looks like jewelry.

In this case I would wear this with just a simple black dress. You could put it right around your waist. It's going to really cinch your waist. The other thing it's going to do is, again, add a little bit of accessory to what you're wearing. Then you don't have to worry about having piled on the jewelry from work or even wearing really fancy heels. As long as you've got a nice waist and this sort of focus point that makes the dress a little bit more interesting it's a great use for a belt. And it's a very easy way to take a simple outfit and take it from day to night.

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