A belt is for more than re-enacting scenes from Shades of Grey. A belt serves a greater purpose than stopping your pants falling down (but it should serve this purpose too). A belt is the forgotten accessory. A belt can be used to add a personal touch to a uniform black suit, to draw a clear line between your top and bottom half, to tie an outfit together, and to make a fashion statement about who you are.

So, the humble belt. What are the essential belts you need in your drawer to improve whatever you’re wearing, everyday?

The Black Dress Belt
A formal, black belt goes with your formal shoes. It works with items like tuxedos, suits or black dress trousers. It will be a mid-width black leather belt with a simple silver buckle. It’s simple, classy and will compliment (rather than detract from) your formal wear, while adding an extra level of luxury to your look.

The Brown Dress Belt
Black shoes? You wear a black belt. Brown shoes? You wear a brown belt. It’s really that simple. Yet it’s amazing how many men miss it. Lazy? Just don’t own a brown belt? This should be your second belt. Go out and get one now! Coordinating your accessories is a simple way to pull a disparate outfit together in the mornings and it will not fail you.

The Casual Leather Belt
You’re off duty. So dress that way. Formal dress belts often look a bit off with a pair of jeans. Casual? Then wear a casual belt. Take a look in the mirror? If your belt is making your casual outfit look a bit stiff, then chances are you need a belt that’s chunkier and more rugged looking to complete the look. Casual belts tend to be a bit wider and thicker. They’re made to look tougher and be tougher — they should be able to take a bit of punishment and will look even better once they have that vintage worn look. A tan or brown leather belt will look great with jeans. It can be solid, woven or braided, and should have a decent chunky brass, silver or black buckle.

The Summer Fabric Belt
A webbed, or fabric belt is great, especially for summer casual wear. They are also great for animal rights as I’m sure animals don’t want to be made into belts. What I’m not a big fan of are the metal flip or automatic buckles. Big in the 80s like tapered jeans and should probably stay there. There are other options too… how about just a normal silver or black buckle, or the version with a double-D buckle? These can look rustic, casual and cool. These are great for wearing with shorts and chinos too. Your classic black leather belt over shorts at the beach will look kind of silly at the beach. These fabric belts can really add personality and make a statement of who you are. They come in braided or woven styles and a multitude of colors. Just make sure you pick a color that suits what’s in your wardrobe.

The Novelty Belt
For want of a better term a novelty belt could include items such as colored (burgundy, red or blue leather), snakeskin, suede, beaded, studded, or a metal chain. You don’t have to go too crazy — you will know what works with your style and personality — but this is the belt that you want to wear to stand out from the crowd and has the potential to become a signature piece. Orange alligator skin? Sure. Go for it.

Don’t forget the belt next time you’re trying to accessorize. Have a selection. Other than black. Experiment. See what works for you. Oh just make sure it fits too. There’s nothing worse than a belt looping one and a half times around your waist…

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