One of this fall’s major trends is belts. Belts are in, everybody! And as luck would have it, belts were next on my list of accessories to write about, so I decided – why not? It’s time to take a closer look at this versatile accessory.
As you can see, belts come in all styles and sizes. From the ultra skinny to the wide corset belts; from structured hard leather to soft fabric or metal. With so many choices out there, how do you know which belt is right for you?
The most important thing to remember about belts is that they’re not just fun, they are multi-functional. Belts attract attention to the waist and create an emphatic horizontal line. Before you put one on, make sure you even need that kind of emphasis. Take a look at your own waist. Is it defined or straight? Is it high (your torso being short) or low (long torso)? Do you have a curvy high hip? Are you slim or voluptuous? Depending on your answers, belts can help or hinder.
Generally, if you are short waisted and / or have a high hip, you have to be very careful with belts. If you have a particularly short torso and long limbs, putting a traditional belt on your waist will completely ruin your balance and proportions. You can experiment with a skinny belt, preferably in a color that matches or blends with the rest of your outfit, to avoid creating contrast. But the one type of belt that will actually improve your proportions is the low slung belt – like the chain belt at the bottom of the image above, the kind that rests below your natural waist on your hips. This kind of belt will visually lengthen your torso and add some visual interest.
If you are long waisted. rejoice: you actively benefit from belts, the wider the better! The current trend for wide corset type belts (you can see an off white snake skin and a black embroidered one above) works incredibly well for you. Same if you are an hourglass shape. If you happen to have a straight waist, you may belong to one of two camps: one says that you should just accept your lack of waist, avoid belts, and focus on your other many attributes; and the other says that you need to create an illusion of a waist by wearing belts. The choice is yours. If you usually go for eclectic, mix and match looks, or need to break up your visual line, a belt can be useful. If you prefer a more cohesive, head to toe look, you may want to avoid belts so as not to break that long visual line.
Personally, I like to see curvy women in soft, pliable, non-rigid belts. Thick leather belts can be quite hard and heavy looking on a curvy body, especially if the belt is wide. Try belts made of fabric, suede or really thin, soft leather. If you opt for a stretch belt, make sure you get one in the right size, or opt for one with an adjustable clasp; an too tight stretch belt does no one any favors. One great example of a belt that looks excellent on a curvy body and still showcases the waist is a kimono-type wrap belt (like the beige one in the left top corner of the image above). It looks stunning and it’s flexible and adjustable and guaranteed to fit you perfectly. Take cues for your belts from the fabrics you wear: if you look great in crisp or heavy weight fabrics, chances are that thicker, rigid belts will look great; if you find you need drapey, soft fabrics, avoid heavy, hard, wide leather and plastic belts.
Stylistically, belts are as versatile as can be. In the image above, you see a classic belt in the left top corner and a few casual, bohemian or natural type belts in the top right corner; you can also see some romantic, dramatic and off-beat choices. Make sure your belt’s style is consistent your overall look; also, it’s a great idea to have your belt harmonize with your facial and body geometry, similar to your jewelry.
We are really fortunate to live in a time when fashion is practically timeless: pretty much anything goes. It’s mostly a good thing, but sometimes it can lead to some hilarious “what where they thinking?!” moments. I experienced such a moment while looking at the belt trends for fall. I admired the lovely corset belts, which can look equally stunning paired with wild bohemian dresses and sleek, form fitting sheaths.
And then I saw this:
(images courtesy of http://www.glamour.com)
Yes, you are seeing it right: harness belts. Of all the facepalm-inducing things. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that particular creative meeting! And the worst thing? All weirdness aside, they flatter no one. I don’t know about you, but I’m relegating this trend to the “high concept” corner, meaning highly impractical and downright ridiculous. Thankfully, we still have a huge variety of stylish and flattering belts to choose from!