How to wear a belt 101
Adding a belt can help accessorize or punch up a wardrobe like this dress from RW&CO ($78). (Supplied)
One of the most maligned accessories is the belt.
Some women are intimidated by the idea of drawing a circle around their waist with any belt. They assume belts won’t look good on their body, and that they’ll be uncomfortable too.
But a belt can be a huge asset and comfortable as well.
What a belt can do:
1. A belt can tailor and polish your look giving it form and character.
2. A belt can accent your small waist. If, however, the proportions of your body are very extreme, a narrow belt in the same colour as your outfit will punctuate your look and be slimming as well.
3. A belt can pull together a loose baggy outfit and add structure to something that feels overwhelming and needs some form and shape.
4. A belt can create an atmosphere for a simple outfit. It can take a basic look from day to evening or from quiet elegance to edgy modernity. Consider the impact of a narrow leather belt that matches your outfit for work replaced by a studded wide cinch or a shimmery metallic stretch belt for evening.
5. A belt can anchor a look. As a solid accent, it will contrast a bold print or add oomph to a small soft one.
6. A belt can be a focal point that ties your colour scheme together. Wear it to match or contrast your outfit. It will showcase your waist and torso.
7. A strategically placed belt can balance your body. On some bodies, a belt can be placed under your bust, above your natural waist, to highlight a narrower part of your body. A hip belt visually lengthens the torso and gives short-waisted women the illusion of a balanced figure. A long waisted person will benefit from a belt that sits above the waist.
8. A belt can make a fresh statement and spice up a wardrobe by infusing unexpected colour, without bringing an unflattering hue next to one’s face. For example, a cool-toned person can use a saddle colour belt and shoes to send an earthy and rustic message. Conversely, a black belt will contrast a camel, olive or other warm-toned outfit.
9. A belt can create the illusion of a waist where one does not exist. When a belt is peeking out from under a third piece, such as a jacket or vest, it appears your belt is circling a waist that is smaller than it is. Your true size is concealed by the over piece.
10. A belt can conceal excess weight around your middle. Sometimes a wider elasticized belt will serve as a body shaper and slim you by concealing the excess weight at your middle. With a straight, undefined waistline, a narrower belt positioned a little lower in front can work really well.
If you have avoided belts thinking they can never look good on you, try some and see that the right belt shape, width and colour can have a positive influence on your wardrobe. It is also a refreshing change from the trendy untucked look that has recently prevailed.
Each belt offers its own mood, message and look. Discover your best width and positioning and make your belt an ally that showcases you and helps you look your personal best.
The right new belt will give your wardrobe a lift and prove to be a good investment.
"Wardrobe Doctor" Marilyn Wetston is the owner of Marilyn’s, 200 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Ont. Follow her on Facebook to ask your questions Facebook.com/MarilynsToronto