How to Buy a Belt That Fits You Properly

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How to Buy a Belt That Fits You Properly

Many people spend a fortune on their clothes, and go to great lengths to ensure that they fit well and look good. Yet they neglect to take the same care with items such as shoes, belts, or gloves, even though these can make or break an ensemble. One of the most frequent mistakes is failing to pay sufficient attention to belts. Essential for many trousers, belts are so commonplace that people often take them for granted.

If the belt is loose or sagging, or if it is so long that it has to be wrapped halfway around the waist, or so short that it barely closes, the impression it creates is that of the man who overlooks the details. Even if the rest of the clothes are stylish and immaculate, this glaring flaw can dramatically undermine the overall effect.

It is especially unfortunate when this occurs, given that the right size belt can easily be obtained by following a few simple rules. Before buying a belt it is prudent for a consumer to learn and understand these rules.

Consumers often have difficulty finding a belt they like in a size which fits. eBay has a wide selection of men’s belts, in virtually all sizes, which makes this process much simpler.

Determining the Correct Fit

When a person meets someone new, he or she instinctively flicks their eyes over the other person’s clothing, quickly assimilating as much information as possible. If anything is amiss when that first impression is being created, it becomes immediately obvious. Because belts are so visible, they form an important part of that initial judging process. It is for this reason that a properly fitted belt is essential. If it does not fit well, a belt can look sloppy, and contribute towards creating a look that is awkward or untidy.

The fact that a belt must fit is simple to understand, but knowing what constitutes a proper fit is more difficult. Since people rarely have the opportunity to see themselves as others do, it is not always easy to recognise that a belt isn’t fitting properly.

Not Too Long

The first and most obvious rule is that any belt must be longer than the circumference of the waist of the person wearing it. This much goes without saying. But how much longer is the key. If the belt is excessively long, the wearer risks looking foolish, or at least prone to miscalculation. A belt with 20 cm or 30 cm of extra length, in which the tail hangs down or needs to be wrapped around the waist a second time, would certainly fall into this category.

Not Too Short

On the other hand the belt must not be so short that it looks skimpy. This can suggest that the wearer has recently put on a lot of weight and is now having trouble fitting into his or her clothes.

The ideal belt should reach to the first loop on the trousers after the buckle, but not extend much beyond that loop. Alternatively, if the belt itself has a loop after the buckle, the belt should extend just a short distance beyond that. This normally means the belt having approximately 2 inches, or 5 cm of extra length, but no more. To achieve this, it is often helpful to buy a belt one waist size larger than the wearer’s trouser size. This should give the required extra length. Therefore, a man whose waist measures 30 inches, should try buying a 32-inch belt. By following this rule, the wearer ensures that he has a neat, well-ordered appearance.

How to Measure a Belt

A good way to establish the ideal size for a belt, is to measure one which is already known to fit well. This can easily be done using a tape measure. Place one end at the centre of the buckle, where the pin is located, and the other end at the far tip of the belt. When considering belt sizes, it is helpful to be conversant with both inches and centimetres, as both measurements are used. This chart may assist.















This will tell the wearer their ideal belt size for future purchases. Measuring an existing belt is a more accurate and helpful method than measuring the wearer’s waist, which can lead to complex decisions about how much extra material to add on for a comfortable fit.

Other Factors Affecting the Fit of a Belt

Although manufacturer’s tolerances are normally small these days, they can still be significant. This means that there is always a margin of error, even when buying a belt that is labelled as 32 inches’ Nor are these tolerances the only factor which can affect belt size.

Belt Material

The material a belt is made from can make a difference. Leather does not stretch, for example, whereas plaited linen or wool does. Therefore, if a textile belt is slightly small at the outset, it may adapt itself over time, as the natural "give" in the fibres and the looseness of the weave both allow it to expand. 

Changes in Weight

It is not only the belt that can change size. It is a fact that many wearers see their waist size increase and decrease over time. This may be as a result of seasonal factors, or of repeated attempts at dieting. Even on a daily basis, a large meal can increase waist size temporarily and take up the slack in trousers. Most people are familiar with the need to loosen their belt after a heavy meal. In order to prevent belts becoming obsolete too quickly, it is wise to allow a little leeway, thereby allowing room to accommodate these changes.

Different Trouser Types

The rules relating to belt sizes apply most stringently to formal trousers, although they will also be relevant to the majority of casual trousers, too. On the other hand, there are some deliberately oversized casual belts which are designed to be tied off, or otherwise break the normal rules.

When considering casual trousers, it is worth noting that tight jeans will probably need a different size of belt compared with looser-fitting suit trousers. As the style of belt which is appropriate for the different types of trouser would also vary, buying separate belts for each use is often sensible.

Where to Shop for Men’s Belts

If you are thinking of buying a belt, the first step is to determine the trousers the belt will be worn with. What colour are the trousers? Are they formal or informal? What size are their belt loops? Answering these questions will go a long way towards telling you what sort of belt you need.

Belts are so commonplace in the high street that people often fail to notice them. This may be because stores often treat them as an afterthought, offering an insipid collection of basic belts, rather than trying to be creative. To find a belt of particularly fine quality, or which is slightly different, or in a particular colour or shade, or outside of the normal size range, or even just to find a decent selection of normal belts, buyers may need to track down a specialist leather shop. Even there, the range is normally fairly limited, and prices may be extremely high.

This problem may be overcome by shopping online, where online marketplaces such as eBay are able to offer a wide range of styles, colours and sizes of men’s belts.

Shopping for Belts on eBay

To find your ideal belt on eBay, simply enter a search term such as " men’s belts", and browse the listings displayed on the results page. Alternatively, you can narrow the search by typing "men’s leather belts", or including the size of the belt in the search phrase. eBay offers such a wide selection of new and used belts, including famous brand names, that finding the perfect men’s belt on eBay is simple. You can sort the listings for belts according to size, condition (new or used), and main colour, style. When examining the listings for used belts, you should pay particular attention to the photos of the belt and look for signs of wear and tear. Oftentimes, the belts are photographed rolled up. If you would like to see photos of the belt unrolled, you can always request additional photos from the seller. To make contact with the seller, go to the seller’s profile and click on the contact link.


The belt is an essential accessory which is often overlooked. Such negligence can undermine the considerable cost and effort many people put into looking good. By taking a little care when buying a belt, it is possible to ensure that it fits well and looks neat. This in turn helps to creates a positive image of the wearer.

A frequent mistake when buying a belt is to fail to check that it is the right length. A belt which is too long or too short can look sloppy and awkward when worn. A belt should have sufficient length to reach to the first belt loop after the buckle. It should not extend far beyond this, and it should not fall short.

One way of helping to ensure that a belt is the right length is to buy one which is a size larger than the wearer’s waist measurement. This should give about 2 inches, or 5 cm, extra length. It is also helpful to measure an existing belt which the wearer knows fits well. 

Consumers often have difficulty finding a belt which they like in the high street, due to the often narrow and uninspiring selection on offer by most high street shops. Shopping online can solve this problem, as online retailers such as eBay offer a wide range of men’s belts.

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