How to Wear a Belt With a Dress

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How to Wear a Belt With a Dress

If done right, adding a belt to a dress is a great way to change the silhouette or add sparkle to an outfit. A belt can be used to define the waist, hide those pesky extra pounds, or to add curves to a straight waist. This simple accessory can be used to glam up a plain dress or to add a casual feel to an ensemble. Skinny, medium width, and wide belts suit different looks, body types and occasions.

A number of factors should be considered when choosing a belt for a dress. Aside from the width of the belt, the buckle, colour, construction, and where the belt sits on the waist affects the overall look of the outfit. This may seem like an overwhelming number of factors to consider, but the buying process can be simplified by learning what to look for and how to structure the dress and belt combination. A number of tips are provided for wearing a belt with a dress, and which belt types are better suited to particular body types is explained. Belts are available from a range of fashion outlets and from online sources such as eBay.

5 Tips on Wearing a Belt With a Dress

The most important aspect of dressing for success is for the wearer to feel confident in a particular outfit. The following five tips provide an excellent starting point for wearing a belt with a dress.

1. Find the Perfect Position for the Belt

Where the belt sits on the waist or hips affects the overall look of the outfit. For some women, the perfect spot for a belt is on the natural waistline, while others look better wearing belts that sit above or below it. Body shape and torso length play important roles in determining the perfect position for a belt, but to be absolutely certain that it is going to look good, experiment. Some women find that belts look good in several different positions, but this is not always the case.

2. Choose the Right Belt Width

Belt width can be used to define the waist, hide bumps and bulges, or to create the illusion of curves. For example, a wide belt worn over a problem area can have a cinching effect, and a skinny belt worn below the waistline can add shape to a straight waist. In addition, short torsos generally look better in thinner belts and long torsos are better suited to wider belts.

3. Consider Blending or Contrasting the Belt and Dress

A belt can be used to add contrast or to blend in with a dress. A belt that blends in with the dress is generally best for women with undefined waistlines as it makes the wearer look slimmer. A high contrast belt draws the eye to the waistline and can be used to accentuate a tiny waist. Similarly, a belt with a large or prominent buckle draws attention, while a smaller, less conspicuous buckle tends to blend in with the dress. The belt should be matched to the wearer’s handbag and shoes for the most rounded, polished look.

4. Opt for a Versatile Belt

While fashion belts can be used to create dramatic statements and add colour to a plan outfit, simple belts in block or neutral colours are more versatile and will probably still be fashionable and wearable in the future. They can be worn with multiple wardrobe items and are not limited to one outfit or type of garment. Of course, some outfits call for bold, dramatic statements and fashion belts offer the perfect way to create these. However, it is best to start off with a versatile belt.

5. Consider the Belt’s Construction and the Fabric of the Dress

Belts that feature elastic are more comfortable and expand with the body. They are more forgiving and do not become restrictive during the course of the day. Fabric, leather, patent leather, and metal belts yield different looks and the effect of the belt’s material should be considered when putting the outfit together. A texture that complements or contrasts with the fabric of the dress can be chosen. Opt for woven fabrics, such as silk, cotton blends, or rayon, that do not cling to curves to avoid lumps and bumps spilling over or under the belt when sitting down.

How to Choose a Belt Based on Body Type

Wearing a belt accentuates the torso and choosing the wrong belt can make the wearer look heavier or shorter. The belt chosen should flatter the wearer, so body shape should be considered when choosing a belt. The table below lists the most common body types and belt recommendations for each.

Body Type

Belt Recommendation

Thick waist or full torso

Avoid shortening or widening the torso

Opt for a belt in a dark colour, for example black, dark brown, or navy blue

Choose a wide skinny belt with some stretch

Consider wearing the belt just below the bust, above the natural waistline, to add lift to the breasts and elongate the waist

Straight waist with little waist definition

Wear a belt with an A-line dress to create volume at and below the hips

Defined waist and pear or hourglass figure

Nearly any type of belt can be worn to accentuate the small waist

Wear a belt on the thinnest part of the waist, usually on the natural waistline

Choose belts in bright colours, with eye catching buckles, or interesting textures to draw attention to the waist

Avoid low slung belts if curves need to be downplayed

Short waist

Choose a thinner belt that blends with the dress

Opt for the skinniest belt available if the wearer is short

Choose a medium width belt if plus sized

Wear a narrow belt low on the hips to create the illusion of a longer torso

Avoid wide belts as these can overwhelm the figure

Avoid contrasting dress and belt colours as this will visually shorten the torso

Long waist

Opt for wider belts that contrast the dress

Follow recommendations for short waisted women to emphasise a long waist

Place the belt slightly above the natural waistline to make the legs look longer

Plus sized

Blend the belt with the dress to avoid calling attention to the waist

Choose a belt with a subtle buckle, in a block colour and matte finish

Consider belting the dress above the natural waistline

Choose plain coloured belts with patterned dresses, or patterned belts with plain dresses. Adding a patterned belt to a patterned dress creates visual confusion as the overall look is too busy. Wider belts can add width if worn too close to the hips, so the wearer should carefully position a wider belt.

Buying a Belt on eBay

Finding the perfect belt and dress combination on eBay is easy. Simply type a keyword or search phrase (such as "wide elasticated belt") into the search box located on every page. To narrow the choice of listings displayed, choose the appropriate category and characteristics from the menus. For more control over search results, use the advanced search feature. Many eBay sellers offer returns and exchanges. Look for a seller with a returns policy to make it easier to return items that do not fit.

Before You Buy on eBay

Before you buy on eBay, take a moment to learn all you can about the item and the seller. Seller and item information can be found on the item listing page and in the seller feedback section.

Check the Item Listing Page

All the information that you need about an item and a seller can be found on the item listing page. This includes details about the item, the seller’s feedback and contact information, bidding and buying options, the seller’s accepted payment methods, the terms of the seller’s returns policy, and postage and packaging fees. If you have any questions, use the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller.

Check the Seller’s Feedback

Seller feedback tells you what other buyers thought of a particular seller’s products and customer service. Detailed seller ratings provide additional information about aspects such as the seller’s communication, the accuracy of the item description in the listing, the reasonableness of the postage and packaging fees, and the length of time that elapsed before the seller shipped the item. To view this information, click on the number next to the seller’s username.


A belt can be added to a dress to add definition to the wearer’s waist, to create the illusion of a longer torso, or to add curves to a straight waist. The belt should be positioned in a way that flatters the wearer. For example, women with thicker waists should consider wearing belts above the natural waistline, while a low slung belt can be used to add the illusion of length to a shorter torso. Skinny, medium width, and wide belts give a different effect and the width of the belt should match the wearer’s build and body shape.

Choosing a belt that contrasts with the dress is best for drawing attention to the waist, while a belt that blends with the dress can be used to add definition without drawing too much attention to the waist. Women with short torsos and shorter builds should avoid wide belts as they tend to clutter the waistline. Wide, colourful belts are best suited to women with slim waists and long torsos. To find the best look, experiment to find the right belt position and width. eBay sellers offer a wide range of belts in a variety of widths, colours, and materials.

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