Nearly every pair of men's trousers available for purchase in the world today contain belt loops. This is because belts are useful not only to hold trousers in place, but also as a fashion statement and a way to coordinate clothing. Most fashion experts will in fact recommend wearing a belt with any kind of trousers, especially jeans. Some of the most popular belt options for men are leather belts, which can be both formal and casual. A belt is a simple article of clothing, yet there are a number of rules to keep in mind when buying one, and especially when wearing one. It is important to understand belt styles, the differences between belt buckles, how to find an appropriate belt length, and how belts relate to fashion. With the right understanding of what makes for the perfect leather belt, a man can find one, either in a clothing store or online via eBay.
Leather Belt Styles
Like anything else made of leather, leather belts come in a variety of different styles and colours. Some styles of leather belts are considered more casual, and some are much more formal. The type of belt style is important to keep in mind because fashion rules dictate that formal belts should not be worn with casual trousers and vice versa.
Calfskin Leather Belts
Leather belts made of calfskin, are by far the most common type of leather belt. Calfskin is considered supple, pliable, and easy to work with. Calfskin leather belts can also come in many colours, which usually means black and brown, although there are many different shades of brown. Some calfskin leather belts use a dye with more vibrant colours, although these are rare.When buying a calfskin belt, make sure that the leather is not too old, which can cause it to crack and possibly look ugly. A calfskin belt can even maintain a high degree of suppleness with the help of leather conditioner.
Exotic Leather Belts
Belts made from ostrich skin, alligator skin, or snakeskin are also considered leather belts, although they are far less common than belts made of traditional cow leather. Belts made of exotic leather are typically more expensive than other belts. They also tend to have a more of an uneven surface that creates an interesting visual pattern. These pattern, while eye catching, may not be a great match for some shoes or other items of clothing.
Woven Leather Belts
While many leather belts are presented as a fairly straightforward strip of leather that wraps around the waist, some belts are made of braided leather. The advantage of a braided leather belt is that there are no holes that the pin must be inserted into to ensure a proper fit. Instead, the pin on the buckle can simply slide into a space provided between the braided pieces of leather. This means that while a regular leather belt can only be fitted to very specific sizes, a braided leather belt can be adjusted to fit almost any size waistline. This aspect of woven belts is helpful for men who do not fit exactly into one size, or who are in the process of losing or gaining weight.
Formal vs. Casual Leather Belts
Many different kinds leather belts could realistically be worn for both formal and casual situations. It is a general rule of fashion, that a formal belt is narrower than the width of the wearer's thumb, and a casual belt is anything wider. That means that it is probably best to wear a narrow belt along with a pair of dress trousers, while jeans should be accompanied by a wider belt. Formal leather belts also tend to be more polished and shiny than casual leather belts, although this is not a hard and fast rule.
Studded Leather Belts
Some leather belts come with metal studs, or interspaces along the length of the belt. While these metal studs can be fairly subdued, studded leather belts are generally always considered to be a form of casual belts, and are generally not worn with any trousers other than jeans. While some men may make a style choice that pairs this unique type of belt with more formal trousers, this is considered a fashion faux pas.
Leather Belt Buckles
The buckles of leather belts also tend to fall somewhere on the divide between formal and casual, as wider belt buckles are considered to be more casual. Formal belt buckles are widely considered to be simple, narrow, and as unobtrusive as possible. This may, however, be different depending on certain circumstances or occasions. In some places, a large cowboy-style belt buckle may be acceptable in a formal setting, but this is unlikely to be the case in a bigger northern city like New York.
Matching the Metal on Belts and Belt Buckles
Nearly all belt buckles intended for leather belts are made of metal, usually of a silver or brass colour. Silver is typically the most common, as it tends to be easier to coordinate with other clothing. When attempting to wear a leather belt with any kind of metal accessories such as cufflinks and tie pins, it is important to make sure that the colours of the metal match.
Finding the Right Size Leather Belt
Finding the right size leather belt is important; if the belt is too long, the excess belt can flap around, becoming very awkward, and if the belt is too short, it will become uncomfortable. For this reason, there is a general rule of thumb for the length of a belt that dictates that a belt should be one size larger than the wearer's trouser size. This is usually an easy rule to follow when buying belts that are made according to specified lengths. Custom-made belts, made by individual craftsmen or made in a leather shop, may not follow these exact guidelines. When buying a quality leather belt, it can be helpful to simply measure the waist of a comfortable pair of trousers, and compare this to the length of the belt.
Style Tips to Consider When Buying Leather Belt
Belts, especially leather belts, are a relatively simple item with a relatively simple function. At the same time, belts are an important piece of one's wardrobe that is usually not meant to become the focal point of an outfit. The last thing one would want to have happen would be to have their leather belt clash with any other pieces of clothing. There are are few things that a fashion-conscious man should be aware of before making the decision to purchase a leather belt.
Leather Belt Colours
While leather belts generally come in three main colours: brown, black, and tan, there are very specific rules for matching these colours up to an outfit. According to most fashion rules, leather belts should always be paired with leather shoes that are the same colour, and hopefully the same shade. Furthermore, shiny shoes should not be worn with a belt that is not shiny and vice versa.
Meeting Fashion Styles
The fashion rules surrounding leather belts are more closely adhered to in regard to formal belts and formal clothing. Some may argue that any shoes made of leather should be able to be paired with a similarly coloured leather belt. However, in casual situations, this is more difficult because casual shoes can come in many colours. For casual clothing, any colour belt will usually do, although it may look awkward to pair brown shoes with a black belt or black shoes with a brown belt.
Leather Belts and Shorts
Shorts, like trousers, often contain belt loops, and can be worn with a belt. However, while fashion dictates that trousers should almost always be worn with a belt, even though it is not considered necessary with shorts. There are specific fashion styles in which it is recommended to wear shorts with a belt, such as golf clothing and boating apparel, but these are far from the norm. Men who wear a shirt tucked into their shorts may also find that a belt is appropriate to wear.
Buying a Leather Belt on eBay
Those who wish to peruse a wide variety of leather belts, can find exactly what they are looking for on eBay. Not only are there many leather belts in numerous styles and colours available, but buyers may find that prices, even for custom-made belts, may be lower than in other places. Some sellers may even offer custom-made belts that feature exceptional workmanship and attention to detail. Some belts can be sold without a buckle, allowing buyers to do some customisation of their own using the buckles that are also sold on eBay. Finding the right leather belt on eBay is a simple matter of entering the right keywords into the search bar on the eBay home page. This search term can be simple, something along the lines of "Men's Leather Belts" or even something more complex that includes details such as colour, length, or style. With the right keywords, finding the perfect belt for any situation or outfit, formal or casual is incredibly simple.
A leather belt is so much more than just a way to keep one's trousers from falling down, and inadvertently revealing one's underwear to the world. The right leather belt can be a bold fashion statement, or a subtle way to bring a specific ensemble together. When buying a leather belt, it is important to take several factors into consideration. These factors include the style of the belt, since some belts are considered better suited for formal wear, and others for casual attire. The distinction is mainly determined by the width of the belt, but the size of the buckle can send a belt from the realm of formal into casual as well. Another factor to consider is whether or not a leather belt is the right size for a given individual. The best way to be sure that the fit on the leather belt is correct, is to find one that is one size larger than the most comfortable trouser size. Once the proper size has been established, the next factor to consider is what colour the belt should be, since belts should match shoes, especially in formal settings. After considering every aspect of what is needed in a leather belt, buying one will be a straightforward and pleasant experience.