Belt wardrobe: what is the minimum basic set of belts?

Lyn's picture of her belt collection got me thinking, what would you consider a basic set of belts that everyone should have? Which colors/widths? I don't have any belts at all (the one belt I had was too small for me after having kids so I gave it away). I was considering getting a few, but don't know where to start or what widths are appropriate at the moment. Specific links would be appreciated too!

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19 Comments

  • Mo replied 8 years ago

    I rarely wear the ones I have but I would think a thin belt to wear over cardigans and/or dresses, and a jean size belt (1 or 1 1/2" roughly) to loop through your denim and then I like a lower slung hip belt for over tunics etc. Oh, and a stretchy cinch belt can be good, too - and comfortable. Colors depend on your wardrobe but I'd think your main neutral(s) to start and then colors for pop once you got the basics down?

  • modgrl replied 8 years ago

    My skinny black belt, 1" braided brown belt and wide brown leather belt get the biggest workout. I have lots of other belts as well but they only get worn every now and again. I don't like light colored belts. They bring too much attention to my midsection.

  • rae replied 8 years ago

    HM... good question! I would say:

    1 neutral to wear at natural waist
    1 color to wear at natural waist
    1 neutral to wear at low waist with jeans/pants/shorts
    1 embellished to wear with jeans/pants/shorts (embellished here could be rivets, color, print, etc.)

    Personally, my cognac belts are by far my favorites, as they stand out against my jeans while still looking fairly classic as a neutral.

  • lyn* replied 8 years ago

    Also, everyone needs a fab red belt :)

  • lyn* replied 8 years ago

    Here is a specific list of things I'd say are a must have. Are you Canadian? If so, I can direct you to some nice belts to start off your collection that will make your wallet smile!

    1) 1/2 inch: white, grey, cognac + one pop of colour (I have neon pink). These are the ones to go with your pencil skirts and certain dresses and cardigans. If you pick these a bit longer, you can wear them at the waist and at the hip.

    2) 1 to 1.5 inch: black, cognac/dark brown + one pop of colour (I chose red). These are the ones to go in your pants loops and your jeans, and certain dresses. These will mostly be hip length.

    3) 2 to 2.5 inch: statement belts for around your waist. I prefer the kind with the elastic because they are more comfy. Pick something funky that goes with your style. The ones that I get the most use of are a black and a cognac.

    4) >3 inches ... well, these aren't a must have; but I have an obi (black and red) and I also have a belt that looks like multiple belts (cognac).

    Buy belts on sale! They always go on sale!

  • Nidhi replied 8 years ago

    One in black, on ein white and one in brown should cover most outfits..of course the width is based on individual prefernces

  • Sylvie replied 8 years ago

    BTW, how much should a basic 1-1.5 inch belt for wearing with jeans cost? Or rather, where do you (in the US) buy your belts? I know nothing about judging belt quality.

  • Kristine replied 8 years ago

    I love Lyn's list and I think it's very close to what I have.

    I couldn't function without a black (or neutral of your choosing) stretchy belt. You can wear it over dresses, cardigans, untucked tops, etc..

    I also wear a skinny patent belt a fair amount.

    I have a few belts in bright colors- red, lime, etc.. I think an animal print belt could fit in this category too.

  • Louise replied 8 years ago

    I'm not sure I could come up with a minimum list of belts. My favourites are a skinny citron belt with a bow, skinny nude belt with flower, studded low slung black belt and a black obi belt x

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    Oh, I think it totally depends on the individual! Body type, clothing preference, lifestyle, etc. I know some people here rarely wear belts and only need one. Others love and look great in belted sack dresses and cardigans, so they need a variety.

    I like to have a variety, but I find that very few get frequent use. I often tuck my tops into my jeans and pants, so belts feel necessary for me to feel "finished."

    Another timely post for me, because last night I tried on a few belts to replace some of my old ones that are now too big. I was ridiculously excited to find a couple that work not only as "jeans belts" (that fit in belt loops of mid-rise jeans) but also fit at my natural waist, so they can do double duty.

    I ended up getting a new black leather belt that's 2" wide -- like Angie, I like belts to fill the loops, and newer jeans seem to have wider loops. I prefer slightly wider belts -- i guess im tall enough that really skinny ones just seem a little lost on me.

    My most worn belts are the ones I wear with jeans -- approx 2" wide, in black, gray, and brown, and some with interesting detailing, studs, metallic finish, etc. I have also gotten a lot of wear out of lighter color neutral belts this summer, with my tan shorts and tucked tops.

    I've bought some colorful belts over the years, and I do wear them sometimes, but not often. I've also picked up belts that I thought would look good with skirts and dresses, but it seems they rarely get worn.

    Ive found that certain things make or break a belt for me when it comes time to wear it:

    - double duty, fitting either at waist or below-waist
    - not too long! Even if more holes can be punched to make it fit, a long tail on a belt drives me nuts.
    - the right finish on hardware - I am a silver girl, so gold tone hardware will often languish in my wardrobe.

  • MNsara replied 8 years ago

    Lyn and Janet had some seriously good ideas on belts. I was just planning to say that I keep adding belts (finding them on sale at Macy's and at thrift stores) because I need different sizes if they are at my waist vs. in belt loops at high hip vs. in belt loops in low rise pants (not too many of those left in my closet).

    Then there are the color possibilities and the combinations are overwhelming.

    I have found that a 1.2" wide leopard belt has been one of my favorites. It only fits my waist, so I have been on the hunt for one that would fit lower.

    I have also enjoyed my metallic belts (gold or silver) as an alternative to a color.

    Once you get beyond the absolute basics of black/brown/red, think on what you prefer and notice what you like on others.

    Happy hunting :-)

  • Transcona Shannon replied 8 years ago

    Lyn - as a fellow Canadian, I would love you to point me in the right direction for belts...

  • Charmian replied 8 years ago

    I'm chiming in to underline Janet's first paragraph, cause I love it so much! Totally depends on the individual's body type, clothing preferences, lifestyle, etc.

    I don't feel like I've figured out belting yet (I'm a short-waisted inverted triangle), so all I have are 3 trouser belts (ie, white, black, brown). When I'm putting together my daily outfits, I experiment with scarves (I don't typically wear these experiments out the door, I just wear them around the house for a few minutes). This lets me play with different widths and different colors at different heights. Actually, I think I might have stolen this idea from Lyn too!

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    I'm a bit short waisted, so if I tuck, I need a belt that matches or is low contrast with my top rather than my jeans, pants or skirt. That means more belts than just a couple of basics. I do a lot of too-long belts with a belt shortening technique to break up the horizontal line if the belt is high contrast or to add more texture to an outfit.
    There are so many different looks to play with using different belts. Sometimes I wear a couple of skinny belts at once. Belting high helps tops to skim over muffin tops; at the waist for an hourglass or with a fit and flare dress to give the look of an hourglass figure; low to disguise a high waist and adjust proportions of an outfit.
    I've got about a dozen belts but can think of others I'd like to try, such as an obi belt.

  • Laurinda replied 8 years ago

    I have two belts that are reversible black/brown - one is solid, one is woven.

    They are hip length, and I don't mind wrapping the end over, so I wear them at my waist or hip. Those two belts = eight looks, I call that a nice minimum basic set :-). (If only they had changeable buckles...)

    I've had good luck finding simple belts second-hand or on sale in the Men's or Boy's departments.

  • bj1111 replied 8 years ago

    i am unfond of belts. i have a thin blak one that i wear almost exclusively, despite having a variety in my closet. must work on my dislike.

  • rosee replied 8 years ago

    Taking notes! Thanks to all, especially lyn* (on SYC) b/c that list really helps.

    I have 4 right now:
    - black 2.5" stretch (at natural waist)
    - brown 1.5" western looking leather (lower waist)
    - mahoghany 1" leather, but dyeing it black b/c I never wear it (lower waist)
    - bronze 0.5" leather (lower waist, but can be worn at natural waist tied up)
    All are really good quality but bought on sale (the Mahoghany one is Coach).

    I'm thinking I need another stretch 2.5" belt in a darker brown color or at least a cool-toned brown to co-ordinate with my boots. I'm also thinking of some more Jeans and pants belts. I found one at Zara that I liked that is a light taupe with metal chain detail, but I have to see if I will actually wear it and if it is still available.

  • lyn* replied 8 years ago

    Canadian Belt Hunters:

    I buy cheap as heck belts because I have such a big collection ... they're on sale at 3 for $9 right now at Costa Blanca. All of their belts. ALL. YAY. They are fast fashion, and kinda cheap quality, but I can DEFINITELY wear each more than 3 times. :)

    My other hidden place for GREAT quality and low prices - The Bay. When they have their 40% off lowest price sale. $6 for Fossil belt FTW. :D

  • Carole replied 8 years ago

    You all have such good ideas for a belt wardrobe. Thanks

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