When Should You Wear A Belt?

To belt or not to belt, that’s the question in this week’s edition of 2 Minute Tuesday! It may seem simple but there are actually some key situations and outfits you need to keep in mind when you’re thinking about putting on a belt. Previously we discussed what belt size to buy and our favorite belt picks, but now it’s time to break down exactly when you should and shouldn’t wear a belt!

 

Belts Are An Accessory

First and foremost, belts are an accessory, not a utilitarian piece. As we said in our fit guides, your pants should always fit properly without a bet and you shouldn’t be using a belt solely to keep them up.

 

Don’t Wear A Belt: When Wearing Suits

Even if a suit has belt loops, you don’t want to wear a belt with a suit, it ruins the line as the eye will be drawn directly to your waist and it will break up the overall vertical look.  Like we previously said, your suit pants should fit properly so your pants should sit on you without needing to be held up.

 

Do Wear A Belt: When Your Shirt Is Tucked In

Whether your shirt is fully tucked in or just partially tucked in (aka the French Tuck), you always want to wear a belt, regardless of whether you’re wearing jeans, chinos, or dress trousers.

 

Do Wear A Belt: With Jackets and Blazers

Typically with jackets and blazers, your shirt should be tucked in (unless its a very casual look with a t-shirt) so you’re going to always want to wear a belt with these types of looks.

16 Accessories Every Man Needs

These are, to me, the 16 accessories every guy needs to own, regardless of your age, occupation, and lifestyle. Some of these items you may not wear often, but there will be an occasion, as a grown man, when you will need them and you’ll be thankful that you thought far enough ahead to take care of them before it’s too late and you’re scrambling at the last minute. I’ve also included my favorites for each of these items below. But these points below are just skimming the surface compared to the much more through Men’s Essential Accessories Series I did recently.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

16. White Pocket Square

Like I’ve mentioned before, every man should have at least a grey suit. Even if you only wear it once every year, you’re going to need a suit. Along with that, looking well dressed is always about the details and a white pocket square is an easily overlooked item that really does make a big impact and it’ll only set you back a couple of bucks.

White Pocket Square Ashley Weston

$175 – Tom Ford Solid Classic Silk Pocket Square
$60 – Boss Solid Silk Pocket Square
$10 – The Tie Bar Solid White Cotton Pocket Square

15. Silver Tie Bar

This is another overlooked item. I talked about this in my article about the 12 Things Men Wear That Women Love, but a tie bar is something that adds that special touch to your outfit. It’s also so cheap to own so order it once and you’ll never think about it again.

Silver Tie Bar Ashley Weston$15 – The Tie Bar Silver Shot Tie Bar
$70 – J. Crew Sterling-Silver Tie Clip 

14. Solid Black and Navy Tie

These two ties will work for any suit you have in your closet, making them an absolute must have. Make sure the width of your tie complements your body type.

Black and Navy Tie Ashley Weston

$19 – The Tie Bar Grenafaux Tie (available in black and navy)
$60 – J. Crew American Wool Navy Tie
$60 – J. Crew American Wool Black Tie

13. Dress Socks

Get rid of your white socks. These socks can and should be worn as your everyday socks. If you need heavier duty, thicker socks for your job or because of the weather, there are plenty of companies that offer warmer versions.

Solid or Patterned Dress Socks Ashley Weston

$4 – Uniqlo Argyle Socks
$20 – Brooks Brothers Egyptian Cotton Jersey Knit Crew Socks
$15 – J. Crew Tipped Microstriped Socks

12. Sunglasses

Whether you’re a sunglass man or not, sunglasses are important because they’re going to protect your eyes from the sun, prevent you from squinting, which creates wrinkles around your eyes, and they can add a stylish, cool touch to your outfit. Check out my sunglasses story so you choose the right frames for your face shape.

Sunglasses 1 Ashley Weston 2

$415 – Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses
$98 – J. Crew Jack Sunglasses
$95 – Warby Parker Winston Sunglasses 

11. Baseball Hat

We all have those lazy days, myself included, where you just say F it, I’m gonna throw on a hat. When it comes to baseball hats I have very specific opinions about them so I shared some of my recommendations below.

Baseball Cap Ashley Weston

$48 – Gents ‘The Directors’ Baseball Cap
$22 – Flexfit Blank Snapback 2014

10. Black and Brown Oxford or Derby Shoes

Not only do these oxford dress shoes look great with your suit, but they also look nice with chinos, jeans, and trousers when you want to dress up a more casual outfit.

Black and Brown Shoes Ashley Weston

$395 – Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords
$750 – Prada Plain-Toe Bluchers
$175 – Johnston & Murphy Melton Cap Toe Oxfords

9. Black and Brown Dress Belts

Since you’re going to own dress shoes, you absolutely need to match your leather belt to your shoes.

Black and Brown Dress Belt Ashley Weston

$98 – Brooks Brothers Leather Dress Belt
$98 – Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
$25 – H&M Leather Belt

8. Weekender Bag

Everyone travels. Whether it’s to some exotic country, or across town, you’ll need to put your clothes in something AND trash bags are not an option. Like every accessory you own, it should not only serve it’s purpose, but look damn good at the same time. I have a whole article about weekender bags you should check out.

Weekender Bag Ashley Weston$965 – Frank Clegg Signature Travel Duffle (in black, chocolate or chesnut)
$800 – Killspencer Weekender 3.0 (in black leather or charcoal grey leather)
$115 – Everlane ‘The Dipped Weekender’ (in black/black, navy/black or reverse denim/black)

7. Dopp Kit

This item goes great with your weekender bag. Again, doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to another city or to the gym, a dopp kitt is essential because it’ll keep your grooming products organized and contained in a respectable manner.

Dopp Kit 1 Ashley Weston 2

$148 – Jack Spade Mason Leather Zipper Top Dopp
$300 – Shinola Travel Kit
$200 – This is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

6. Backpack or Briefcase with Detachable Strap

Depending on what you do for a living, if you live a more casual lifestyle or you’re a student, then a backpack is great. If you are in a more professional environment, a briefcase is best.

Backpack Briefcase Ashley Weston 1

Backpack

$800 – This is Ground Venture Regular Backpack
$210 – Cõte & Ciel Rhine Backpack
$120 – Aer Fit Pack Backpack 

Briefcase

$990 – Frank Clegg Zip-Top Briefcase
$895 – Shinola Slim Briefcase
$325 – Uri Minkoff Pebbled Leather Fulton Briefcase 

5. Casual or Dress Watch

Like the last point, which one you go with will depend on your lifestyle. Whether you’re a watch guy or not, any self-respecting man should own a watch or two.

Casual and Dress Watch Ashley Weston

Casual Watch

$7,000 – Rolex Submariner 114060
$3,400 – Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
$375 – Orient Diver Mako USA II

Dress Watch

$12,700 – IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Automatic
$532 – Hamilton Intra-Matic Silver Dial Leather Watch
$195 – Tissot T-Classic Tradition Silver Dial

4. White Low Top Sneakers

Everyone has casual days, and white sneakers look so sharp on every guy regardless of your age or body type. If you’re really scared of wearing white, or think that it doesn’t look right, ease yourself into it with a nice low top lace-up black or navy sneaker.

White Sneakers 2 Ashley Weston

$370 – Acne Studios Adrian White Leather Sneakers
$75 – Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Classic Low Top

3. Boxer Briefs

All women find boxer briefs, specifically darker colors, so sexy on a man. And all men should be wearing them. Period.

Boxer Brief Ashley Weston

$26 – Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
$13 – H&M 3-pack Boxer Shorts
$6 – Uniqlo Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs

2. Black and Brown Casual Leather Belts

Whenever you’re wearing jeans, chinos or shorts, throw on a casual leather belt because it’ll add a visually nice touch to your outfit.

Black and Brown Casual Belts Ashley Weston

$98 – Allen Edmonds Sun River Casual Belt
$295 – Salvatore Ferragamo Reversible Leather Belt 
$18 – H&M Leather Belt

1. A Quality Wallet

The things a man carries tells a lot about him and that’s no more true than with your wallet – check out my  article to the left for bifold, card cases, and phone wallet recommendations.

The below are only a few recommendations for bifold wallets.

Wallet Ashley Weston

$195 – Shinola Slim Bifold Leather Wallet 
$525 – Louis Vuitton Slender Wallet
$80 – Bellroy Low Down Wallet

The #AskAW Show: Episode 07

In this episode I answer:

Q: How to wear boat shoes?

A: Pair them with Dark Wash Jeans, Chinos, a nice belt, and either a Polo Shirt or Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt.

Q: Looking to buy a peacoat online, how do I ensure it fits properly over a suit or blazer?

A: First, you should never wear a peacoat over a suit or blazer. Second, buy your normal size plus the next size up and return the one that doesn’t fit the best.

Nathan sent an update about asking out his 10 year long crush.

Watch the video for an update about Nathan asking out a 10 year long crush from Episode 4.

 

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask in the comments of this youtube video or send me an email.

What Size Belt To Buy

This article is part of my Men’s Clothing Fit Guide.
I see a lot of belt tragedies out there in my everyday life. So let’s get this settled once and for all and show you what size belt to buy. This will ensure we never have to talk or think about it ever again!

What Size Belt To Buy?

This is pretty straight-forward. Take your pants waist size and simply buy the next size up from that.

So if you’re a 34″ waist, buy a 36″ belt.

This will leave the perfect amount of belt left and won’t look too short or too long. See my graphics below for how your dress and casual belts should look while you’re wearing them.

The Proper Width & Lengths Of Your Belts

I talked about this in my Essential Belts story, but I’ll reiterate here, as well.

Dress Belts

You want the width to stay as near to 1.5″ as possible. Anything wider will be more bulky and is considered more casual. Anything slimmer than that is a woman’s or a fashion belt and that’s not what we’re going for here. Even though the width is only slightly smaller than a casual belt, it makes a huge difference in appearance. Compare this picture of a guy wearing a wider belt as a dress belt compared to the image of my model. Night and day, in my eyes even though it’s only about half an inch difference.

Dress Belts Too Short Long Thick - Ashley Weston

Casual Belts

Have your casual belt somewhere between 1 3/4 – 2″ wide. Anything more than that is too wide and will look out of place. Slimmer than that looks more like a dress belt.

Casual Belts Too Wide and Long - Ashley Weston

The Best Mens Belts To Own

Check out my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials – Best Dress & Casual Belts story for details about my favorite belts that every man should own.

Best Dress and Casual Belts

This article is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.
Every guy only needs 4 belts in his closet, ever. Even though I always say your pants should fit without a belt – they’re still a must-have item because pants will shift as you wear them and belts help break up an outfit. You’d think belts would be simple and this article and video should be one sentence long. Unfortunately, I constantly see guys crapping the bed in the belt department. So let’s fix this. Here’s the best dress and casual belts for men and other tips and tricks you should know about.

Why do you need a belt?

Most guys only wear belts as utility items to keep their loose pants from falling off. Certainly, a belt is for this, but there’s other reasons to wear a belt.

  • You want your pants to hit a certain part of your waist, depending on whether they’re jeans or dress pants. During the course of your day, you’ll be standing, sitting, and moving around – this will tug and pull at your shirt and pants, causing them to move around. A belt ensures they stay in their proper place.
  • A belt is necessary to break up some of your outfits, especially with non-suit outfits. Let’s say you’re wearing a sport coat/blazer with a dress shirt, dark wash jeans, and some oxford dress shoes, you’ll definitely need a belt to help break up the outfit in your midsection. People who go belt-less in these outfits… ugh.
  • To hold up your pants as they loosen, not because they are already loose. Please wear properly fitting pants!

The Be-All, End-All Buckle Type

I have family from Texas (these are actually my relatives) and they take belt buckles very seriously – which is what every guy should do! All you’ll ever need is some variation of the standard belt buckle with a single square frame and prong – no matter if they’re casual or dress belts. There’s absolutely no reason for having anything else – EVER.

Ashley Weston Black Leather Casual Belt

If you have any other type of belt buckle, and you’re not a cowboy, sheriff, rodeo rider or douchebag, replace them immediately. I throw up a little in my mouth when I see guys wearing those horrible box-frame style belt buckles like the guy below. Whatever you do, please, don’t be that guy!

ThisGuyFucks

(“This guy f*cks!“)

The 2 Types of Belts Every Man Needs

1. Dress belt

You need a dark brown and black leather belt with a simple, thin and silver belt buckle. Also, is should absolutely be shiny. A matte belt as a dress belt is a no-no. Look how terrible a matte-finished belt looks as a dress belt in my image below!

Width

You want the width to stay as near to 1.5″ as possible. Anything wider will be more bulky and is considered more casual. Anything slimmer than that is a woman’s or a fashion belt and that’s not what we’re going for here. Even though the width is only slightly smaller than a casual belt, it makes a huge difference in appearance. Compare this picture of a guy wearing a wider belt as a dress belt compared to the image of my model. Night and day, in my eyes even though it’s only about half an inch difference.

Proper Dress Belt Width - Ashley Weston

Material

You only want leather, but if you’re averse to leather, then get a leather substitute belt. You want the luxurious look of leather to match your dressy outfits.

2. Casual belt

Just like the dress belt, you’ll want a black and brown casual leather belt, each with silver buckle. This is where the buckles can be slightly thicker, but not by much. Gold buckles may be allowed if you really, really must have gold, but it may clash with some of your outfits or accessories, so I like to keep it simple and avoid gold all together. Also, in regards to the texture or finish of the belt, you want to avoid super shiny belts. Shiny/Polished-looking belts = dress belts. Most casual leather belts will be pebbled or have a texture or be matte-finished. That and the width of the belt is how you determine whether a belt is dressy or casual.

Width

Have your casual belt somewhere between 1 3/4 – 2″ wide. Anything more than that is too wide and will look out of place. Slimmer than that looks more like a dress belt.

UltimateWarriorBelt cropped

Material

You can go with leather, cloth, or webbed belts. I personally think you should stick to leather until you’re ready to step out and get more adventurous with your belts. That way, your casual belts will work no matter the time of year or outfit.

Be careful not to get a belt that’s too shiny – like a dress belt. They should be more matte-finished. I see guys making this mistake a lot. Look at the differences between my dress and casual belt recommendations below to see the difference between shiny and matte.

What Size Belt to buy?

This is a question more men should be asking! Please check out my fit guide for details about how to choose your belt size.

The Best Dress Belts for Men

A quick note: Allen Edmonds are my absolute favorites because they’re high quality and they match their colors to their dress shoes. A lot of companies don’t do this, but it’s very important to match your belts with your shoes and AE takes the guesswork out of matching them.

Designer Options

Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Brooks Brothers Skinny Chino Calfskin Belt
Brooks Brothers Leather Dress Belt

Budget-Friendly Dress Belt Options

Zara Reversible Belt
Zara Leather Belt

The Best Casual Belts For Men

Designer Options

Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Brooks Brothers Deerskin Leather Belt

Budget-Friendly Options

H&M Leather Belt 
H&M Leather Belt 

3 Ways To Wear

Dress-Belt-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece Merino Wool Crewneck Sweater
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
Levis 511 Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
True Vintage Revival Glasses
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords

*NOTE: You choose the type of lenses (shaded, etc.) during checkout for the sunglasses above.

Casual-Belt-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials

Rag & Bone Jayden Workwear Jacket
Brooks Brothers Cotton Henley Sweater 
Levis 511 Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield 36mm
Allen Edmonds Newland Ave Casual Belt
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic

Outfit Inspirations