[First post in this Experiment: Capsule Wardrobe I]
[Previous post in this Experiment: Capsule Wardrobe V – 2014-15 Fall-Winter Color Fashion Trends]

“Belts are a good and relatively inexpensive way to add new chic, to classic, simple designs, and to rejuvenate the old timers in your wardrobe. The main rule of thumb here is that any belt that is prominently displayed must be made of excellent quality, no matter what material it is made from. True to the overarching principle of Dressing Rich, you are better off with fewer belts, all of quality, than mediocrity in quantity.”

– Genevieve Antione Dariaux

Properly deployed belts can accentuate or create curves, polish off an ensemble, make an oversized or loose fitting shirt into a chic fashion statement… and even hold up your pants.

Like any other fashion item belt styles are iconic markers of different times and places in fashion history. The historian in me has spent many hours looking at belts in magazines, on-line and in stores, and I have decided that like in most things I have a preference for simple understated elegance.

I remember in my grandfather’s ladies’ clothing factory belts were almost always in the same fabric that the suit, dress or coat were made of. Having a belt in the same fabric tied the ensemble together and was not so much a fashion statement as a finishing touch. These were the glamour girl days – think Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly.

While there are of course exceptions…

  • belts should be generally in the same shades as your clothes;
  • contrasting belts emphasize your waist and should be avoided if your waist and hips are ample (on the other hand contrast is good if you have a tiny waist that you want to emphasize);
  • tall women can wear any width of belt;
  • the smaller you are the narrower your belt should be;
  • “traditionally” built women should avoid belts (despite the naysayers); and,
  • petite women should only dress in one-color styling with narrow belts in the same color as your lower half if at all.

Not all belt types are suitable for all body shapes. Make sure you pick styles that are correct for your body type.

If you have the height and artistic patience one can even knot a belt and create a plethora of looks.

All About Belts: How to tie, hole punch, and store your Belts

However, other than belts that came attached to something, like a housecoat, I have not been a proud owner of an implement of waste/hip bondage since I was about 85 pounds. I remember it well – it was about ½ an inch wide with interlocking gold coloured metal links and was gifted to me by a boy-toy I had in grade nine. I “lost it” the following year.

Belts have never really been a part of my accessory must-haves in large part because my personal style of dress has always been quite pared down and I would rather wear a scarf or a necklace as my one adornment.

“Elegance is refusal.”

– Coco Chanel

I recently pulled together a simple seasonal work capsule wardrobe (CW) consisting of: a little black dress, black crepe pants, black skirt, white long-sleeve shirt, three short sleeve tee-shirts (white, blush, black),  one ¾ length sleeve tee-shirt (black), two tank tops (white, black), black blazer, two sweaters (taupe, black) and three fabulous bespoke scarves.

But after wearing the CW for a few weeks I think something is missing… and have begun to fulminate on stocking a narrow black patent leather belt to pull everything together. So I started to windows-shop…

Belt Blogs and Belt Trends for 2014-15

List of High End Luxury Belts

While many of these sites have e-stores (with return/exchange policies), I suggest that if you can, find a local store and try on what has caught your fancy. Due to taxes and shipping it is often cheaper if you buy these items locally (either in person or domestic e-stores) – but not always.  There are some great aggregator sites like Polyvore which help simplify the quest.

The list below is a work in progress… if you have any suggestions to help improve my site or additional links please contact me.


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