Belts and Shoes

Belts are an important part of any man’s wardrobe (unless you’re a suspenders only guy). A belt is also probably the only other part of your wardrobe, other than your shoes, to be made of leather (wallets don’t count as wardrobe, but a leather watchbands do).

When selecting a belt to wear some specific things need to be taken into consideration:

  • The color of the belt should be similar to the color of your shoes. Don’t wear a brown belt with black shoes or vice versa. There are some shoe designs that include both black and brown leather that allow you to use either color of belt.
  • The shade of color between belt and shoes should be similar. Don’t wear a light brown belt with dark brown shoes.

Leather Type:

  • As in shoes, smoother is more formal, textured is less formal. Only wear belts with a shine with shoes that have a high shine. Less formal shoes require less formal belts; for example a suede belt can be worn with suede shoes. The textures do not have to match however; shade and shine are the main considerations.
  • Don’t mix and match exotic animal skins. An alligator belt can be worn with similar color shoes, but keep in mind that an exotic animal skin is less smooth that a calf skin and therefore less formal (even though it costs more). You should not wear a lizard skin belt with alligator skin shoes or vice versa. Stick to one exotic animal at a time; you don’t want to be a walking zoo.
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    • Again, smoother (and smaller) is more formal.
    • Typical colors are metal tone gold or silver. Unfortunately, most men don’t have nearly the experience that women do in coordinating metal tone pieces within a wardrobe. Silver should be used with black and gold should be used for brown. This relates to the concept of city and country colors in clothing. Black and gold can work together if the gold tone is coordinating with other gold tone metallic objects in the wardrobe. Brown and silver can work as well.
    • Always keep the colors of your wardrobe in mind when picking out a belt, including the metal tone of the buckle.

    Another general rule to follow when buying a belt is to buy it in 2 sizes larger than your waist size, so if you have a 34” waist, buy a 36” belt. This allows for the end of the belt to wrap to the proper distance past the buckle.