When it comes to accessories, men’s choices are fairly limited, especially when compared to those available for women. Even the few accessories available for men such as cuff links or pocket squares are often not worn.
But the limited use of male accessories can be turned into an advantage for the discerning man who wants to stand out from the crowd. By paying attention to this aspect of clothing a man can cultivate his own unique style. This is particularly the case, when it comes to belts.
Men’s belts are the forgotten accessory, which is strange since they are the one accessory that most men own and use regularly. Belts have a long tradition of masculine functional uses; holding ammunition or tools, and showing off your Karate skills. But, whilst most men will probably own several belts, they pay little attention to this item’s aesthetic potential.
For many men, the belt is an afterthought. It is an item with primarily a functional role to maintain trousers stay in place. Typically speaking, belts lack the ‘wow’ factor that other items like a jacket do, and for this reason it is easy to overlook them. But with a bit of thought, the seemingly humble belt can really add a powerful dimension to a man’s attire.
At Luca Faloni we don’t believe in strict style rules. Clothing should express personality. Having said this, it is important to know basic principles. At least when you know these, you can break the rules more effectively should you want to.
Formal Attire and Suits
Unless you are the type of man who wears pre-tied bow ties, you already know that wearing a belt with white tie or black tie is out of the question, and most times not even possible. Instead the debate over whether one should wear a belt with a suit is a contentious one. Traditionalists maintain that properly tailored suit trousers don’t require a belt, or that braces are better.
If you are going to wear a belt with a suit or with smarter attire then match the belt colour with the shoe colour to create symmetry and balance. This is not necessary with all forms of smart casual wear as we will discuss shortly below. You must also create balance in texture and not just colour. So if you are wearing suede shoes, a suede belt would better create a balance of texture.
The buckle is of paramount importance in smarter looks. Understated slim buckles usually in silver, matte gold or dark ‘gun metal’ colour, create a more elegant appearance. Unless you are going to a fancy dress party dressed like a 1970s era Clint Eastwood, then don’t even think about big buckles.
This is where you can really be creative. The belt can even become a ‘statement piece’ that becomes the focus of your entire look. The texture, colour, pattern and buckle style are all elements that you can play with.
If you want to remain at the more formal end of the spectrum whilst still adding creativity, consider a woven belt. These can look smart and classic but the interesting texture adds a new dimension to your style. The woven belt is one of the rarer styles, so it clearly indicates that the wearer has given some thought to his choice, even when he is wearing casual attire.
There are other types of leather, such as nubuck, which you can have in a classic style and colour whilst adding a luxurious feel with a subtle silky lustre. Nubuck feels wonderful to the touch but also reflects the light perfectly.
Fabric belts and pattern belts are on the more eccentric end of the spectrum and can make a huge statement, but need to be treated with caution. It is best to see these type of belts in the same way as you would a tie or a pocket square. You can match the belt to some other item you are wearing but not in an obvious way.
In conclusion belts are not just there to hold your trousers up. Give a little thought to this forgotten accessory and it will elevate your entire look.
Making a small investment in five good quality belts that you can mix and match to different occasions will really help to complete your look. Don’t just think about colour but also texture. In addition to some timeless classic leather belts think about adding suede, nubuck and woven belts to add versatility to your wardrobe. There are so many options to choose from, and our collection is a great place to start. Be creative and you will be surprised at what a difference it makes.