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Make better use of belts

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On this page we share some useful general belt advice

What colour belt with what colour clothes

There are no hard and fast rules really – it's only men that should match belt colour to their shoes. You might want to tie your belt colour in with your shoes, handbag, scarf, hat, gloves or jewellery. If wearing gold earrings go for a gold buckle if not a gold leather belt or even gold chain belt – our interchangeable buckle belts in various widths and styles make this easy for you to achieve. Then there's colourful big red necklaces that you could match to a red belt etc too.

Matching tonally is far more important than matching exact colours – in fact you'll know if you have ever been out shopping trying to buy a green item to match another green item you already have that it's enough to bring on a migraine.

Ines de la Fressange wrote in her style guide 'Parisian Chic' on the theme of matching accessories: "By all means match the color of your bag and shoes if you're under 30. After that, prepare to age ten years."

To look longer in the body you will want to match the belt colour to what is worn underneath – shorter ladies can look cut in half if they wear a dark belt on a light outfit. A bright coloured wide belt on a darker canvas on a large figure can add the illusion of width you don't want however for example a strapless black dress adding a wide pink belt will look fabulous. Also if you have a straighter body shape you may want the curves a lighter brighter colour belt with give you.

If you are reserved in your dressing and want to experiment with wearing bolder colours, start with a narrower brightly coloured belt – and if a bright colour is too out there for you go for a gold or silver leather. And if you're thinking "What the hell? let's go for it!" then get a printed belt which could be snake effect, animal print, leopard print or zebra print. Avoid textured soft hair on hide belts unless you are happy to live with the fact the hair will be lost with wear.


Constance Victoria Phillips belt photos for Once Upon a Belt - copyright Meleniak Ltd

Top tips

  • The very fashionable 80s style just begs for the addition of a belt over those slouchy long tops – don’t leave the house incomplete. Grab a belt to wear on your hips or just below your waist if you are a pear shape.
  • High waisted trousers and skirts are crying out for fashion belts too, whether thin or wide, they should be worn around the waist.
  • Step over the line and add some variety – wear funky wide hip belts over your jeans rather than a bog standard jeans belt through the loops all the time.
  • Elasticated cinch belts or wide waist belts including obis are great to change the draping of larger shapeless garments. Don’t throw them out but try them with a belt. Cinching the waist works well for dresses giving you two very different looks, especially bell shape dresses or tunics.
  • Belts also work well for turning a casual dress into evening attire giving you a flattering silhouette – so for example the floaty summer dress with sandals gets cinched with a belt and teamed with heels and decadent jewellery for stepping out at night.
  • For fitted dresses team them with skinny belts worn under the bust, around the waist or gracing the hips.
  • Day to night – going out after work? Simply switching to a glitzy belt and jewellery with a shift dress can work wonders without you having to pack another outfit.
  • Not going out? To go from smart to casual with a shift dress simply swap from a waist belt to a hip belt or loosen the waist belt to wear it on the hips.
  • In our book you should not save your bling for occasions only – you can get away with wearing it during the day as long as you choose just one statement piece of bling which could be a gem encrusted belt or a glitzy bracelet or diamante hair clip.
  • Work suits look sharper and you look more polished if you wear a belt with an attractive buckle whether it is small or large, wide or skinny – don’t forget you don’t need belt loops to go for this look and it works superbly with skirts too.
  • Belts don’t have to just be worn with traditional belt fodder – they look great with long evening dresses and if you won’t be swimming, on your bikini hips.

More fashion inspiration – dos, don'ts, ideas

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Matching tonally is far more important than matching exact colours.”