I don’t like wearing belts with my trousers. As cliche as it is, I am a firm believer that if you have something made or altered to your body, you shouldn’t need a belt. However, occasionally you need a belt to literally hold things in place.
To me, a belt compliments casual pants, namely chinos and denim, best. Additionally, due to its accessibility, your casual pants are most probably acquired through Ready-To-Wear, entailing that the waist might not fit as snug as you like if you are in-between sizes. Quick word on sizing, if you happen to be in-between sizes for a particular brand, size up as you can easily take in the waist through alterations. But, if you are feeling frugal, the alternative to utilize a belt comes in handy.
There are staple belts that every man should possess, a black leather belt and a dark brown leather belt to match the common colours of dress shoes. However, for some, the plain leather option might be a little too formal or foreign to be paired with casual pants. A type of casual belt I would like to advocate is the braided belt. Defined by its woven construction and lack of fastening holes, it has become a personal favourite of mine.
Like all other investment pieces, think about the finishing, detailing and measurements of your prospected belt. Ideally, look for one in a sizeable width. Most RTW dress trousers have a waistband height of 1.5″ (don’t quote me on this), and a belt width of 1″ to 1.25″ will be appropriate. But for casual trousers, I like the the width to be a little wider at 1.25″ to 1.5″.
One of the belts I like to wear for the warmer weathers is this O-Ring cotton braided belt from J Crew Factory. The O-Ring buckle adds an unrivalled nonchalance to the outfit, making it extremely suitable for casual wear. As the fabric suggests, a cotton braided belt should reserve to be worn casually. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to pick out one in a more vibrant colour. I really like white because it goes well with any other colour, including white (denim). Other colours to consider: light brown braided cotton, multi coloured braid from KJP x Brooks Brothers, or a Patchwork Madras.
The other is type of braided belt is leather. I personally like this option more as it’s not as season specific and has more wearability. I have approximately 6 to 8 belts but I always gravitate towards this Polo Ralph Lauren (exact one) braided belt pictured below. It was purchased four years ago and I wear it with my raw denim approximately two to three times a week, a true statement of an investment piece. I recommend a dark brown for its versatility but here are some other colours that I think will look great if you are thinking of injecting a little colour into your wardrobe: brown and navy from Torino or this preppy navy and yellow from Brooks Brothers.
Brown Braided Leather belts are quite easy to locate. For those on a budget, the Polo Ralph Lauren linked above should work perfectly fine. However, for those seeking for higher quality, I recommend checking out Anderson’s, available on Mr Porter and Harry Rosen. I have also attached some photos of their braided belts below. Although they are quite expensive, their belts are proportionally well-sized, well-made and well-designed. I have been particularly eyeing their woven suedes for a while now, especially the Plum and Grey.
Also, don’t be afraid of experimenting with braided belts. Try and put one on, if you figured that it isn’t for you, unfasten the buckle, hold on to the buckle, stretch your arm out to remove the belt and put on another – it’s as convenient as that.
Thanks for reading, cheers.