Wearing Belts With Suits
Wearing a belt with a suit feels like a no-brainer. After all, the majority of suit trousers come with belt loops. Isn’t wearing a belt the next logical step?
It’s a bit more complicated than that. Unlike your jeans or chinos, suit trousers are meant to pair with another item to create a head-to-toe look. Your waist sits at the very middle of that look, meaning that your belt has the power to bring it all together—or cut it in half. You’ll want to pursue the former, and avoid the latter.
Pairing belts with suits
What you’re looking for in a belt to be worn with suits is harmony, not contrast. The approach for achieving that harmony is two-fold. Firstly, you’ll want to select a belt that won’t clash with the suit’s color. For example, a black belt with a dark grey suit or a dark brown belt with a dark blue suit. In each instance, the belt will “fade” into the overall look of the suit rather than stand out, as would be the case with a tan-colored belt worn with a dark grey or dark blue suit.
The second factor is width. Wider belts are more casual, while thinner belts have a dressier appearance. There’s no hard-and-fast rule with measurements, but in general any belt sold as a “dress belt” will have a thinner width, allowing it to more easily blend in to the background of a suit.
Wearing casual belts with sportcoats
That’s not to say that a chunkier, whiskey-colored belt can’t be worn with tailored clothing. It certainly can, but you may want to save it for more casual ensembles like chinos and a sportcoat. Sportcoats aren’t intended to be worn as part of a head-to-toe outfit, so your look is already cut in half by the chinos or jeans you’ve chosen to wear with it. A belt can be just one more element that contributes to the overall mix.
Wearing suits without belts
The simplest approach may be skipping the belt altogether. Just because the suit trousers have belt loops doesn’t meant a belt must be worn. And if the suit was custom-made, you should be able to wear it without the use of a belt. Ultimately, the decision to wear or skip a belt is about what feels most comfortable to you.